Plants for Free: How to Propagate Lavender from Cuttings

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Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hardwood. Full DIY video included.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden

Lavender is a useful and beautiful plant for any garden, making it no wonder that so many of us want to grow it. You can use the lavender buds to make skincare, sachets for your clothing, or sprinkle them into cookies. When they’re in bloom they’ll draw bees and other insects from far and wide. On a strictly ornamental level, they create stunning hedges and low-maintenance architectural plants.

Buying a few decent sized lavender plants will set you back a fair amount though. A fiver apiece will rack up quite the bill if you need ten, twenty, or more plants. Fortunately, there’s a way to create your own lavender plants for practically nothing. All you’ll need is an established lavender plant, time, and patience. Propagating lavender from cuttings is also fairly easy to do and you can use the same method for other plants like rosemary. Just one plant can give you dozens more for free.

Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden
Lavender plants that I propagated from cuttings six years ago

New plants can grow from stem cuttings

Taking cuttings is basically snipping a piece of an existing plant and letting it grow its own roots. The small plants that result are clones of the parent plant and will produce the exact same foliage and flowers. It’s a non-obtrusive method of propagation and you can use it every year to increase your plants.

Soft-wood is the new fresh growth that plants put on in spring. Each sprig of soft-wood can either be left on the shrub to increase its own size or it can be taken off and used to root a brand new plant. Early on in the spring some of the new green growth might be a bit short but you can also use older wood that the new leaves are growing from. This older stem is called ripe wood and will readily grow roots providing that you cut it in the right place and apply a rooting hormone.

Step 1: Take Lavender Cuttings

Watch the full process of creating new plants from lavender cuttings in the video above. Begin by taking lavender cuttings. With a larger branch you can use a very sharp knife to cut 4-6″ long sections just below a leaf node. A leaf node is any place along the stem where the joints of leaves grow from. See what this means in the above photo. If the stem is long enough, you can create multiple cuttings from it.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden
Cutting below a leaf node

Using scissors is not a good idea for this step either, in case you had it in mind. They pinch the stem as they cut and partially close the stem, making rooting difficult. Please also keep track of which end was the top end and which was the bottom. You need to plant the pieces into the soil in the same direction the plant was growing. If it’s planted upside down, the cutting won’t take.

Plants for free: How to Propagate new Lavender plants from cuttings.
Rooting Hormone helps stem cuttings to form their own root systems

Step 2: Trim the leaves

Using that same knife trim all but the top bunch of leaves from the stem. You need a few leaves to feed the plant but too many forces the plant to direct energy and food to the leaves. You want them to focus on the business of putting down roots.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden
Free-draining soil and terracotta pots are ideal for propagation

Step 3: Prepare the pot and compost

Fill a pot with free-draining compost such as two parts ordinary compost mixed with one part perlite or grit. If you use ordinary compost with no added drainage material then it can tend to be too wet for the cuttings to thrive. They need moisture, but they prefer to have it drain away quickly too.

Terracotta pots are a bit better than plastic pots since terracotta can breathe, whereas air and water can’t pass through plastic. This breath-ability creates better conditions for rooting and can also reduce the chance of fungal attacks. And if you’re able to soak the terracotta pots in water overnight, all the better.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden
Plastic bags act like mini-greenhouses

Step 4: Planting

Though some people don’t use it, I like to use a substance to help stimulate the cutting to grow roots. Dip the bottom 3/4 inch (2 cm) of the stem into rooting hormone and then plant the cutting in compost. Use a pencil or small dibber to make a hole in the compost just at the edge of the pot. Bury the cutting all the way to the leaves, and space the next one at least a half-inch away. Firm the compost around the cuttings.

Once your pot is filled, give it a good but gentle watering and place a plastic bag on top. A clear drinks bottle with the bottom cut off will work too. This serves as a mini-greenhouse and helps keep the compost and cuttings warm and from drying out. If you plan on propagating a lot of cuttings, you might want to invest in a plant propagator.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. DIY video included #gardeningtips #garden #lavender

Step 5: Rooting

Place your pots in a warm place with diffused or partial sunlight. If it’s too hot or the light too direct your cuttings can wilt and suffer. Rooting will take place within the next month to eight weeks. Keep the compost moist and after a couple of weeks begin checking the drainage hole for signs of roots. If any of the cuttings wither or turn brown during this time, gently pull them out and dispose of them.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden
Roots and new leaves will form on the cuttings within a couple of months

Step 6: Individually potting up

Potting up happens after both roots are visible from the drainage hole and new leaves are beginning to form. Gently remove the new plants from the compost and pot them up into individual 3″ pots. If you’re using small pots to propagate lavender cuttings in, you may need to gently up-end it.

