Last updated on March 6th, 2022
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If you have an existing Lavender plant you know how truly enchanting they can be, with the sweet fragrances against a backdrop of purple flowers. The only thing better than one Lavender plant is several 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 are growing and the time of year you are taking your cuttings. You will find more softwood cuttings in the spring 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 considerate of the flowers you have on your Lavender and any blossoms will drain your plant of energy so it won’t effectively take root, which is why you want cuttings without any flowers on them.
How to take Lavender cuttings
Before you propagate you need to know how to take your cuttings and what part of the plant to cut. First of all, you should always cut the straightest and healthiest of stems. You should select stems that have a rich green shade with no flower buds on them. With a sharp knife or some 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. Take as many cuttings 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 stiffer at the bottom. This is because soft growth will die faster and if you choose a cutting with stiffer, thicker stems, they will die much more slowly and have more time to root so you will have more success.
STEP 1 – Taking the cutting
Once you have your cuttings it’s time to remove all of the leaves from the lower 6cm of the stem. Using the same sharp blade, gently remove the skin from the bottom portion of the stem on one side.
STEP 2 – Prepare the 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 compost, after which dip the bottom of the stem into rooting hormone and then place it approximately 6cm 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 those 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 cuttings to retain moisture
After this, you want to cover your container with some form of plastic 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, these have plastic tops that fit onto the container with little panels at the top and can be opened or closed to facilitate airflow. 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 because you don’t want the soil to completely dry out but you don’t want it to be too wet either.
Softwood cuttings will propagate in as little as 2-4 weeks, however, hardwood cuttings can take longer. You can tell when they have begun to establish themselves 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 them out in spring.
A little tip, if you notice the top growth going yellow, they are too wet so hold off from watering for a little while.
In spring you can give your new plants 1/4 strength fertiliser in a liquid form weekly, and this will promote growth once they are a little established.
Rest assured that propagating Lavender from cuttings is very simple, it is a quicker and more successful process than propagating them from seeds.
Image credits – Shutterstock