Starting and Germinating Lavender Seeds

Lavender seeds may be an inexpensive way to grow lavender for the home garden, but the process is anything but quick and easy. With sufficient patience, attention and care, however, you can grow a healthy, fragrant lavender plant from seed.

Expect “Low and Slow” Germination

Lavender seeds have what can be considered a low and slow germination rate. The seeds have a short shelf life and a germination rate that’s low per 100 seeds. They also have a fairly long sprouting time of 2 weeks or longer.

Lengthy Time to Get to Transplant Stage

Growing lavender seeds has another disadvantage in that it takes seedling a long time to get to a size big enough to move into slightly larger pots. This should be when they’re 3 inches tall with a single stem. After that, expect another 3 months before the plants are ready to transplant into the garden or a much larger pot or container.

Wide Discrepancies in Results

Some lavender aficionados call this the “difference factor.” After years of meticulous care to ensure no crossing of seeds, plants will have varying color shades in addition to differences in height and width. In other words, despite what the gardener expects from the lavender seeds, the ultimate result may be somewhat irregular in both color and form.

When and How to Plant Lavender Seeds

With such a long germinating and growing time, it’s best to begin the process early, about 7 to 10 weeks before the last frost date. Start seeds in a flat of soilless mix or sandy soil. Cover containers with plastic sheeting or wrap. Refrigerate or place in a cold frame for about 3 weeks. Alternatively, in areas that aren’t sub-zero, place next to the building foundation and cover with pine boughs.

After 3 weeks, remove flat from the cold area and place in an environment with sufficient light and heat. This could be a windowsill, ledge, greenhouse or under a growing light. Water, but do so sparingly. Lavender seeds and growing plants do not like too much water.

Once seedlings reach 3 inches in height with a single stem, transplant them to individual pots. Give plants time to harden before transplanting outside. Place them in a sunny location for a period of 5 days.

When the soil is sufficiently warm and there’s no more danger of frost, transplant the individual plants grown from lavender seeds into their new outdoor location (or container to remain outside).