The new lavender plants need to be planted into compost that holds a little more water than before. Mix one part perlite or grit to 3 or 4 parts compost. Plant them up to the same place they were in the propagating pot.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden
The new baby lavender plants are ready for the garden.

Step 7: Planting the new lavender plants

Grow the plants on until plenty of new leaves have filled out and the plant has bushed out a bit. This could take several weeks to a couple of months and a nice sheltered place with plenty of sun is best. Over-winter them undercover, such as in a greenhouse or cold frame, and plant them outside the following spring. Research the final size of the lavender variety you’re growing and spacing to know how to plant them.

Lavender prefers free-draining soil that has a neutral to alkaline pH. If you have acidic clay soil, you should consider working garden lime and grit into the planting site the autumn before. For more tips on growing and caring for lavender, head over here.

Plants for Free: Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for all types of lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood. Full DIY video included #gardeningtips #growlavender #flowergarden
Lavender that I’ve planted to grow into a low hedge

Propagate More than Lavender

Propagating your own plants from cuttings is a rewarding experience. It’s very easy to do and once you’ve propagated one plant you’ll know how to propagate others. Patience is always key when it comes to nurturing any living thing. Those weeks of waiting for your plants to grow will pay out dividends in the garden. Here are more ideas for creating your own plants for free

Instructions on how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Works for both English and French lavender and cuttings from new or semi-hard wood.

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  1. Thanks very much for your tips – I have a lovely lavender hedge along the side of our house that has been there ever since we moved in. It’s getting old and leggy now and I have been wondering how to replace or rejuvenate it if it dies. Taking cuttings sounds like a great idea of how to preserve it and replace it if I need to.

  2. I just took lavender cuttings and I’m doing an experiment a bunch in water to root and a bunch in soil to see which does the best. I do not have a greenhouse turnover winter. How should I keep them till next spring to plant? Great article!

  3. Amber Wegmuller says:

    Do you have to poke holes in the plastic bag for the green house effect?
    Thank you.

    1. No need to poke holes in the bag — you want it to be warmer for the cuttings.

  4. Natasha MacTavish says:

    I too had no idea that lavender could be propagated via stem cuttings. I had little luck my first time trying from seed, I willhave to try again and do some cuttings for the mean time. Thanks for the great read?

    1. You’re welcome Natasha and best of luck with propagating. If you have any questions along the way just head back here and leave them as a comment :)

  5. My friend accidentally chopped my french lavender bush while clearing brambles, very sad :( is there any way of saving it?

    1. You can propagate from it immediately afterwards but if it’s more than a day old the chances of it rooting are slim. Hard to say how the plant will fare — it’s all dependent on how chopped it is.

  6. Thanks so much for the clear descriptions! I just learned and practiced this for the first time today, so it was really great to read more about the principles that we were using.

  7. As autumn is upon us and winter won’t be far behind, if I take my cuttings now, will they be okay to keep inside until spring planting in late May?

    1. Yes they should do fine in a greenhouse — I’ve heard that others haven’t had luck with keeping them in the house.

  8. says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually
    realize what you’re talking about! Bookmarked.

  9. marilyn eloe says:

    love all your info………….I love, love to experiment, and grow from what I have, I save most seeds, and allow things to develop seeds to plant for next year, be it flowers, lettuce, cantalope or whatever. This is a did you know,…if you run your fingers thru lavender, and then rub your hands on your arms, neck whatever, you will not have a mosquito bother you. It works every time, and you smell wonderful. I am just planting lavender again. Thru the years, I have lost mine, so I am anxious to get going again. Thanks for the propagation info..the best of summer times to you……..Marilyn

  10. Bette bouck says:

    Love your ideas…thank you

  11. sweet as your angel face keep post such a lovely idea thanks again best of luck

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  13. Hello all. I grow all types of lavender. We live on the side of a mountain (Mt. Bernard), and the soil is granitic, in its composition ( fine granite particles). Every type of tree, bush and flower seems to grow well in it.
    Plants/ trees etc. planted in it, don’t seem to need alot of water or watering once established. It’s great for propergation…
    Enjoy your lavender plants…they are like cats…very forgiving, like each others company, and tolerate minimal intervention by humans… ( plant in minimums of three ( same type), or mass plant for effect ” magnicicent ” ) ?

