The Q&A Archives: Starting Lavender From Seed

Question: This past early spring I purchased lavender seed ("Munstead", "Hidcote") and started them
indoors. The plants are really flourishing now in my garden and have grown to be bigger
than I expected for the first year and some are even blooming. I was thinking that this
was so easy, I think that I want to expand my varieties for next year and start more.

I just called a local herb farm that carries many different types of lavender plants and also
advertise that they sell lavender seed (but no variety specified). I asked if they sell
lavender seed in all the varieties that they carry as plants. The person I spoke with
said, no. That is very difficult to grow a lavender plant "true" to its species from seed. That
this is usually done by cuttings. Now, I am confused. Does this mean that the plants
I have grown are probably not the species specified on the packet and they are some
"untrue" or inferior strain. Could you explain this lavender mystery. I would love to grow
more varieties.

Answer: Congratulations on your lavender success story!

The seeds you planted were from quality "seed strains" which are seeds from carefully selected parents exhibiting certain characteristics; some seed strains are better than others and therefore are named and the resulting plants should overall exhibit similar characteristics to the parents. However, the literal duplicate of a specific lavender plant would need to be grown from a rooted cutting. To be sure of duplicating a specific lavender plant you like, you would need to take actual cuttings from it. The person you talked to told you the truth.

You now have the opportunity to make your own selections from among the seedlings you started; some individual plants will thrive better than others under your local growing conditions. What fun!

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