If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own lavender garden, now is the perfect time to get started. Planting lavender seeds is a rewarding experience that allows you to nurture delicate seedlings into beautiful and fragrant plants. By following these simple steps, you can ensure successful germination and growth.
Prepare the Soil: Start Indoors
To give your lavender seeds the best possible start, sow them in trays indoors approximately 6-12 weeks before the traditional outdoor planting time. Choose a commercially-sterilized soil specifically formulated for starting seeds. Avoid using garden soil, as it may contain harmful pathogens that can harm the seedlings. We recommend using Pro-Mix Organic Seed-Starting Mix, which provides optimal pH levels between 6.7 and 7.3.
Ideal Soil Temperature for Germination
Maintaining the right soil temperature is crucial for the successful germination of lavender seeds. Aim to keep the soil temperature around 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). You can achieve this by using a heating pad, readily available from garden supply centers or through online ordering.
Watering: Keep it Light
When it comes to watering your lavender seeds, it’s essential to strike a delicate balance. Keep the soil damp but not soggy, and water the seeds in the morning to allow the soil to dry throughout the day. Excess moisture can promote the growth of fungus, which can harm your seeds. Remember, a little goes a long way.
Provide Ample Light
Once your seeds sprout, they require abundant light to thrive. Ideally, lavender seedlings should receive 16-18 hours of light per day. If you don’t have access to a growing light, you can move the trays to a location with direct sunlight. Alternatively, you can place a fluorescent light above the seedlings and ensure they receive at least 16 hours of artificial light each day.
Transplanting to Small Pots
When your lavender plants have developed six or more leaves, it’s time to move them into small pots. Choose pots that are approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter and fill them with fresh potting soil. This step allows the seedlings to continue growing, establishing strong roots in a controlled environment.
Harden and Prepare for Outdoor Planting
Before transplanting your lavender seedlings into the ground, it’s important to “harden them.” This process involves exposing them to increasing amounts of outdoor conditions gradually. Begin by placing them in a shady area, gradually increasing their exposure to sunlight throughout the day. Remember to bring them inside at night. Once all danger of frost has passed and daytime temperatures consistently remain above freezing, your lavender seedlings are ready to be planted in well-drained soil with full sun.
Additional Tips for Care and Maintenance
To ensure your lavender plants thrive, consider the following recommendations:
- In the first year, remove the top part of each branch or blossom head to encourage vigorous root growth and a fuller appearance. Allow your lavender to fully blossom from the second year onward.
- Once your starter plants are in the ground, sprinkle one tablespoon each of a time-released, all-purpose fertilizer and pelletized lime (if using clay soil). Repeat this process annually in the spring.
- Lavender thrives on neglect, so don’t worry if you forget to fertilize. As long as your plants have a sunny, well-drained location, they will flourish.
- Lavender is an outdoor plant and should not be grown indoors. Avoid moving lavender plants past the 15th of September in northern climates, especially young ones, to allow sufficient time for root establishment before winter.
- Pruning lavender is optional but, if done, should be limited to springtime and should not exceed one-third of each branch’s length.
For more information on growing lavender, visit the Ames Farm Center. So get your lavender seeds ready and embark on a journey to create a vibrant and aromatic garden you can enjoy for years to come. Happy planting!