The aroma of lavender is well-known worldwide, and its aromatic essential oils are frequently used in aromatherapy and the fragrance and toiletry sectors. People also make beautiful lavender bags to make their closets smell amazing. If you already have a lavender in your garden, you surely know how lovely and ethereal the sweet scents against a backdrop of purple blooms can be.
The good news is that they aren’t difficult to grow from cuttings! And you can have fresh plants in the garden in a matter of weeks. Plus, stem cuttings ensure that your baby plants remain true to their parents. If you are new to lavender, follow this step-by-step guide to learn everything you need to know about propagating lavender from cuttings! We have also included some care tips at the end for a healthy plant that maintains its fragrant flowers.
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Why grow lavender from cuttings?
Growing plants from cuttings is not that hard! Stem cuttings can be used to start new lavender plants. Taking cuttings involves snipping a section of an established plant and allowing it to root on its own. The tiny plants that emerge are clones of the parent plant, with identical foliage and flowers. It’s a great way of propagation that you can employ year after year to expand the number of plants you have.
Soft-wood refers to the new growth that plants produce in the spring. Each sprig of softwood can be kept on the shrub to help it grow larger or be removed and utilised to start a new plant.
Some of the new green growth may be a little short early in the spring, but you can also utilise older wood from which the fresh leaves are sprouting. This older stem is known as ripe wood, and it will rapidly establish new roots if you prune it in the proper location and use a rooting hormone.
When to take lavender cuttings
Lavender cuttings are best taken in the late summer because they root easily and give you many new ones for free. However, this is only a recommendation, as the ideal cutting method is dependent totally on the variety of lavender and the time of year.
In the spring, softwood cuttings are numerous, and you can collect more without harming the parent plant. However, this type of cutting can root quickly but isn’t as durable as hardwood stems in the long run.
Even though softwood cuttings are only accessible in the spring, hardwood cuttings can be taken from spring through autumn for a higher success rate.
Taking lavender cuttings step-by-step
Taking cuttings is relatively easy to do, and with this DIY method, you don’t really need to be a professional. So read on and learn how you can do that in these simple steps:
Step 1: Cuttings
Take a stem from your plant and cut it off. Starting at the top, cut 10-15 cm long portions right below a leaf node with a very sharp knife. A leaf node is any point along the stem where the leaf joints emerge. You can make many cuttings from the stem if it is long enough.
Step 2: Trim the leaves
Trim everything but the top group of leaves from the stem with the same knife. A few leaves are required to feed the plant, but too many compel the plant to focus its energy and nutrients on them. Instead, you want them to concentrate on the task of establishing roots.
Step 3: Prepare the pot as well as the compost
Finding the right pots for any of your plants is always important. Fill a small pot halfway with free-draining compost (two parts regular compost, one part perlite, vermiculite or peat moss). If you use regular compost without any added drainage material, the cuttings may get too damp to survive.
They require moisture, but they like it to evaporate quickly. Terracotta pots are somewhat better than plastic pots because terracotta can breathe, whereas plastic does not allow air or water to pass through. This breathability improves rooting conditions while also lowering the risk of fungal infection. It’s much better if you can soak the terracotta pots in water overnight.
Step 4: Planting
Even though some people do not use this, you can consider using a chemical to help the cutting grow roots. Plant the cutting in the compost after dipping the bottom 2 cm of the stem in rooting hormone.
Make a hole in the compost at the pot’s edge with a pencil or small dibber. Bury the cutting all the way to the leaves, and leave at least 2 cm between each one. Compost should be compacted around the cuttings.
Once your pot is full, water it well and cover it with a plastic bag. It will also work with a clear drink bottle with the bottom cut off. This acts as a mini-greenhouse, keeping the compost and cuttings warm and preventing them from drying out. A plant propagator is a good investment if you plan on propagating a lot of cuttings.
Step 5: Rooting
Place your pots in a warm, well-lit area with partial or diffused sunlight. Cuttings can wilt and suffer if the temperature is too high or the light is too direct. Within the next month to eight weeks, rooting will take place.
Keep the compost moist, and after a few weeks, start looking for evidence of roots in the drainage hole. During this period, if any of the cuttings wither or turn brown, gently pick them out and discard them.
Step 6: Potting up by hand
After both roots are visible from the drainage hole and new leaves begin to develop, the plant is potted. Remove the new plants from the compost with care and place them in individual pots.
The fresh lavender plants should be placed in compost that holds a little more water than the previous compost. That is 3 or 4 parts of compost to 1 part of perlite or grit. Then, plant them in the exact same location as they were in the propagation container.
Step 7: Planting the new lavender
Continue to grow the plants until they have a lot of new leaves and have bushed out a bit. This could take a few weeks to a few months, so find a well-shaded spot with some good sunshine.
Plant them outside in the spring after overwintering them undercover, such as in a greenhouse or cold frame. To figure out how to plant them, look up the final size and spacing of the lavender variety you’re growing.
Lavender grows best in free-draining, neutral to alkaline soil. If your clay soil is acidic, you should add some garden lime and grit into the planting area in the autumn before planting.
How to care for lavender
Lavender is very drought tolerant and tends to be leggy over time. That’s why with the proper care steps, you can make sure that it stays healthy and flourishing.
A lean soil will stimulate a larger concentration of oils, as it does with many plants produced for their essential oils, so go easy on the organic matter and fertiliser. Lavender prefers drier, well-drained soil, so if you’re using standard potting soil, be sure to add some sand for drainage.
The aroma of your lavender will be enhanced by alkaline or exceptionally chalky soil. Lavender will be short-lived if the pH falls below 6.5. Thus, it’s not a suitable choice for acidic soils.
It grows best in direct sunlight, which is the ideal approach to ensure a large number of buds and dense bushes. Unfortunately, they can’t tolerate much (if any) shade, so don’t put them in a garden bed or a location in your garden where trees or other large plants shade them.
Temperature and humidity
Lavender can survive a wide range of temperatures; nonetheless, wetness is what kills lavender plants, even more than cold. Wet roots in the winter or excessive humidity in the summer are both devastating for lavender.
If humidity is an issue, make sure there’s plenty of space between your plants for airflow, and place your bushes in a sunny location. Plant your lavender plants next to a stone or brick wall to provide additional warmth and protection from the hard winter winds.
Watering plants the right way is always essential for their growth and well-being. Once established, lavender is a hardy plant that tolerates drought well. Therefore, keep your lavender plants well hydrated during their first growing season once they’ve been started.
A layer of mulch put after cold weather will benefit areas where the ground freezes and frequently thaws throughout the winter. When growing lavender plants, it’s a good idea to put a handful of compost in the planting hole.
On the other hand, additional feeding is not necessary for these plants and can actually subtract from the total strength of your lavender.
You may rest assured that starting lavender from cuttings is simple and much faster, and more successful than propagating from lavender seeds. It’s a pleasant experience, and by following this guide, your lavender can live for a very long time if grown in the appropriate conditions. Just make sure to stick with all the gardening tips we provided above! Happy gardening!