Lavender is one of my all-time favourite garden plants. Not only is it pretty, especially when it flowers, but it also smells great. Plus, bees absolutely adore the flowers. If you want to try propagating your own lavender you might be asking “How long does lavender take to grow?”
In my experience, lavender is a reasonably slow-growing plant but the time it takes to grow will depend on your propagation method. This means you have to be patient if you’re growing from seed or cuttings. But, the result is definitely worth it because the plant can live for many years in your garden.
On the other hand, if you’re going to grow lavender from a plant that you purchased at a nursery or garden centre, the growing time will usually depend on the variety. In general, it might take up to three years for the plant to reach a mature stage. However, you may get a few flowers in the first year.
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Let’s take a look at the variables in both varieties and propagation methods to determine how long you’ll have to wait before your plant reaches maturity.
Growing Lavender From Seed
If you want to try and grow lavender from seed, you’ll have to be extra patient because this is the slowest growing method. But, it’s also relatively inexpensive so this might be a deciding factor for you.
Essentially, lavender plants grown from seed will take at least two to three months before they’re ready to transplant into the garden bed. During this time, you need to keep the soil relatively moist and provide warm growing conditions.
Lavender is a Mediterranean plant, so it favours warm temperatures. Once well-established in your garden, it’s also relatively drought-hardy but young plants do require a good amount of moisture.
For this reason, unless you have a fairly warm spot where your newly germinated seedling is happy, my suggestion would be to use a heat mat that you can place under the pot. This will keep the roots warm and encourage faster growth.
Be prepared to wait for two years for your plant to start producing flowers once it’s planted in the garden. Plus, it could take around three to four years for your plant to reach maturity.
Growing Lavender From Softwood Cuttings
If you have access to some lavender cuttings, you could try this method of propagation. This method will cut down the time to bloom and is also a relatively inexpensive way to get new plants.
Keep in mind though, that not all of your cuttings are going to be successful. For this reason, I would recommend using twice the amount of cutting material to get the number of plants that you want. If you do have a higher success rate, you can always give the extra plants away to family and friends.
Plants grown from cuttings can take around one to three months before they’re ready to transplant into the garden. These new plants should only take around one year before they start blooming.
You’ll also find that they’ll take around three years to reach maturity.
To improve your strike rate, take firm tip cuttings that are around 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. Wound the base of the cutting by slicing off a thin sliver from the side of the stem. This should be around ½ (1 cm) long.
Dip your cuttings into rooting hormone. This can be either in liquid or powder form. Make a hole in the potting mix with a pencil or dibber before inserting the stem of the cutting. Firm the soil around the stem so that the cutting sits upright.
Once again, it would be highly beneficial if you use a heat mat to place your pots onto. You also want to use something like a seed-raising mix for your cutting medium that drains well.
Keep your cutting medium moist but not wet. Lavender prefers a drier environment rather than a humid one so avoid getting the foliage wet when watering. You also want to ensure good air circulation around your lavender seedlings.
Growing Lavender From Purchased Plants
If you don’t have the patience to wait for your lavender to reach maturity, you might want to consider purchasing ready-grown plants from a nursery or garden centre.
Lavender plants should be readily available in 6-inch (15 cm) pots at a reasonable price. These should flower in the same year as they’re planted. Especially, if you plant in spring or summer.
For this size plant, you can expect it to reach maturity in around two to three years.
If you want an even faster-growing plant, you could consider purchasing one in an 8-inch (20 cm) pot or even larger. While a little more expensive, a plant this size should reach maturity in around one to two years. You’ll also get to enjoy the lovely lavender flowers immediately.
Faster-Growing Varieties Of Lavender To Consider
Plant breeders are always looking to breed plants that have more favourable attributes. In the case of lavender, some breeders have developed plants that are faster growing than the original species of lavender.
Here are a few lavender varieties that are popular for their faster growth:
- Lavendula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ (cold-hardy and drought-resistant)
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ (drought-tolerant and cold-hardy English lavender)
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ (highly aromatic flowers, dry and cold tolerant)
- Lavandula x intermedia ‘Provence’ (cold and drought tolerant)
- Lavandula x intermedia ‘Sensational!’ (drought and cold tolerant with masses of blooms)
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Celestial Star’ (outstanding white lavender)
- Lavandula heterophylla (Sweet Lavender) (hardy, drought-resistant and fast-growing)
- Lavandula stoechas or Spanish lavender (also often referred to as French lavender)
Top Tips For Encouraging Faster Growth
While lavender is not a particularly fast-growing plant, there are some things that you can do to help the plant grow a little faster. These include providing the right conditions and making sure that you plant at the best time.
