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Learn how to grow lavender from seed easily and simply using the winter sowing method!
Starting lavender from seed is easy when using the winter sowing method. I have been using winter sowing to grow lavender from seed for the last couple of years. It has been really easy to grow a lot of lavender this way.
Who doesn't want to grow more lavender in their garden, right? It's definitely one of my favorites and the bees love it too!
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Collecting Your Own Lavender Seed
When the lavender is in full bloom in the summer time, it is really easy to save some of your own lavender seed from plants you may already have. Trim a couple of branches from just below all the blooms. Use a rubber band wrapped tightly around the stems, and hang them up to dry somewhere dry in your house.
After they are good and dry, I place them in a ziplock bag for storage until seed planting time. Be absolutely certain they are 100% dry, or they will mold. Then throw them in the freezer until you are ready to plant.
You might also want to use some of the lavender buds for this super easy and lovely DIY Lavender and Epsom Salt Bath Soak!
Winter Sowing Basics
If you are not familiar with Winter Sowing, it is the process of using milk jugs, as little greenhouses. Please see my article Seed Sowing 101: Winter Sowing, for more details about how to do it, with a step by step guide. You plant them, and set them outside in January. Super duper easy!
How to Grow Lavender From Seed Using the Winter Sowing Method
When is the Best Time to Plant Lavender Seeds:
I plant lavender seed in January here in my garden zone 8b. This is a great time to plant any hardy perennials when you use the winter sowing method.
Planting Lavender Seeds:
So collect all your winter sowing materials, and your lavender seed. Fill the jugs with 3-4" of dampened potting soil. Then take one branch of the lavender, pinching it with your fingers, move down the stem, and let the seed fall on top of the soil. I think I did 3-4 branches worth of seed for each jug.
If you have acquired lavender seed in a packet, just simply sprinkle the seed from the packet on top of the soil.
You can see in the photo below, how much seed is dispersed across the soil. I don't cover the seed with any soil. Take a water bottle and spray the seed well so that it is nice and wet.
Then I like to put a plastic plant label inside the jug. Tape the jug closed with a heavy duty duct tape, the lid should be off and set it outside in an area where it will receive sun and rain (be sure it is not under an eave of your roof where it won't get rain!). I like to set mine right out on my deck.
Tending to the Lavender Seedlings
Keep a watch on the seed, so that you know when the seed has germinated and you have seedlings now growing. If you are having a really dry spell, or unusually warm spell, you may need to water them. Here in the PNW, I don't usually have to do that at all, until later on when I open them up and it gets much warmer outside.
Once it does get warm out, usually in the 60's or warmer, you will want to open the jugs. Just remove the tape and open the lid. If you don't, the seedlings will dry out very quickly because it will be very hot in those greenhouse jugs!
Keep them watered well until you are ready to transplant them out into your yard. And now you know how to grow lavender seed the easy way!
Transplanting the Lavender Seedlings
When you are ready to transplant the seedlings, empty the jug by dumping in upside down. Literally pull the plants apart. It is ok if the dirt falls off of them, but they will need to be planted quickly after doing this.
Get a trowel, and dig a good 6" hole. Add some compost and mix in a bit of soil you removed from the hole and mix together. Then plant the lavender in the hole and be sure to water it deeply. Continue to water it well for the next few months while it gets established into its new home.
Winter Sowing Flowers is a Cheap Easy Way to Grow Your Garden
As you can see, it is easy to grow lavender from seed using winter sowing. Once you have done this once, you will be sure to do it every year! You can really grow your garden quickly and easily by using this very same method to grow all kinds of perennials and annuals for your yard (although annuals would be planted later in March).
It is so easy in fact, I like to use this method to grow plants to sell as well! You can read more about how I sell plant starts here: How to Make Money Growing Plants at Home.
WINTER SOWING SEED SCHEDULE PRINTABLE
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Two things to add to my to do list! Grown lavender from seed and try the winter sowing method! I just love lavender!
Hi Nancy! YES! You must try winter sowing if you haven't yet! It's so easy and so little work. 🙂
Hi Tamara, you have just given me a tremendous joy knowing I can sow my favorite plant. I just question regarding the jug being or closed. In your instruction you say to tape jug closed and then in the same sentence you say the lid should be off. I'm so new with this, so you can expect stupid questions. Thank you for this website, I will definitely support you. Linda
After you slice the jug in half, and open it to add the dirt, you then close it and tape it so it will stay closed. The lid should be removed so that rain and fresh air can get in and it can vent if it gets warm out. Hope that helps! 🙂
Stephanie R Lave
Meaning the cap? Not the lid taped back on?
Hi Stephanie, OK, can't see what exactly you are referring too, so I will address both the cap and the lid. After sowing the seeds, tape the lid or upper half of the jug, tape it down to the bottom half of the jug. This should remain taped closed until your plants inside have grown pretty substantially and the outside temps have reached the mid 6o's or higher in the daytime. Then you untape the two halves of the milk jug and leave them open during the day. You can gently close the upper half over the bottom if you are expecting really frigid temps at night and have tender plants inside susceptible to the cold. The cap that screws onto the top of the jug, can be left on only while the seeds are germinating, if you are in a dry climate, to help maintain the humidity inside that the seeds need to germinate. Once they have, remove the cap for better air flow for the plant. In my case, we live in such a damp climate, I do not leave the cap on at all. Too much moisture inside the jug can actually rot the seeds before they germinate. As always, I recommend people take notes on what they are doing this year, taking note of each step. Try some with lid on and with lid off if you are not sure. Then next year you can refer back to your notes about which method worked better. Hope that helps!
To clarify, I believe Tamara means, remove the cap. You leave the top half taped to the bottom but leave the cap off until the weather warms up to 60s.
I live in the zone 4 and was wondering if anyone has tried your winter sowing up in the fridge winter here in northern Wisconsin. I am thinking of trying this and was just curious how the lavender grows in the colder climate thank you Traci
Hi Traci! I am sure it can be successfull even in your cold area. Check out WinterSown.Org, they have an active forum where you can probably find others in your gardening zone and share tips with each other! Good luck with your lavender!
This looks great, Tamara! I love lavender, but our winters are a little too cold for even the most hardy varieties. I still think I might try growing it as an annual this year so I can make my own lavender-infused oil 🙂
I'm featuring your post this week on Farm Fresh Tuesdays, Tamara!
Thanks Lisa! I hope your garden grows loads of lavender for you this year!!! Lavender Infused Oil sounds heavenly, hopefully you will post a tutorial on that! Thanks for the feature!
Lisa, I’m in Canada and lavender can sometimes be fussy. Planting against the house can help shelter it and moderate the soil temperature somewhat. Also, winter protection, like thick mulch sometimes help it through a rough winter. You also may want to research varieties, some are much hardier than others, such as English lavender.
Thanks Cred for sharing your knowledge and helping clarify some answers to questions!
This is awesome! So glad I found this page. Thank you for sharing all the info & for your time on the project. 🙂 I only have one question, how long should the seeds be in the freezer? Today is 1/20/21 & I live in Florida so I'm trying to plant these as soon as possible. The seeds just got put in the freezer about 5 minutes ago! 😳
Hi Paige, Most places recommend a good month or 4 weeks in the freezer in order for them to stratify. Hope that helps!
I'm new to your site & am so thankful I found it! I'm in zone 6a and will be trying milk jug winter sowing for the first time.
Do you separate the lavender plants or did you plant the whole jug in one hole?
Hi Sharon, You definitely want to separate out the different plants before planting. You can sow the seed pretty close together in the jugs for most things, but yes, you always will just pull the separate plants apart before planting them. Have fun planting!