How To Grow Lavender In Pots – The Complete Guide

Three pots of English lavender.

Lavender is one of the most grown herbs for quite some time now due to its fragrance, color, medicinal value, and beautiful flowers.

These fragrant perennial herbs are also well-known ornamental plants to all sorts of landscapes and to a variety of gardens. They are also widely used for in home and medicinal applications.

A ton of people use lavender to produce lavender sugar and essential oils, while the dry leaves are mostly in flower arrangement and decorations.

So, how refreshing would it be when the heavenly fragrance of lavender in full bloom is the one welcoming in your doorway. Awesome, right?  Lavender is a perennial that has a long flowering season and is quite easy to grow.

If you live in an area where winter is too cold or your soil is too compacted, but yet you still desire the fragrance of lavender closer to your home, growing them in container pots is a smart idea.


The Step-by-Step Guide On  How To Start Growing Lavender In Pots

To grow lavenders in pots, you have to decide first whether you grow them from seeds or cuttings. Both approaches have their advantages.

If you already have lavender plants growing or know someone who does and propagating is the only option, growing from cuttings is the quickest means to get your lavender looking like the parent plant.

However, if you don’t have a lavender plant and can’t find someone who does, why not try to grow lavender from seeds.


Growing Lavender From Seeds

Lavender seedlings in orange plastic containers
Image by: theplantsgarden.com

Step  #1

  • If you consider growing lavender from seeds, you have to prepare the seeds for sowing three months before the last spring frost. 
  • Place the seed in a plastic bag filled with moss and store in the refrigerator for about five weeks.
  • Check the plastic bag regularly if the moss is still moist.  Water the moss whenever you find it dry.
  • The method above is called stratification, a technique used to prepare the seeds on how to deal with the outside conditions when the temperature starts to warm in spring.

Step #2

  • After the process of stratification, you can now remove the seeds from the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the container pots for sowing while you allow them to reach room temperature.

Step #3

  • Get a 2” deep nursery tray.
  • Fill them with a mixture of washed medium grit sand and seed, starting compost in equal parts.
  • Soak them thoroughly with water and allow excess water to drain off.
  • As the lavender starts to germinate, they thrive best in warm sunny conditions with well-drained soil.
  • And once established, lavender manages to tolerate diverse growing conditions.

Step #4

  • Create 1/8” deep furrows at the surface of the sand mixture.
  • Start planting the seeds into the furrows at an inch apart.
  • Toss a thin layer of your growing media over the lavender seeds, allowing them to still be exposed to sunlight.
  • Make sure not to bury lavender seeds too deep because they need sufficient sunlight to germinate.
  • Saturate the growing media with water thoroughly, particularly around the seeds.

Step #5

  • Place the tray on the spot where they can receive about 8-10 hours of full sun each day. 
  • Make sure to maintain the warm temperature of about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
  • If your weather does not comply with the required temperature, try considering using a warming mat to supply the warmth they need.

Step #6

  • Cover the tray with plastic sheets to kill harmful pathogens and retain the warmth and moisture they need. But make sure the plastic won’t touch either the soil or the seedlings.
  • However, leave a small opening to allow some moisture to escape to prevent overheating.
  • Check your soil regularly by using the soil finger test method.  If you find the soil dry, spray with water carefully to avoid disturbing the seeds.

Note: It often takes two to three weeks for lavender seeds to germinate when an ideal growing medium and sun requirements are regularly met. Also, the seedlings are ready for transplants after one to two months.


Growing Lavender From Cuttings

Planting lavender cuttings in a green container pot
Image by: gardenersworld.com

Growing lavender from cuttings can be achieved either by using the softwood or the hardwood cuttings.

The softwood cuttings are taken from the soft and flexible tip of the lavender, while the hardwood cuttings are a thicker portion of the lavender branch that may snap if you force them to bend.

The type of lavender and the right timing are the two primary factors to consider if you wish to get the best cuttings to grow.

It is best to gather softwood cuttings in spring. You can get enough without destroying the parent plant.

Softwood cuttings root quickly but are not reliable like hardwood cuttings that are also plentiful in the fall.  

Some types of lavender bloom freely. The bloom drains the plant’s energy making it hard for the stem to form an ideal branch to root.

