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If you have an existing lavender plant you know how truly enchanting and ethereal they can be with the sweet fragrances against a backdrop of purple flowers. The only thing better than one lavender plant is many lavender plants. With just one successful plant you can take cuttings and propagate additional plants and it’s much easier than you may think.
You are able to effectively propagate lavender from softwood or hardwood cuttings. The softwood cuttings are the softer, pliable tips that are still light in shading while the hardwood is stronger and darker. Hardwood is also thicker and it won’t bend as easily. Which of these is best is contingent upon the type of lavender you’re growing in the time of year you are taking your cutting. You will find more softwood cuttings in the springtime and you are able to take these effectively without harming your original lavender plant.
If you choose to take your cuttings in the spring or the autumn you can also take hardwood cuttings. Be cognizant of the blooms you have on your lavender. Any blossoms will drain your plant of energy so it won’t effectively take root which is why you want cuttings without any blossoms on them.
How to take lavender cutting
Before you propagate you need to know how to take your cuttings and which parts of the plant to cut. First of all, you should always cut the straightest, healthiest of stems. You should select stems that have a rich green shade with no flower buds on them. With a sharp knife or gardening secateurs, you can take a cutting that is approximately 10cm in length. When taking your cuttings cut just below a bump indicative of the leaf node. Cut as many cutting as you need and store them in a damp clear plastic bag ready to plant.
Ideally, the cutting should be soft at the top but a little more stiff at the bottom. This is because soft growth will die faster and if you choose cutting with stiffer, thicker stems, they will die much more slowly and have more time to root so you will have more success.
Preparing The Cutting
STEP 1 – Take the cutting
Once you have your cuttings it’s time to remove all of the leaves from the lower 6cm of the stem. Using your same sharp blade, gently remove the skin from the bottom portion of the stem on one side.
STEP 2 – Prepare containers and compost
Set your stems aside while you prepare your containers. To prepare the containers, fill the pots with a mixture of potting compost and perlite to facilitate drainage while the roots are still taking hold, perlite can be swapped for grit sand if preferred.
STEP 3 – Applying rooting powder and planting
Using a pencil or a stick make a hole straight down into each container of mix after which dip the bottom of the stem into rooting hormone and then place it approximately 6 cm into the soil. Firm the soil around the cutting so that it is able to stand upright. You can either use single small containers such as 9cm pots or use a tray with many compartments just like in the main picture, similar to that bedding plants are often sold in. This is a good way to reuse all those old bedding trays you have.
STEP 4 – Cover the cutting to retain moisture
After this, you want to cover your container with some form of plastic so as to mimic a greenhouse environment for your cuttings. This can be done in a variety of fashions. Some people choose to invest in containers designed specifically for propagation which have plastic tops that fit onto the container with little panels at the top that can be opened or closed to facilitate air flow. Other people opt to place a plastic bag like a ziplock bag over the container and hold it propped up with sticks such as Chopsticks so that the plastic doesn’t actually touch the lavender plant.
Caring for your cuttings
Once your cuttings have been planted it’s appropriate to place them somewhere sunny and water them once this soil starts to get dry, this is a little tricky as you don’t want the soil to completely dry out but you don’t want it to be wet either.
Softwood cuttings will propagate in as little as two or four weeks but hardwood cuttings can take longer. You can tell when the roots have because when they put on some new growth, they should have roots. At this point, they can be potted into 9cm pots and stored indoors or in a greenhouse over winter before planting out in spring.
A little tip, if you notice the top growth going yellow, there to wet to hold off watering a little.
In spring you can give your new plants 1/4 strength fertilizer in a liquid form weekly to promote growth once they are a little established.
Rest assured that propagating lavender from cuttings is very simple and it’s much faster and more successful than propagating from seeds.
Image credits – Shutterstock