Lavender is one of the most popular aromatic herbs that you can easily cultivate at home. In addition to its beautiful smell, lavender can be highly beneficial for your health.
Growing lavender is a simple activity that you will definitely enjoy. From propagating to harvesting, lavender is easygoing and doesn’t require a lot of effort.
In this article, we will talk about planting lavender cuttings, which may be the most effective way of growing lavender.
We will go through the most important tips on how and when to take lavender cuttings and how to propagate them properly.
When to Take Lavender Cuttings
Knowing when is the best time to take lavender cuttings is very important for successful propagation.
It’s always necessary to determine whether or not your lavender plant is eligible for cuttings. You should consider several factors before cutting any stem for propagation.
The first important element is the age of your plant. If your lavender is too young, its stems can’t support rooting or nutrient absorption and manufacturing.
Your plant should be around 5 to 6 inches tall to provide cuttings that are really firm and eligible for rooting.
On the other hand, you don’t want your lavender to grow old for two reasons. First, lavender stems can become stiffer as they grow, and this increased woodiness can decrease the chances of successful propagation.
Second, lavender is known to be a heavy-flowering plant. The development of flowering buds on a branch decreases its ability to produce roots.
In any case, you should focus on taking the soft and green branches of your lavender before it grows stiff and produces flowers.
Note: If you’re growing your lavender plants under unregulated conditions, you should take your cuttings a few weeks before the first expected frost so as to not damage your herb while it goes into dormancy.
How to Take Lavender Cuttings
If you have found the right stem growing from the right lavender plant, how should you cut it off?
It’s pretty easy, but remember that you should use a sharp pair of pruning shears or scissors to take off the cuttings.
Avoid using poor tools to take your cuttings or you might damage them or harm the mother plant.
To take the cuttings, cut 3 or 4 inches of the soft branch you chose. Keep in mind that you need to produce the cut just below the node where a certain set of leaves is growing.
These nodes are where the roots will emerge later. The nearer they are to the cut, the more active they become during propagation.
It’s necessary that you don’t take off the whole stem or else you’ll prevent the mother plant from being able to grow back again from the same place.
In any case, don’t cut more than ½ of the total plant’s stems.
Propagating and Planting Lavender Cuttings
Now that you have gathered your lavender cuttings, here’s how you can propagate them:
- Preparing Your Cuttings
Remove the leaves at the bottom of each stem cutting and keep around two sets at the top.
This step is necessary for the cutting to initiate the process of rooting smoothly and for you to be able to immerse it in the pot.
Note that you should never remove all the leaves on the stem because this would prevent it from synthesizing its own food later on.
Optional: You can disinfect the cuttings before growing them by immersing their bottom in highly diluted sodium hypochlorite (bleach). This is a very optional step that you can skip. Nonetheless, it increases the chances of your success in this activity.
- Preparing the Medium
I get many questions about which is the best mix to use to propagate cuttings. My answer always is that it depends on the plant you’re growing.
In the case of lavender, it’s preferable to prepare your own mix, although you can use any well-drained potting soil.
In my experience, mixing equal parts of soft peat moss and perlite creates the best mix you can use for lavender cuttings.
Perlite prevents moisture from being trapped inside the pot, and peat moss provides an organic nutrient-rich medium.
Remember, however, that the quality of the peat moss you’re using is important. Don’t choose cheap brands that are full of harmful microbes and pests.
Moisten the mix with a little bit of water. Be careful not to drench the soil because this makes your cuttings highly susceptible to root rot. Moistening simply means spraying or sprinkling the soil with water.
- Inserting the Cuttings into the Mix
Use a stick or any similar tool to make some relatively wide holes in the mix. Afterward, immerse each one of the cuttings into each hole.
Firm the soil around the cuttings so that no gaps are left for water to fill. This would also help the roots penetrate the mix and become much stronger and more absorptive.
Optional: Use a rooting hormone before you immerse the cuttings. This is an optional step, but it really helps the propagation of the cuttings become more successful.
You can find rooting hormones as gel or powder. Simply dip the bottom of the cuttings in the hormone before inserting them into their holes.
Caring for the Cuttings
Humidity is one of the most important factors in cuttings propagation. Since cuttings don’t have roots initially, they lack the ability to transport water and carry out transpiration.
That’s why it’s important to keep the humidity levels very high around cuttings. Experts say that the atmospheric humidity of the cuttings should be around 70%–80%.
To achieve that, you can simply use a plastic bag or a bottle to cover the cuttings after you mist them with water.
During the period of propagation, simply spray the bag or bottle covering the cuttings with water a few times a day to maintain high humidity levels.
Lavender cuttings don’t like extreme temperatures. They simply fail to root in extremely warm or cold environments.
That’s why it’s very crucial to maintain a balanced temperature around them, and placing the cuttings indoors would help you achieve that.
Keep the cuttings away from direct sunlight, which can expose them to heat stress.
Place your lavender cuttings in a fully or partially shaded area or room.
- Air Circulation:
Uncover the cuttings for a few hours each day to let them breathe fresh air. This prevents diseases, particularly fungi, from infecting your cuttings.
Place the cuttings in a well-ventilated and clean area, especially when they’re uncovered.
You can expect your cuttings to root after 3 to 4 weeks, but it really depends on how suitable the conditions are in which they’re growing.
Once they’ve rooted, transplant your lavender plants to new pots and pinch their heads off so that they form new branches.
Note: Transfer your newly grown plants by holding them from the leaves. Don’t pull them from their stem because that may harm their transportation channels and might cripple them later on.
Keep your newly formed lavender plants in the dark for 2 days before you expose them to the sun to prevent their growth from being stunted.
Have fun growing your lavender and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!