Lavender is a very popular aromatic herb used in baking, in beauty products and for its medicinal properties. The plant is commonly seen in gardens around the world and is an easy plant to propagate from cuttings.
If you are growing lavender in your garden and want to propagate more plants, there are several options. While lavender can be grown from seed, it is recommended to propagate existing lavender from cuttings, which can be either softwood or hardwood cuttings.
Differences between cuttings include both their timing and the time they take to root. Since both offer quicker and guaranteed solutions than harvesting seeds from your plants, cuttings should be first on your list if you want to propagate lavender.
how to propagate lavender
William Alexander, lavender grower at Castle Farm, says that while lavender is a ‘semi-woody’ aromatic herb that can be propagated from cuttings or seeds, cuttings are the best way to propagate lavender as they ensures that ‘pure varieties’ of lavender emerge that replicate the parent plant.
Lisa Fontanarosa, co-owner of Jo’s Farms, a lavender flower farm in New Mexico, adds that lavender cuttings should be taken from mature plants and then rooted in water or soil, but she prefers soil.
She adds, “The best time to propagate lavender is in mid to late summer during its active growing season and when it’s hot and humid outside. We prefer to do this at the end of harvest, which is typically mid to late July.” .
“If you take the cuttings too late in the summer, or in the fall when the plant is starting to go dormant through the winter, they may not take root.”
There are two times to take lavender cuttings, either spring or summer softwood cuttings, as Lisa describes, or hardwood cuttings taken from the woody part of the plant later in the year.
William Alexander runs Castle Farm on the North Downs of Kent, UK. Castle Farm grows and distills over 100 acres of lavender for pure English essential oil. Its oil is used for aromatherapy, perfumes, and toiletries throughout the world.
Lisa Fontanarosa is an experienced lavender grower and co-owner of Jo’s Farms. Along with her husband Joe Ornelas, she owns and operates Jo’s Farms, a small lavender flower farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they grow lavender and flowers all by hand, without pesticides.
How to Take Softwood Lavender Cuttings
Softwood cuttings are taken from the soft, green new growth that appears on lavender bushes in the spring and early summer. The advantage of softwood cuttings is that they root quickly. You need to work quickly when taking softwood cuttings and get them into the ground quickly, so have the soil prepared to reduce the risk of the cuttings drying out before you propagate them. Use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears to take cuttings to ensure a clean cut and reduce the risk of disease.
Lisa Fontanarosa advises that you “cut from the base of the stem” when taking lavender softwood cuttings and that each stem you remove for cutting should be several inches long, have three to five leaf nodes, and some fresh growth on it. the extreme. above.
- Your cuttings should be three to four inches long and their year’s growth
- The shoots must not be flowering and free of pests and diseases.
- Remove them from the main stem with a thin strip of bark still attached.
- Remove the lower leaves so you have three inches of bare stem.
- Dip the end in rooting hormone and place in compost pots. An example is the Gardentech rooting hormone powder available on Amazon
- Water well and cover with a clear bag or plastic lid. You can get pots with humidity domes that are perfect for propagation, like the MIXC plant nursery pots available on Amazon
- Place the pot in a warm, shady spot, out of direct sunlight.
- Remove the cover after about a month and once rooted the cuttings are ready to be planted in pots or you can plant the lavender in the garden.
How to Take Hardwood Lavender Cuttings
Hardwood cuttings are taken during the fall and winter months and William Alexander states that these are “hardier and more reliable, however they take longer to root”. He says, “We recommend taking hardwood cuttings in late fall after flowering is complete and the plant is dormant.”
For hardwood cuttings, you should choose a healthy side shoot and cut below a bulge in the older brown wood. Lavender hardwood cuttings will be longer than those taken for softwood cuttings, and you’ll want to be four to six inches long. These cuttings can be taken at the same time as regular lavender pruning that occurs in the fall.
As with softwood cuttings, remove the lower leaves to leave a piece of bare stem and soak in rooting powder before inserting into compost. The pot should be placed in a well-ventilated, shady area, watered sparingly, and then individually planted when well rooted. Remember that hardwood cuttings can take four to six weeks to start rooting.
How to propagate lavender in water.
It is possible to propagate herbs, including lavender, in water. The advantage of propagating lavender in water is that the cuttings will start to root faster than in the ground. However, their overall survival rates may be lower, as they don’t always respond well when it comes time to transplant lavender.
Both softwood and hardwood cuttings can be propagated in water, however roots will develop faster on softwood cuttings.
To grow lavender indoors in water, fill a glass with about two to three inches of water. Take your lavender cuttings and remove the bottom few inches of the stem from the leaves. You don’t want leaves below the waterline or touching the water. Put the stem in the water and place them in a bright spot, such as a windowsill, but not in full sun.
Roots should start to form quickly, within two weeks for softwood cuttings, but more than twice as long for hardwood cuttings. Keep the water full and change it if it becomes discolored.
Once the cuttings have developed a good root system, it is time to plant the new young lavender. You can pot it up to grow or plant it right in the backyard.
Propagating lavender is a fairly simple task and the best way to grow more fragrant herbs for your home herb garden. Whether you want to take softwood or hardwood cuttings is up to you, both are viable ways to get new plants. The other option is to get a packet of lavender seeds, like the ones from Burpee, but it’s a slower way and it will take a lot longer before you can harvest lavender from those plants.