July 3, 2024 how to grow lavender from seed

How to Grow Lavender from Seed: A Simple Guide

Growing lavender from seed is a great way to add some beauty and fragrance to your garden.

In this guide I’ll take you through the process from seed to bloom, sharing tips and tricks I’ve gathered over years of tending to my own lavender.

By starting with seeds you can choose from a wide variety of lavender types. Plus growing from seed can be more economical and rewarding as you nurture the plants from the very beginning.

Choosing Your Lavender Seeds

Lavender comes in several varieties, each with its unique characteristics and growing requirements. Some popular types include:

Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender): Known for its sweet fragrance, it’s ideal for cooler climates.
Lavandula stoechas (French lavender): Easy to recognize by its butterfly-like petals, it prefers more temperate climates.
Lavandula x intermedia (Lavandin): A hybrid between English and Portuguese lavender, it yields a high volume of essential oils.

Select seeds based on your climate and what you plan to use the lavender for. Fresh seeds will have better germination rates so buy from a reputable supplier.

lavender seed growing in soil


Seed Quality and Storage

Freshness of the seeds is crucial for good germination rates. Lavender seeds can lose viability quickly so it’s a good idea to buy seeds close to planting time and from a reputable source to ensure they have been stored properly.

Soil Preparation

Lavender requires well draining soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Mixing horticultural grit or sand into your seed starting mix can enhance drainage, mimicking the lavender’s natural rocky habitat. Adjusting soil pH, if necessary, can be done with lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it.

Germination Process

Lavender seeds are notorious for their slow and sometimes erratic germination. Optimizing the environment can improve success rates.

Temperature Control

A consistent temperature of 65-70°F is ideal for lavender seed germination. Using a heating mat can help maintain this temperature range, especially in cooler climates or during the colder months.

Light Exposure

Unlike many plants lavender seeds require light to germinate. Positioning your seed trays in a location that receives ample indirect light or using a grow light can help meet this requirement.

Moisture Management

The soil should be kept moist but not wet. Overwatering can lead to fungal diseases and poor seed germination. Using a spray bottle to mist the soil can help you control the amount of water added.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Materials Needed:

  • High-quality lavender seeds
  • Seed starting mix
  • Seed trays or small pots
  • Heating mat (optional)
  • Grow lights (optional)

Step-by-Step Seed Starting:

1. Preparation: In late winter prepare your seed trays or pots by filling them with a seed starting mix. Lavender thrives in neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Aim for a pH between 6.7 and 7.3.
2. Sowing: Lavender seeds are tiny so sprinkle them lightly on the surface of the soil. Gently press them into the mix without covering them as they need light to germinate.
3. Watering: Keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy. Using a spray bottle can prevent overwatering.
4. Temperature and Light: Lavender seeds germinate best at 65-70°F. A heating mat can help maintain this temperature. If natural light is insufficient consider using grow lights to provide the necessary intensity.
5. Patience: Germination can take 2-4 weeks. Keep the soil moist and maintain temperature and light conditions.

Transplanting Seedlings

Once seedlings have several sets of leaves and are about 3 inches tall they’re ready for transplanting.

Hardening Off:

Gradually acclimate your seedlings to outdoor conditions by placing them outside for a few hours each day, slowly increasing their time outdoors over a week.

Planting Out:

Site Selection: Choose a sunny spot with well draining soil. Lavender doesn’t like “wet feet,” so good drainage is crucial.
Spacing: Space plants about 12 to 18 inches apart to allow for air circulation and growth.
Planting: Dig a hole just deep enough to accommodate the root ball. Backfill with soil, pressing down firmly.

lavender growing in a pot

Caring for Your Lavender


Young lavender plants need regular watering to help them establish roots. However once established they are quite drought-resistant. The key is deep, infrequent watering that encourages the roots to grow deeper, seeking moisture from the soil.


Lavender benefits from minimal feeding. Over-fertilization can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of flowers. If the growth seems sluggish then a balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in the early spring can provide a boost without overwhelming the plant.


Proper pruning not only shapes the plant but also encourages new growth and flowering. Pruning should be done in the early spring or after the first flowering.

In early spring trim back spent flowers and about a third of the plant’s growth to maintain shape and size. It’s important not to cut into the old wood, as lavender can be slow to recover from over-pruning.

Overcoming Challenges

Pests and Diseases:

Lavender is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However watch out for fungal diseases in humid climates. Good air circulation and proper planting location should minimize these risks.

Winter Care:

In colder regions lavender needs some protection to survive the winter. Mulching with gravel or sand helps improve soil drainage and keeps the roots drier which is crucial as lavender roots are prone to rot in moist conditions.

Harvesting and Using Your Lavender

Harvest lavender when flowers are just about to fully open. Cut the stems in the early morning when the oils are most concentrated. Lavender can be used fresh or dried and has many applications.

Growing lavender from seed requires patience and care but the rewards are plenty. With these tips and a bit of garden love you’ll enjoy the beautiful blooms and the wonderful aromas of lavender for years to come.

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