How to get Lavender to start from seed

Tucson, AZ

I have tried 5 different ways, and each time, it never sprouts. I tried straight in the ground, buried 1/4" in a peat seed starter (2x), Sitting on top of the peat seed starter (2x). I cannot seem to get them to sprout. Do I have a bad batch of seeds maybe? Or is it user error?

Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

I sowed a lot last year and none came up. You may have to use bottom heat, but lavender doesn't all germinate at the same time. a local nursery gets theirs in trays from an outside source because she said she could never get it to germinate.

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

I bought Munstead Lavender this year and about a half of the seeds germinated. I put them in plastic cells filled with potting soil(Miracle Gro) place the cells in a larger tray that is used as a water reserve and placed a lamp about two inches from the cells.I put a clear pastic cover over the cells until they germinated. I think I used plastc wrap. Also I tried to put one or two seeds in each cell. I placed the seeds on top of the soil and gently pressed them down a bit into the soil.The ones that did germinate look good. I let them dry out only for a short time. I hope this helps. Try again. I think transferring them to my garden will be the challenge this year but that's another post.

This message was edited Mar 5, 2008 7:10 AM

Thumbnail by diggerette
Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

Here's my set up

Thumbnail by diggerette
Tucson, AZ

Thanks. I tried again yesterday by sewing straight into the garden because I think that the soil is much warmer outside than in here. I have about half of the seeds left so I am going to do a setup like yours inside with the plastic covering and see if it helps. Thank you!

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7a)

Good luck!

Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

I had two attempts to germinate the lavender seeds that I bought (Munstead and French).
First time, completely unsucessful, I sowed them in home-made cells with seed-starting potting mix. Nothing germinated. In the same timeframe, two of my friends (I equally divided the packs so each of us would try her own ways) sowed them directly in their gardens, and nothing came up (more than 3 weeks waiting).
Then I thought that it might be too hot and humid in Miami (I did this I think mid August), and put the packs of seeds in the refrigerator. I forgot about them for some time (almost a month), and when I found them, sowed again in my home-made cells outside, in bright shade, and very superficially (almost uncovered). Munstead started sprouting in about a week, but with very poor germination rate (the final number of seedlings I've got was 5 out of 20). French was slower, it started after almost two weeks, but I've got 15 out of 20.
I still believe that keeping them in the refrigerator for a while helped them.
Also, you might want to try seeds from a different company. The ones I had didn't say when they were harvested. Later on I found that some other companies here put on their seed packs either the year of collection or they say "to be sold by 2008" or "for 2008 season" (I think the last version is Burpee's).
Do not despair, it's not you, lavenders are famous for the low germination rates. Try as many conditions as you think of, in small batches of seeds. If you find a method that works for you, and you need a lot of plants, you can always buy more seeds.
I wish you good luck and a lot of lavender sprouts soon!
PS. The one in the pic is Munstead.

Thumbnail by goofybulb
Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

My cells are little "colada cups", I guess two woman's thumbs fit in there, the hand in the previous pic is mine. I perforated the bottom for good drainage, and set several such cups filled with soil into a 4 inch sauces. I always watered in the saucer, not in the little cups, and 3-4 little holes in each cup let all the necessary water in.
This pic has in the close-up the French seedlings, and in the back you can see one of my sprouting saucers.
So far, the colada cup method proved great for me, both for seeds and for very small cuttings.
My problem with lavender is to keep them alive in this humid climate. I had 3 plants bought that succumbed in less than a month each. So I decided to start them from seed, at least it costs me less if I fail.
For instance, the Munstead all died after 2-3 months. I still have the French ones, but the humidity is low right now. We'll see later on, in a couple of months. But this will not be your case, and I am told that they love hot dry weather.
One more thing: while they are little seedlings, they love and need lots of water. I killed a few seedlings just because the soil was not moist enough.
Hope it helped somehow.
Again, Good luck and happy plants to you!

Thumbnail by goofybulb

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