The Appeal of the Lovely Lavender Plant
“There’s a few things I’ve learned in life: always throw salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck, and fall in love whenever you can.”
~Lavender and Alice Hoffman
(Practical Magic )
The lavender plant (species Lavandula) is a popular and unique plant that is an interesting seed-to-plant choice. To grow lavender from seed takes commitment, it takes patience and, above all, it takes time.
The lavender plant is a member of the mint family. The distinct smells and aroma of lavender can evoke a wide range of emotions. It has exceptional colors and smells, which make it a superb landscaping accent in many gardens. Because of its incredible versatility you can use the lavender plant to plug holes in your landscaping as well as add it in small hard to fill spots such as entryways and paths. Lavendar is a low maintenance plant that, once planted, is easy to care for and build around. All types of lavender plants are attractive to bees and butterflies making them great in butterfly garden or as host plants for encouraging pollination.
Lavender is grown both for its pleasant colors and incredible smells and for its homeopathic properties. In the language of flowers, lavender flowers denote purity, silence, devotion and caution.
One of the most common notes of interest for growing lavender from seed is the variations that are inherent to growth from seeds. The lavender plant will vary from plant to plant in a number of ways; gradations between slightly paler and deeper shades of color as well as occasional differences in height or flower shape, and flower per spear are certain to occur.
Choosing your Lavender Varieties
There are 20 or more different species of Lavandula plant. In addition, there are countless numbers of hybrid varieties that have been created through crossing the different species! This vast variety means many, many different colors, shapes sizes and even scents for you to choose from. When lavender is started by seed, some of the offspring may very in appearance from their parent plant- bringing an even greater potential for variety to every garden in which they are planted.
Here are some of my favorite lavender plants. Click on the image to be directed to sources for purchasing specific seeds:
Growing your own Lavender from Seed
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun,
And with him rises weeping; these are flow’rs
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.
(Winter’s Tale, iv. 4)
To begin you will need high quality plant seeds. Pick seeds that are designed for how and most importantly where you intend to use them. Some regions, such as Colorado, may require that you pot these plants so that you can bring them in out of the cold. As far as pot and soil are concerned, choose pots that are easy to out-plant because you will eventually be moving them into your garden and you don’t want to disturb the root system too much. Soil can be simple potting mixtures of your choice, but remember that drainage is always important to avoid over watering as well as under watering.
Choose a number of seeds for each pot and place them in your moistened potting mixture. Be sure to pick a number of seeds that will allow for a few deaths and any unwanted colors that you may want to remove later. Do not cover the seeds with too much dirt because the lavender seeds are extremely small. Keep these newly placed seeds and pots in a warm spot indoors as the seeds will require a temperature of 70 degrees to germinate. Be watchful of your seeds during this process, you do not want them to dry out. Be mindful not to over water the tiny seeds as this will overwhelm them.
Germinate and Sun!
Once you have some seeds that are germinated you can begin the time consuming process of introducing them to the outdoors. This will require the greatest amount of patience so be committed. Start by placing your newly germinated seeds in very sunny spot indoors as they are incredible sun lovers and will eventually be exposed to full sun as adults. Let the plants grow and grow in this sunny spot until they are near their full size. Once they are near full-grown you can start to acclimate them to the outdoors.
Transplant and Grow!
Place your potted lavender outside for an hour a day in a shaded area, such as a porch. Day by day, increase the time the plants spend in this shaded area. Once you have had them outdoors for a few weeks you can start to move them into direct sunlight. If you start to get burnt plants make sure you allow a little more time in the shaded areas before going for more direct sunlight. Give them about 2 to 3 weeks in the direct sun, and be sure not to over water, which may rot the root system. If you make it all the way through this process you can easily out pot the lavender to wherever you need their great colors and smells.