  14. I grow a lot of lavender this way for our farm,( I think this post is how I first found you!) Not to knock root hormone but honey works just as well!!!

    1. Do you dip the end in honey just as you would root hormones? How does it work?

    2. TeresaSue says:

      The price of honey these days it’s probably cheaper to buy root hormone.
      If you put some willow switches in a bucket of water to root you can also use that willow water as a rooting agent as willows produce their own root hormone. Just use the willow water to water you plant.
      Blessings from North Idaho, TeresaSue

  15. I didn’t know that you can grow lavenders from cuttings. Honestly, growing them from seeds takes forever and I’m feeling hopeless. I hope at least one of my lavender seeds will sprout soon. I water them daily just enough to keep them moist and they get sunlight everyday too.

  16. Hi, I just sowed some lavender seeds about 2 weeks ago. The seeds sprouted after 4 days, and growth was quite fast in the first week. But after that, the seedlings seem to have stopped growing. They are still quite fragile looking. What should I do to aid their growth?

    1. Just make sure you keep them watered and cover to keep from freezing if you are in a zone that gets below freezing temps. I sprouted some two years ago from seed and they did the same thing. but then in spring they seemed to take off. Now they are quite large and I am going to take some cuttings and try to propagate as well. they will bloom after the second warm season and also have a good growth spurt. You must have patience with lavender. Mine were small for the first year. I just babied them along with water and kept them covered with jars and leaf mulch in the winter months. Good Luck with your new sprouts and Happy Growing!!!

  17. Hi Tanya,
    I was looking for information about Lavender seedlings when I came across this article. Thanks for sharing :)
    I've just moved to Australia from a tropical country, and am very happy that I can finally plant my own lavender. I started a big batch from seeds and the seedlings are now growing along fine.

    I'm wondering if you could tell me, how closely you plant the Lavender seedlings in pots? Most seed packets said 20cm in between, but I don't have a lot of space in my balcony.

    Thanks in advance

  18. What books on propagating do you recommend? I couldn't find them on your blog side bar. Thanks.

    1. The one book I own is called Propagating Plants from the Royal Horticultural Society. It really has everything you need to know to get started!

  19. Hi, I purchased 3 plants last year from the HomeDepot and the plants have grown nicely. I want to grow about 22 new plants from the 3 older ones. I live in Los Angeles County, CA and I believe it is zone 9 and it is early April. I am going to follow your directions. Is there any special plant food or anything special I need to do? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you, Arthur.

    1. Well drained compost and rooting hormone are pretty much all you need at the propagation stage. More nutrient rich compost comes into play when you have the root systems established. Good luck with growing your 20+ new plants – you'll easily be able to achieve it with three mature plants.

  20. I live in montreal, Canada.. where we are almost into April and we are still barely getting out of sub-zero temperatures. Our summers are ridiculously tropical however… 34-35 Celsius is standard summer temperature and my front lawn becomes a desert where Lavender and cactus thrive. It seems my back yard where I fuss over the vegetable garden was the wrong place for it. If given good nutrients in the soil, sun, heat, more sun and the odd water at night (allowed to dry well between waterings) it will love you back!

  21. Hi Tania,
    I love lavender too and this year bought (easy way) 72 lavender munstead (dwarf variety) that arrived yesterday in modules. I have no idea what to do with them now! I want them to line the box hedge in my front garden eventually but currently they are so small – when can I plant them out and do I keep them in the little plastic containers they arrived it until then? Do I water them and keep them indoors until they are bigger or should I repot them? I have no idea! I hope you can help.
    Thank you so much in advance!
    Deborah x

    1. Apologies for responding so late to your comment Deborah. You'll want to move your plantlings into larger pots to grow on for a bit before planting them out in their final positions. Personally, I'd wait until the plants have an established root system in at least a 4" pot before planting out.