Steps:

  1. Avoid blossoming stems to take as cuttings
  2. Do not take stems that indicate nutrients deficiency. It is not ideal for rooting.
  3. Use a disinfected sharp knife to take your cuttings measuring about 3-4 inches long.
  4. It is best to cut hardwood stems just below a leaf node.
  5. It is necessary to remove existing leaves from the lower part of the stem to promote healthy rooting.
  6. Prepare and disinfect the container before using it.
  7. Fill the container pot with an enriched growing medium.
  8. Dip the tip of the cuttings in rooting hormone. (Optional)
  9. The rooting hormone helps prevent tip rotting and encourages a fast rooting system. (Lavender roots will, even without it)
  10. Drive the lower end of the cutting about two inches deep into the growing medium.
  11. Press the soil gently to keep the cutting upright.
  12. Cover the cuttings with plastic to form a mini greenhouse to promote quick rooting.
Rooting lavender cuttings with plastic cover in terracotta pots.
Image by: gardenersworld.com

Lavender Cuttings Care

  • It often takes two to four weeks for softwood cuttings to root, while the hardwood cutting usually takes much longer.
  • Check if the stem already generates roots by giving a gentle pull.
  • If you find it a little bit hard to pull, know that the roots are already holding it in place.
  • Wait several days to check them again. Frequent tugging may damage tender roots.
  • Remember to remove the plastic coverings if you find the cuttings already have established roots.
  • Place the new transplant in a sunny location and keep the growing medium moist by checking regularly. The soil should maintain moisture up to 3cm below the surface.
  • Feed the plant once a week by giving one-quarter strength liquid plant fertilizer.
  • If you want to grow the plants in container pots, transplant them in bigger sizes with a well-draining potting medium.
  • Growing lavender from cuttings will likely generate a more successful result compared to growing plants from seeds.

How To Grow Lavender In Pots The Right Way

Two galvanized steel container plants with lavender plants
Image by: gardenerspath.com

If you are considering growing lavender in the container pots, it is always necessary to choose the right container and the growing medium.

When choosing container pots for your plants, you have to consider first what type of lavender you are going to grow.

After considering the lavender variety, pick a container appropriate for their size, height, and spreading capability. 

This way, you’ll be able to choose the container pots to your liking and those that are ideal for your plants.

Lavender prefers moist but well-draining soil. It is also essential to pick container pots that have sufficient drainage holes to maintain the health of your plants.

If you prefer to keep the pots in your home, provide a planter saucer to catch the water, but not the one attached to the bottom of the containers. It will disturb the plants every time you need to throw away excess water.

For the growing medium, the mixture of sand, alkaline, well-draining potting mix, and the slow-release fertilizer is the ideal combination.

If you happen to pick the container with only one or two available drainage holes, it is always best to provide more by drilling holes into the bottom of your container.


How To Care For Lavender Plants In Pots

To provide the right care for your lavender plants grown in containers is really all about maintaining the correct temperature, providing adequate sunlight requirements, and having a sufficient water level given.

  • Place your container grown lavender plants in the spot where they receive full sun (at least 8 hours per day)
  • Remember to water them sparingly.
  • Always perform the soil finger test to ensure the soil will dry out between each watering day, but don’t let it get too dry or the plant will end up wilting.

Lavender prefers heat which means several types will not survive the extreme cold during winter. The advantage of growing lavender in pots is that you can move them to avoid such undesirable weather conditions.

When the freezing temperature begins, move your plants inside and place them on the windowsill to receive the full sun they need.


Common Problems Of Growing Lavender In Pots

Lavenders are known to thrive under the right conditions. But if you are new to growing lavender, you might encounter some problems when growing the plants in pots which you should be aware of.

1) My Lavender Plant Is Slowly Dying

Lavender plant growing in a galvanized steel container pot.

There might be some instances where you will find your container grown lavender plant to have some sections that do not look healthy.

In this case, you might be asking the question how do I save my dying plants. To address such conditions, dead or unhealthy parts of the plants should be removed immediately as soon as you find them. Prune them all out to save your lavender plants.

You can tell your lavender plants are dead if the portion of your plants above the ground look dead. Lavender will not spring back to life if your plant is already dead.


2) Problems Caused By Over-Watering

Watering lavender plant in a container pot
Image by: apartmenttherapy.com

Over-watering is the number one factor why your lavender plants are dying. Excessive soil moisture will generate harmful fungus that will cause the roots to rot. I know watering your plants is always on your mind but you must be careful with this.

Aside from causing the roots to rot, excessive watering can also cause wilted black leaves that can lead to the plant’s possible death.

By providing a loose, well-draining, alkaline, and slightly sandy type of soil, you’ll be able to avoid such issues. Also, the treatment involves pruning the diseased portion of your plants.

Pruning means clearing out unhealthy parts of the plants like removing dead leaves, stems, and other useless debris.

Correct spacing to allow proper aeration is also an excellent way to address issues like this. And the use of reflecting mulch of coarse sand, pea gravel or washed shells can also help.

