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Struggling to grow Lavender from seed

mamehamameha Posts: 40

I have tried twice to grow lavender from seed and both times it was difficult, does anyone have any tips?  I think I may need to decrease the temperature or sunlight, use less water etc.

The first time, last summer, I managed to grow some lavender from seed but I remember it took many weeks for the seeds to germinate and make seedlings.  (Normally with tomatoes, rocket etc, the seedlings come within a week).  I then planted them outside at 6 inches height in early Oct but they died over the winter.

So this year, start of April, I tried again to grow from seed but they have not germinated at all.  I am using an unheated small propogator (plastic see through lid) on a windowsill, house usually around 18 degrees. 

Posts

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 33,886

    Hi mameha. You appear to be doing all the right things. Lavender seeds should be sown straight from the dry seed heads so it depends on where you got your seeds. Personally, I would just buy plants. Garden centres usually sell small lavenders in the 'Herbs' section and they are quite reasonably priced. They can also be propagated from cuttings so if any of your friends have lavender ask if you can have a few. Good luck.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • darren636darren636 Posts: 666

    I took cuttings last summer. They are about ready to flower now. 

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234

    I planted a tray of french marigolds and an "identical" tray of lavender from a well known cheapo supermarket last year (lidl-de-aldi-lidl-de-dee) An impulse buy. I got a gazillion marigolds and three lavender plants and they took donkeys ages to germinate. I had them on the windowsill in the sunroom.

    My advice? Buy them! Ladybird is dead right.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,628

    I think you may be trying too hard.   We have a lavender hedge of alternate Hidcote and Edelwiess along the top of a retaining wall.  The ground below is beaten earth topped with brick chippings and is a parking area.  It is well covered with lavender seedlings that I am now planning to lift and replant elsewhere.

    The seeds fall in late summer and then cope with everything the winter throws at them which can be temps down to -20C in a normal year plus rain, snow, wind, frost and thaw.  They germinate and grow in spring.   They are all a uniform blue which is paler than Hidcote and are all bone hardy.

    Try mixing your seed compost with some perlite or vermiculite or fine grit to improve drainage and leave them outside in a sheltered spot, but uncovered, for winter.   However, if you want guaranteed colour and form, it's best to buy small plants of a named variety and grow them on.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    I'm leaving it to the experts and buying plug plants.

    Sometimes I just think I've got a small garden, no time and there are people, professionals whose job it is to raise plants from seeds so I'm happy with that image

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234

    Ha! obelixx you just reminded me. One of my established lavenders in a nicy cosy bed died but not before seeding itself on a paviour parking area. Contrary!

  • mamehamameha Posts: 40

    Thanks for the advice. I will use poorer / more drainable soil next time I try and just leave them out.

  • Hi Mam, the biggest error made when planting seed, is the use of multi purpose composts, a seed has all it needs to grow until it has approx. 3 sets of leaves, planting in a multi purpose compost that has a lot of nutrients, so when the seeds germinate, the small roots do not have to go looking for a source of nourishment, so remain small, when transplanted any over watering will mean excess moisture around the roots, therefore inviting fungal infection.

    Always use a proper seed/low nutrient compost, and plant in small cells seed plug trays rather than the seed trays available from diy stores, once planted keep the soil at a dark colour, until the seedling breaks the surface, at this point keep the soil at a dark to medium brown level, for approx. 3 weeks, once you can remove the plug from the cell that is full of root (and all of the soil comes out with the root ball), they are then ready for transplanting.

    With Lavender they like a moist but free draining soil, so plant them on a 50/50 mix of multi purpose and horticultural grit, or 75/25 john innes number 3 and grit. keep moist, and do not feed for 2 weeks in a 9cm pot, after 3 weeks transplant to a 2 litre pot..

    Then add a feed (work out as best you can) of 200 ppm (parts per million) nitrogen feed, once a moth for 2 months. they are then ready for the garden (planting seed end Feb).

  • ronmronm Posts: 2

    Hi Mam, the biggest error made when planting seed, is the use of multi purpose composts, a seed has all it needs to grow until it has approx. 3 sets of leaves, planting in a multi purpose compost that has a lot of nutrients, so when the seeds germinate, the small roots do not have to go looking for a source of nourishment, so remain small, when transplanted any over watering will mean excess moisture around the roots, therefore inviting fungal infection.

    Always use a proper seed/low nutrient compost, and plant in small cells seed plug trays rather than the seed trays available from diy stores, once planted keep the soil at a dark colour, until the seedling breaks the surface, at this point keep the soil at a dark to medium brown level, for approx. 3 weeks, once you can remove the plug from the cell that is full of root (and all of the soil comes out with the root ball), they are then ready for transplanting.

    With Lavender they like a moist but free draining soil, so plant them on a 50/50 mix of multi purpose and horticultural grit, or 75/25 john innes number 3 and grit. keep moist, and do not feed for 2 weeks in a 9cm pot, after 3 weeks transplant to a 2 litre pot..

    Then add a feed (work out as best you can) of 200 ppm (parts per million) nitrogen feed, once a moth for 2 months. they are then ready for the garden (planting seed end Feb).

    When you say 'plant in small cells seed plug trays' I've seen some where each cell is 2cm square and 3cm deep. Will these be big enough?
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