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Propagating Lavender Plants from Cuttings

By Paula Ramirez
Share to PinterestPropagating Lavender Plants from Cuttings
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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.

01

Species selection

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.

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02

Supplies

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).

Share to PinterestGarden pruner and cut lavender flowers on a wooden surface
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03

Choose the branch

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!

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04

Make the clippings

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.

Share to PinterestA gardener is holding a lavender cutting
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05

Add rooting hormone

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.

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06

Root cutting in water

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.

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07

Developing roots

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.

Share to Pinterestlavender propagating in a purple pot
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08

Planing in a new container

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.

Share to PinterestWoman is planting lavenders in a pot
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09

Watering frequency

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.

Share to PinterestWoman watering Fresh lavender in small white bucket
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10

Alternative propagation: seeds

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!

Share to PinterestA hand full of lavender seeds
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11

Importance of non-flowered shoots

Share to Pinterestnon flower lavender

When diving into the world of lavender propagation, one might overlook the significance of choosing non-flowered shoots. These young, vibrant shoots, devoid of blossoms, are in their prime growth phase. They're packed with energy and potential, making them ideal candidates for propagation. By selecting these shoots, you're not only increasing the chances of successful rooting but also ensuring that the new plants inherit the vigor and vitality inherent in these youthful stems. It's a subtle choice, but one that can make a world of difference in the long run. Remember, in propagation, the little details often yield the most significant rewards.

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12

The heel's role in rooting

Share to Pinterestlavender pruning

The term "heel" might sound odd in the context of plant propagation, but it's a term that holds great significance. When you take a cutting and a small portion of the older stem – the heel – comes off with it, you're holding a piece rich in rooting hormones. This seemingly insignificant part can dramatically boost the cutting's rooting potential. Ensuring your lavender cuttings have this heel is like equipping them with a secret weapon. It's nature's way of enhancing the rooting process, and by harnessing this, you're giving your cuttings an edge in their growth journey.

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13

Gritty compost usage

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Lavender, with its Mediterranean origins, has a penchant for well-draining soil. Enter gritty compost – the ideal medium for propagating this fragrant herb. This compost, with its coarse texture, ensures that water drains quickly, preventing the delicate roots of your cuttings from becoming waterlogged. But it's not just about drainage; gritty compost also provides a stable structure for the roots to anchor themselves. By using this type of compost, you're mimicking the natural soil conditions lavender thrives in, setting the stage for a successful propagation process. It's a simple choice with profound implications for your young plants.

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14

Feeding with liquid fertilizer

Share to Pinterestliquid fertlizer

As your lavender cuttings transition from mere stems to rooted plants, their nutritional needs grow. While they initially rely on stored energy, there comes a time when they need an external nutrient boost. This is where a gentle dose of liquid plant fertilizer comes into play. By feeding your young plants with this, you're ensuring they receive a balanced diet of essential nutrients. It's akin to providing a growing child with a balanced meal. This nourishment not only promotes growth but also ensures that the plants develop a robust immune system, ready to fend off pests and diseases.

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15

Potting up individually

Share to Pinterestlavender in pot

Once those fragile lavender cuttings have established roots, they're on their way to becoming independent plants. However, like young birds ready to leave the nest, they need their own space to truly flourish. Potting up each cutting individually offers them this much-needed room. It allows their roots to spread out, unencumbered by competition. Moreover, individual pots provide an opportunity to monitor each plant's health and growth closely. It's a step that signifies the transition from propagation to growth, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the life of your lavender plants.

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