Lavender is one of the most popular aromatic herbs you can easily cultivate at home. Aside from its beautiful smell, lavender can greatly benefit your health.
Growing lavender is a simple activity you will enjoy. From propagating to harvesting, lavender is easygoing and doesn’t require much effort.
We will talk about planting lavender cuttings. Cuttings may be the most effective way of growing lavender.
We will go through the most important tips on how and when to take the lavender cutting. Then we’ll discuss how to propagate them properly.
When to Take Lavender Cuttings
You must know when the best time to take lavender cuttings is. That point is vital 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–your lavender cannot be too young. Its stems won’t be able to support rooting or nutrient absorption and manufacturing at that age.
Your plant should be around 5″ to 6″ tall to provide firm cuttings that are eligible for rooting.
But you don’t want your lavender to grow too old for two reasons. First, lavender stems can become stiffer as they grow. This increased woodiness can decrease the chances of successful propagation.
Second, we know lavender is a heavy-flowering plant. The development of flowering buds on a branch decreases its ability to produce roots.
You should focus on taking the soft, green branches of your lavender. You don’t want the branches to grow too stiff and produce flowers.
Note: You may be growing your lavender plants under unregulated conditions. In that case, you should take your cuttings a few weeks before the first expected frost. You don’t want to damage your herb while it goes into dormancy.
How to Take Lavender Cuttings
How should you cut it off if you have found the right stem growing from the right lavender plant?
It’s pretty easy! Remember to use a sharp pair of pruning shears or scissors to remove 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″ of the soft branch you choose. Keep in mind that you need to produce the cut just below the node where a particular 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.
You mustn’t take off the whole stem. If you do, 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 one-half of the 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. This would prevent it from synthesizing its own food later on.
Optional: You can disinfect the cuttings before growing them. Immerse their bottom in highly diluted sodium hypochlorite (bleach). This is a very optional step that you can skip. But 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.
For lavender, it’s better to prepare your own mix. But you can use any well-drained potting soil if you prefer.
Here’s my preferred concoction. Mix equal parts of soft peat moss and perlite to create the best mix you can use for lavender cuttings.
Perlite prevents moisture from being trapped inside the pot. Peat moss provides an organic, nutrient-rich medium.
Remember that the quality of the peat moss you’re using is essential. Don’t choose cheap brands that are full of harmful microbes and pests.
Moisten the mix with a little bit of water. Do not drench the soil because this makes your cuttings very susceptible to root rot. Moistening means spraying or sprinkling the soil with water.
- Inserting the Cuttings into the Mix
Use a stick or similar tool to make some relatively wide holes in the mix. Afterward, immerse one cutting into each hole.
Firm the soil around the cuttings, so there are no gaps left for water to fill. This will also help the roots penetrate the mix and become much stronger and more absorptive.
Optional: Use a rooting hormone before you immerse the cuttings. The hormone is an optional step, of course. But it really helps the propagation of the cuttings become more successful.
You can find rooting hormones as gel or powder. Just dip the bottom of the cuttings in the hormone before inserting them into their holes.
Caring for the Cuttings
Humidity is one of the key factors in cuttings propagation. Cuttings don’t have roots initially, so they cannot 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 use a plastic bag or a bottle to cover the cuttings after you mist them with water.
During the period of propagation, spray the bag or bottle, covering the cuttings with water. Do this a few times a day to maintain high humidity levels.
Lavender cuttings don’t like extreme temperatures. They fail to root in exceedingly warm or cold environments.
That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a balanced temperature around them. Placing the cuttings indoors would help you to achieve that.
Keep the cuttings away from direct sunlight. The sun 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 daily to let them breathe fresh air. Giving them some air prevents diseases, particularly fungi, from infecting your cuttings.
Place the cuttings in a well-ventilated and clean area. Ventilation is vital when you uncover them.
You can expect your cuttings to root after three to four weeks. It all 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. That will help them to form new branches.
Note: Transfer your newly grown plants by holding them from the leaves. Do not pull them from their stem. That could harm their transportation channels and might cripple them later on.
Keep your newly formed lavender plants in the dark for two days before you expose them to the sun. You don’t want to accidentally stunt their growth.
Have fun growing your lavender, and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!