Let’s do a recap to understand more clearly. (Important)

  • In most cases, it is already too late to save your dying lavender plants once root rotting and wilting of leaves begins.
  • Plants usually wilt due to hot weather, especially during the day, to preserve moisture and survival
  • However, too much watering can also cause the leaves to wilt. This also means the roots are suffering from water-logging and are too lazy to absorb the necessary water requirements to live.
  • Remember to practice precautionary measures to ensure your plants will grow healthy.
  • And if you find such issues are starting to happen in your plant, it means your plant is a goner.

Note: The health of most plants usually starts at the roots. And happy roots also mean happy and healthy plants.


3) Why Are My Leaves Turning Brown?

One of the most common problems you may perhaps encounter is when the leaves of your lavender plants turn brown.

An occurrence like this may indicate possible conditions of too much or too little nitrogen in your plants. It usually happens to container-grown plants.

Brown leaves with plants grown in the ground indicate inadequate moisture. You only have to improve the level of soil humidity and provide proper aeration to correct such an issue.

Brown leaves accompanied by gray or black color is caused by a fungal disease due to over-watering. You will find them at the roots of your plants.


4) The Problem Of Choosing the Wrong Location

Locating your lavender plants in a place where you want it to be because it looks best and not where it prefers to be is the reason this problem occurs.

Lavender originates from regions with a dry climate and tons of sunlight. This type of plant loves to sunbathe. Remember to place them in the spot where they can receive an ample amount of sun.


 5) The Problem of Pruning at the Wrong Time

Nowadays, lots of people prefer a well-manicured plant. Like others, you also want it to be compact and bushy in a nice mound-shaped, which helps increase flower production.

To achieve such elegant shape and abundant flowerings, you’ll need to prune your lavender plant twice in their growing season. You have to cut off unnecessary foliage shortly after harvesting your fragrant lavender flowers.

Pruning your lavender plant right after flowering is ideal, but no need to worry if you weren’t able to do so. You can still do the pruning, but you have to complete them by early spring.

Lavender plants produce flowers annually, so it is best to do the pruning before new growth starts lengthening. This way, you won’t spoil the blossom formation.

Pruning lavender plants in spring are necessary to remove damaged stems that suffer during winter.

While pruning in late summer to fall allows good air circulation, particularly in the interior part of the plant.

In short, pruning your lavender plants in spring and the fall is the best time to bring out the potential growth of your plants.

Remove at least one-third of all growth when you prune established lavender plants.

When pruning older plants, avoid cutting into the woody part. Chopping up into that point will prevent the buds in that stems to sprout.

To understand when is the most suitable time to prune your lavender plants can make the difference, particularly for those who are in the areas with a pretty cold climate.

A little preparation for your plants in the fall and a touch of winter care can help lessen possible lavender plant problems in cold weather conditions.


The Three Common Types Of Lavender

There are a few species of lavender that have countless varieties. Some are traditional purple-flowered plants, white blooms, and dwarf cultivars.

However, the most common types of lavenders are English, French, and Lavandin hybrid.

  • English Lavender

English lavender with a bee at the top of the flowers

The English Lavender is the fully hardy variety that usually blooms in June and July. They make an excellent low hedge or path edging due to their long stems with individual blooms.

  • French Lavender

Flowering French lavender

French Lavender is less hardy and often blooms in May to September if they are regularly deadheaded.

They are ideal in container planting or path edges and will thrive best if you place them in sheltered borders. They can also survive in a short period of cold weather, about 5 to 10 degrees Celcius.

  • Lavandin

Flowering lavandin in the field.

Lavandin is the type of lavender that is more vigorous but less hardy. It usually blooms throughout July and August with very long stems.

This variety is excellent for cut flowers and cutting. One of its favorite varieties is Edelweiss, which thrives in sunny borders and wildlife gardens. It includes an evergreen shrub and white flower spikes.


Final Thoughts On Growing Lavender

Lavender is a beautiful fragrant plant that quickly thrives if you know how to care for them. This aromatic plant can ward pests away, making them able to thrive even without fertilizer.

However, growing them in pots, particularly indoors, will require you to check the plants regularly. Lavenders are susceptible to fungal infections, especially when the soil gets too moist, and when the air is in constant high humidity.

While pruning helps the lavender to thrive and increase blossoming ability, you have to be careful not to chop the old woody parts of the plant. Incorrect pruning can affect the plant’s growth.

The ideal time to complete the pruning is in spring or the fall. Ensure to trim the plants to make them visually appealing, and to provide adequate aeration to the inner portion of the plants.

Not only do these plants prefer dry and hot weather, but they also require plenty of air. It is why placing them in the spot that provides good air circulation is necessary, especially if you keep them indoors.

Lavender plants do not require a ton of maintenance. Follow the tips we’ve shared above and let your plants bloom beautifully all year round.

Have you tried growing lavender successfully? You can share your outstanding experience with us in the comment section below or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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