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How do you make lavender cuttings?

Lavender cuttings I make at the same moment when I prune the lavender. In (early) spring with no more risk of frost. And after the summer bloom, in autumn. There are growers who prune in early spring and store the cuttings, if it’s still too cold, before they go into the ground. I try to find the optimum time for both. And after cutting, I put the cuttings right into the ground in their place in the prepared planting beds.

How do you cut the lavender cuttings?

First of all with good pruning scissors that cut the cuttings, but do not squeeze them. Ideal are cuttings that first have a piece of wood and then new material. It is important that you don’t cut under the green of the plant. Make sure there are some leaves and preferably some new spout under where you cut.

Then I prune the whole plant back into shape, a kind of hairdressing it is. It is important that you prune generously, but not too generously, to prevent bald branches from forming. With the pruning in spring you often also cut away the first tiny flowers. That’s no problem, there will be many more in return.

Preparing lavender cuttings

Immediately after cutting the cuttings I select the strongest. Per lavender species this can be quite different. The photos of the cuttings on this page are from a Provence lavandin. With long somewhat thinner leaves. Other species seem more robust.
The branches with wood often have offshoots that you can tear off the wood. It is said that that works well. In my trial latest autumn I have put every type of cutting in the ground, with wood, without wood, torn from wood, thin, thick, big, small. And it all worked. At least on land, right in the ground under a shadow tunnel. In pots, all the results were less good. In every case you let only the leaves at the upper part stay. The rest you take off carefully.


I also experimented with growth hormones to baptize the cuttings, but that didn’t make any difference in my case. So I stopped that.

lavender cuttings right in the prepared plant bed
lavender cuttings right in to the prepared bed

PH value cutting soil


Soil should not contain nutrients, but I could not find anything about the desired PH value for lavender cuttings. This spring I prepared the beds with half the lime I normally give to the lavender plants. If anybody knows about the best PH for lavender cutting I would love to hear it.

Watering the cuttings

I find lavender cuttings in pots pretty awkward myself. The soil should be moist, but not too wet. When it rains heavily they are too wet right away. And with sunshine and no rain they are too dry very soon. I watered the cuttings on land every two days in times of no rain. A larger amount of soil is a good buffer for water, but also for draining too much water.

Shade cloth with 70% UV filter

A shade cloth that lets some sun through, but not too much seems to work well in my case. I still have to see if the cuttings like it in the summer. The Spanish sun can be merciless. The autumn cuttings are from after the summer and also the new spring cuttings haven’t seen summer yet. If necessary I stretch a double cloth.

lavender cuttings protected from the sun
lavender cuttings protected from the sun with a 70% UV filter

I hope to be able to plant the autumn cuttings in their final spot in May. And the spring cuttings in the autumn, after about 7 months. But most of all I look at what they look like. The stronger ones go first.

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Lavender propagation: the results after 6 months

Lavender propagation did not go well the first time, which is why I stabbed the lavender according to three methods in the autumn of 2019:

  • in a heated propagator inside;
  • in pots with cutting soil outside on the terrace;
  • and directly into the soil on the land.
    See my see my previous blog. It is time for the results.

Lavender propagation indoors in a propagator

Lavender propagation with the propagator inside was not a success. Very soon it started to get mouldy. I turned off the heating and removed the lids, but the remaining cuttings didn’t like it either. Of the 100 or so cuttings, three are left. After a while I put them outside because it was clear that they craved light. They became long and thin while the outside specimens looked a lot sturdier. I carefully let them get used to outside and after a while they also became firmer.

propagation in pots: bad results compared to planting directly in the garden

Lavender propagation outside in pots

The planters with the cuttings outside on the terrace were in the shade with only a little sun in the morning with just like the cuttings inside a carefully chosen mix of cuttings soil clearly did better, but at least half did not root. The ones that survive don’t look very good compared to the ones on the land.

Lavender cuttings directly in the ground

lavender cuttings directly put in the ground

The big winner is cuttings directly into the ground. In my case in Spain with a shade cloth that blocks 70% of the UV radiation. That soil was tested beforehand as relatively poor and therefore suitable for lavender. Except that the PH value at that time was not yet increased with lime. From March the cuttings suddenly started to sprout a lot. Not all the same, but per type of lavender. Apparently one goes faster than the other. I haven’t exactly kept track of it, but I think about 90% is doing well to excellent. Soon I hope to plant them out, I think around May. I’m curious how they will experience the summer sun in Spain, that’s why I bought some extra shade cloth just to be sure.

New spring lavender cuttings

Last week I pruned the plants and made cuttings again. Now only directly into the ground in the same way as last time. The fourth week of April is a bit later than I had hoped and that’s because the temperature in my region has been relatively low in recent weeks. While northern Europe was already almost in summery atmospheres we got an unprecedented amount of water. That is fantastic for the nature. But I thought it would be better for the cuttings to start a little later.

Propagating lavender by cuttings, is that really that easy?

Everywhere I read that propagating lavender by cuttings is not difficult. Easier than sowing and much better too, because you keep the original characteristics of the plant. But with my lavender cuttings this spring I went quite wrong.

Propagating lavender by cuttings, is that really that easy?

Propagating lavender in a cutting tray

I took extra precaution. I bought a cuttings tray to keep the temperature at a desired 22-25 degrees. And cutting powder, from two brands. I watched videos on the internet about propagating lavender by cuttings and made at least 100 cuttings, with and without two different cutting powders.

But the result was 0. Only 1 out of about 100 cuttings got significant root formation and eventually died.

What did I do wrong?

According to a friend here in the Alpujarras I had pampered them too much. Furthermore I read about the soil, potting soil was wrong. I had mixed the potting soil with poor garden soil, but it was fertilized potting soil, others were not available here.

Lavender cuttings in autumn in four ways

At the end of September I tried again. This time no cutting powder and no potting soil. And according to four different methods.

  • Outdoors in the ground, under a small tunnel against the still relatively warm Spanish sun.
  • Outside on the terrace in two planters in the shade.
  • Inside in the cutting board, but without heating because it is still warm enough.
  • And I have partly dug in a number of side branches of lavender plants, in the hope that they will form new roots.

Cuttings soil

In the planters and cutters I put 1/3 part sterilized soil of the land (sterilized in the solar oven) 1/3 part perlite (for better drainage) and 1/3 part coconut substrate (contains no fertilizers and retains water). Outside on land, the cuttings are simply in the ground.

Water, what is not too much and not too little?

Something I hadn’t thought of before is that it’s quite difficult to know when the cuttings need water. Larger lavender plants don’t need a lot of water, but cuttings shouldn’t dry out. What is neither too much nor too little water?

I use a handy device. It was for measuring the PH, but that doesn’t work at all. There are 2 positions more on it. Light and moisture. I don’t really see the point of the first one yet, but the second one works well. The moisture gradations are useful to keep track of. At position 4, the lowest position of moist, I give (a little bit of) water. Maybe it’s too late or too early, but it feels good to be able to measure something.

handy device for measuring moisture. Normaly with 2 legs but PH and light doesn’t work, so we cut of 1 leg.

Update: two weeks later

All the cuttings seem to be alive and looking good. Except for 12 cuttings in the cutting tray. They even started to mold. Apart from the mouldy cuttings I also removed the plastic caps from the plugs. That’s right, pampering lavender too much is not a good idea.

To be continued

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