Reduce Transplant Shock
Most plants will require a little time to readjust to their new growing environment. This is usually referred to as transplant shock. You can reduce transplant shock by doing the following:
- Dig a decent-sized hole that is as deep and twice as wide as the pot.
- Be gentle with the plant as you take it out of its pot and place it in the hole.
- Backfill and firm the soil around the base of the plant.
- Water your plant with a weak seaweed solution immediately after planting.
- Give your plant regular water but let the soil dry in between.
- Avoid feeding your plant until it has settled into its new home.
Make Sure That Your Soil Can Drain Freely
Lavender doesn’t like heavy soils that are constantly wet. Therefore, ensure that you grow your lavender in a spot that has well-drained soil. Sandy soil is the best.
In fact, good drainage is essential to keep your plant healthy and thriving and avoid fungal disease such as root rot.
Choose Mature Plants Rather Than Propagating One From Lavender Seeds Or Cuttings
It goes without saying that starting with a slightly more mature plant is going to give you faster growth in the garden. So, if you’re in a hurry to have a healthy and bushy lavender plant, purchase a nice specimen from your local nursery or garden centre.
Plant At The Right Time
Lavender will do most of its growing during the warmer months of the year. So, for a faster growth rate, plant your lavender in the garden in late spring after the last frost date or even wait until early summer.
The warmer weather will provide the perfect conditions for your lavender to put on a growth spurt.
As an example, here’s a photo of a lavender plant I propagated from a cutting. This has been in the ground for around 6 months or so over autumn and winter. It’s put on very little growth in that time. But, it has virtually doubled in size over the past 3 or 4 weeks as the weather has warmed up.
This proves how important it is to plant your lavender at the right time of the year if you want to see some good growth.
Keep Your Plant Well-Watered For The First 3 To 4 Months
Although lavender is quite drought-tolerant once it’s well established, it does require a little extra care during the settling-in stage.
For the first 3 or 4 months, endeavour to water your lavender plant at least once a week if there is no rain. But, make sure that you let the soil dry out before you give your plant water.
Remember that it is a Mediterranean plant and doesn’t like soggy soil. This means that you have to find a good balance between providing your young plant with the water it needs and avoiding overwatering.
Tip Prune Your Plant To Encourage Growth
One of my top tips for encouraging healthy plant growth in lavender is to tip-prune your plant. This is just a case of taking off the very tips of each branch with a clean, sharp pair of secateurs.
When you do this, you actually encourage the plant to produce two more stems from the point that you cut to. But, make sure that you don’t cut into any old woody stems because no new growth will appear from old wood.
If you make tip-pruning a regular habit, especially after the plant has finished flowering, you should end up with a nice bushy plant without too much old bare wood.
For more useful information about growing lavender, you might like to check out the following articles:
Frequently Asked Questions
Lavender is known as a woody perennial. In areas with mild winters or if protected from frost, lavender will continue to grow all year round. But, it is generally dormant over winter.
This depends on the type of lavender that you’re growing. Some varieties will bloom in spring while others bloom in summer. There are even varieties that will bloom twice over the warmer months and some that may bloom for a long time. This could be from early spring right through to late summer.
Yes, lavender does best when grown in a sunny position in the garden.
Lavender prefers to grow in soil that is neutral to slightly alkaline. You can add some lime to the soil if yours is acidic.
Lavender makes a wonderful addition to any garden. It is both attractive and useful thanks to its intoxicating fragrance. Plus, it attracts bees and other pollinators to your garden.
Growing this fragrant herb in your garden means that you can cut the flowers, tie them in small bundles and hang them up to dry. You can then make lavender sachets or your own potpourri. Lavender is full of essential oils and can have a variety of uses around the home.
However, this hardy and versatile plant is rather slow-growing and can take up to three years to reach maturity. Especially, if grown from seed or cuttings. For those who are a little impatient, it’s best to purchase established plants from a nursery or garden centre.
There are also some things that you can do to help speed up the growth. These include planting at the right time, providing the perfect soil and water requirements and regularly tip-pruning your young plants.