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Propogate Lavender

    "Is it hard to propagate lavender?" That's a very common question from those who are interested in growing lavender. The answer to the question is: "No"! Actually, it's very easy. While many types of lavender can be propagated with seed, the Lavandins (Lavandula x intermedia) are hybrids of English Lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia and Spike Lavenders ( Lavandula latifolia and they are sterile. But any of these types of lavender can be easily propagated by taking cuttings. Here is how.

"When can I Propagate Lavender?" - Cuttings can be taken from a healthy plant any time it is actively growing, but it is best to do it in the spring before the plant starts blooming. You can also take cuttings in the fall after harvesting the blooms, but I prefer spring so that there is plenty of time to get them started before winter.

Prepare - Before taking any cuttings, get everything ready. All you need is mixed soil, small pots, water, root stimulator (recommended), and a place to put your plant for the first 6 weeks or so.

Prepare to propagate lavender

• Soil - Mix approximately 3 parts peat moss with 1 part sand or vermiculite. Don't use potting soil or commercial compost that may contain wood chips because they can grow a fungus that will damage your new plant. The important thing about this mixture is that it drains well. Dampen the mixture and fill a small pot that has drain holes in the bottom. Poke a small hole about 1 to 1½ inches (2½ to 4 cm) deep into the soil (a small craft stick works well) into which you will plant your cutting.

• Root Stimulator - This plant hormone is not required but highly recommended to give your plant a healthy root system to start its new life. It comes in a powder or liquid form. I prefer the concentrated liquid due to its ease of measurement. Root stimulator can be found in garden centers, nurseries and greenhouse supply stores.

• Location - It will take about 6 weeks for you new lavender plant to get established. During this time it will need to be protected from too much harsh sun, wind and heavy rain. After the first couple of weeks expose the plant to more and more of the environment that it will eventually live in, which should be a location with plenty of sun.

Clipping lavender Cutting - Taking a cutting from a healthy mature lavender plant will not harm it. Cut a small branch off the lower half of the plant that is 3-5 inches (7.5-13 cm) long. Make sure that the branch is soft and not woody.

Stripping Lavender

Planting - Strip the bottom 2 leaves off the cutting and dip it in the root stimulator. Place in the soil that you prepared and close the hole with soil.

Watering - Water your new plant thoroughly after planting. For the first couple of weeks keep the soil damp, but then water less frequently. At this point water when the soil begins to get dry, but before the plant displays any distress. Too much water will kill your new lavender plant. When attempting to propagate lavender, this is the most common mistake.

Transplanting - After about 6 weeks you can move your new lavender plant to a larger pot or into the ground. If planting lavender in the ground, dig the hole about 1 foot (30 cm) wide and about 8 inches (20 cm) deep. Prepare the soil by mixing sand, peat moss or compost, and your native soil. It's most important that the soil drain very well. Fill the hole far enough with your soil mixture that the plant will be at the proper level when the hole is filled the rest of the way. Before filling add a teaspoon full of bone meal or another slow release fertilizer. After removing the plant from the small pot, pour a small amount of root stimulator on the roots, then cover with soil.

It really is easy to propagate lavender when you follow these steps. Don't expect blooms the first year, but the second year should begin to provide you with those wonderful smelling flowers. Growing lavender can be very fun and rewarding hobby.

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