  22. Thank you so much for the information on propogation. I have a couple of lavender plants that keep the bees and butterflies busy; this sounds like a fun way to grow the party :-)


  23. I was wondering if you cold treated the seed before sowing and for how long? Lovely site!

    1. Thanks Dianna :) And no, I didn't cold treat the seeds since the directions on the packet didn't mention it – which means they probably are old enough that they wouldn't need it to break dormancy. Though if you're collecting fresh seeds, it would probably be a good idea to stratify them if you want to sow them right away.

  24. A friend actually dug her lavender up an divided like any other perennial. I'm not brave enough to sacrifice my babied lavender yet. Lol.but I have found new off spring coming up near them and replanted those. I might try the cuttings in the spring too.

    1. Lavender plants can only be divided once they are three or more years older. Even so, I'd be hesitant to do mine too!

  25. Thanks for the detailed instruction on propagating lavender! Mine died this year and just bought a healthy pot for me to plant. I guess it's too late to propagate now but now that I know how, I'll be sure to do this next spring. I didn't take care of my old one – hence, its demise this year. The winter was brutal and I didn't cut them back – was scared to touch it – and the couple of main barks that survived eventually dried out.

    I'm off to search to see if you have any tips on cutting them back so my new pot will be healthier.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Karen, in this post I propagated lavender from semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer (even though the post is from early spring) so don't feel like you have to wait a full year before trying.

      Regarding pruning: only cut new wood when pruning. If you cut the older branches back you can kill the plant. Instead, if you think the plant is looking 'Leggy' (bare branches at the base of the plant) then try sprinkling a quarter cup of garden lime on top of the soil in the pot. Lavender isn't fond of acidic soil so could be one of the reasons your plant isn't doing too well. Other reasons it might not be doing well is that lavender needs full sun and plenty of drainage – does your pot have gravel in it's bottom (an inch or two will do) and have plenty of holes at the base for water to drain out?

    2. Anonymous says:

      If you love lavender, come to Sequim, Washington. It is the lavender capital in the US. We have a festival every year where you tour lavender fields. They sell everything lavender, culinary included. It was just held 2 weeks ago, but plan on next year. Look up on the web Sequin lavender festival to see the beautiful farms and fields. The whole town is bursting in flowers, including every street light, just magnificant to see and smell.

  26. Thanks for the article. I put a lavender plant in last year and it did alright but it's not here now. Does lavender usually come back the next year or do you have to re plant every year?

    1. Hi Brian, Lavender is a perennial so if you can't see it now then it's not likely to come back. Sorry for the bad news!

  27. Anonymous says:

    What is the most fragrant type of lavender. I've planted some lavender but never had any that was really fragrant.

    1. Anonymous says:

      It might have been russian sage. Did it smell like sage?

      1. Russian sage has a very fragrant smell, same as lavender. What you may have planted was salvia. I dont believe that is very fragrant. But it kinda looks like lavender.

  28. Good info. I want to make wedding favors out of lavender plants.

  29. It's so easy to grow lavender from cuttings. Mine in the garden is so prolific though I have never had to do this.

  30. I take a few cuttings every year from my lavender bushes – in my book you can never have enough lavender.

  31. Another fan of lavender here :) I have some bushes outside the kitchen door so the fragrance can waft in. Traditionally I should drape my freshly laundered tea towels on it to dry :)
    I have never grown from seed, but I do propagate, and this is a great article.
    I'm guessing that your cuttings will sell well at the Farmer's Market ;)

    1. Oh and I doubt I'll have any leftover for the market but we'll see. I'm planting a hedge of lavender at the allotment and at home :)

  32. I smiled when I read this Tanya. When we lived in Lichfield many years ago, the man next door had a front garden full of lavender bushes, which he treated like his children – really looking after them well. They used to seed all over the place – the cul de sac we lived in had them growing out of cracks in the kerb, gutters etc. I tried growing some from cuttings and they never came to anything!

    1. What a wonderful street to live on…the smell must have been amazing!
      You should try again with your cuttings Pat – second or third times a try :)

  33. I too love lavender and have been investigating all the different types after hearing about a lavender garden on GQT/Radio 4. Last year I grew some from seed but only four survived, think that was me though not being a good enough mum! xxx

    1. They do take a long time to grow from seed so you can be forgiven for moving on to other projects Fran :) If you're interested, try growing them from cuttings for more quicker effect.

      The lavender garden sounds lovely…where about is it?