The Q&A Archives: Growing Rosemary and Lavender from Seed

Question: We live in southern California climate, about 10 miles from the ocean, and are interested in growing lavender and rosemary from seed. We have soil that drains well and have good luck with nursery-grown rosemary and lavender plants. Can you educate us on any difficulties or give advice on seed starting?

Answer: All species of lavender and rosemary will grow well in your mild southern California climate. Both take full sunshine and fast-draining soil.

Start seeds of lavender by giving them a pre-chill prior to sowing. Mix seeds with moistened growing medium, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 4-6 weeks. At the end of the chill period sow seeds just on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and cover trays or pots with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture. Seedlings will appear in 21-90 days when kept at 55F-65F. Remove plastic as soon as seeds sprout and place seedlings under a source of bright light.

Rosemary seeds do not need a pre-chill treatment. Sow on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and barely press them in. Seeds will germinate in 18-21 days when kept at 55F.

Both lavender and rosemary are easy plants to cultivate. They thrive under sunny, somewhat dry conditions. Water thoroughly once each week during the summer season and pinch the growing tips back regularly to promote bushy plants.

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