Lavender is one of the most popular scented plants in temperate gardens. It is easy to grow, will thrive in many sun and soil combinations that attract pollinators to your yard, and can survive on little water once established. A mature lavender plant can be 6 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide.
Once you have an established lavender bush, you can grow new plants simply by taking cuttings.
Of course, which species you take cuttings from will largely depend on which one you have available to you, but let's look briefly that the three most common garden varieties: French lavender (Lavandula dentata), English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas).
Spanish lavender is the most heat tolerant, but it can be invasive, spreading rapidly through underground runners, essentially a weed in warmer climates. English lavender requires regular irrigation and prefers cooler temperatures. French lavender is the most popular choice for gardens. All three are evergreen shrubs that are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. Which species you choose will depend on your climate and personal preference.
Once you have chosen your species of lavender, gather your supplies for propagating the cuttings. You will need plant clippers, a pot with drain holes, organic potting soil, and rooting hormone (not essential, but helpful).
If you have multiple plants to choose from, look for the healthiest specimen. Then, decide which branch or branches you intend to cut. Using a sharp pruner, remove approximately 6-inch-long pieces so that you have enough bare stem to sit above the waterline in your bottle (in the following step).
The best time to gather clippings is during the spring, but it is possible to be successful year-round, with a little luck!
Make a fresh cut at the end of your lavender cutting with a sharp and sterilized knife or pair of scissors — this is important to minimize any chance of fungal infection later on. Remove all leaves from the bottom half of your cutting to prevent unnecessary water loss and focus the cutting's energy on growing roots, not keeping existing leaves alive.
Wet the bottom couple inches of the cutting, then dip it into the powder. Gently tap the cutting on the side of the hormone container or the sink, as too much can actually hinder the rooting process.
Some people skip this step if they plan to place their cutting in water before planting in the soil, though the rooting hormone may still be useful either way. If you are doing the water step, let the hormone absorb into the stem for a few minutes at this point.
Allowing your cutting to develop roots in water instead of directly planting in the soil lets it become accustomed to getting nutrients from water rather than through soil.
Place your cuttings in a container filled with water. Something with a narrow opening works best, so the lowest leaves will hold the upper part of the cutting above the waterline. Ensure no leaves are in the water.
Find a place to store the cuttings while they develop roots. A location with a temperature anywhere from 65 to 75°F is ideal, but five degrees on either side will do, as well. Cuttings should be kept in a place with indirect sunlight. If necessary, shine artificial light on them from 8 to 12 inches away and from the side.
In approximately four weeks, roots should have developed from where you made your cut. Once they are an inch or so long, prepare to move the cuttings to their own pot.
Fill the pot with organic potting soil that is loose, and well-draining, and ensure water can drain out holes in the bottom so your plant doesn't become waterlogged. Also remove any rocks or large pieces of wood from the soil. If you purchase good quality soil, the chance of it containing unwanted materials is low.
Water each plant once or twice a day for approximately one to two weeks after planting. This will rehydrate the plants after water loss from being dormant and the initial leaf removal. Gradually reduce the watering frequency from one to two times per day to once per week as the new root system continues to get stronger.
If propagating your lavender plant from cuttings doesn't appeal, you do have the option to harvest seeds from your existing lavender plant. Don't remove dying flowers from your mature plant — instead let them dry, and when you can shake them and see seeds fall out, you're ready to collect them and begin a new generation!