Growing Lavender Indoors Is Easy. Here Are the 8 Steps on How to Grow Lavender At Home
Imagine coming home to a floral-fresh house every day or turning on the diffuser for a relaxing night’s rest. Sounds good? Well, then start growing lavender indoors.
That’s right. You don’t need a backyard to keep lavender essential oil within reach. You just need basic gardening supplies, a large container, and a lot of sun. You don’t even need to worry about rushing back from vacation to water your plant.
Ready? Come on! Livin’ lavender loca!
What You’ll Need to Plant Lavender
- Lavender seed pack or cuttings
- Garden clippers
- Glass jar
- Mixing pan
- Potting soil mix
- Perlite or coarse sand
- Claystone or crushed oyster shells
- Seedling beds or 3-inch pots
- 12 to 16-inch containers with drainage holes
- Garden spade and fork
How To Grow Lavender Indoors In 8 Steps
It’s great having pretty and practical herbs inside your house. Here’s how to grow lavender indoors to keep your home vibrant and smelling spring-fresh.
1. Choose Your Lavender Plant
When growing lavender at home, don’t just focus on lavender varieties that will give you the prettiest flowers. You should also consider your area’s growing zone climate because most lavender plants can’t handle extreme cold and heat.
Next, think about the planting season. Lavender are perennial plants. You should plant lavender seeds before spring, 8-10 weeks before the last frost date (1).
For their growing season, lavender thrives and blooms during the early spring and summer when the temperatures are not extreme. If you want to get more flowers out of each year, choose a variety that blooms twice a year.
Check out the most famous lavender varieties below (2). There’s bound to be one that fits your needs perfectly.
|Lavender Type||Popular Varieties||Bloom season||Suitable Zone||Appearance / Size|
|English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)||Munstead and Thumbelina||Late spring / early summer||Zones 5-8||Tight flowers and blue-green leaves / 2-3ft|
|Phenomenal and Gros Bleu||Mid-spring / late summer||Zones 8 to 11||Bracts and needle-like leaves / 3ft|
|Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)||Silver Anouk and Winter Bee||Early summer / early fall||Zone 8||Large flowers and silvery leaves / 2ft|
Some lavender varieties can reach over 4 feet tall. That’s not exactly convenient for growing lavender in pots indoors. So we kept the list limited to the best varieties that grow to 3 feet max.
2. Decide Between Lavender Seeds and Cuttings
This decision can become a challenge for gardening newbies. Choose carefully!
Growing lavender indoors from seed takes time. It will take 28 days before leaves sprout (1). And these pretty purple plants have a low germination rate. How about cuttings?
Almost everyone in the garden community knows that it’s easier to plant lavender and grow them from cuttings. You can get cuttings just as easily as seeds. And you can use soft or woody lavender stems for propagation (3).
“The stems with blossoms are less likely to grow and be healthy. When flowers are growing on the stems, all the plant’s energy is being used to grow that flower, and there will be less energy for the plant to grow roots”
If you want a better chance of successfully growing lavenders, use leafy, woody stems because their roots grow slower and are hardier. You can even propagate it any time of the year.
Make sure you get cuttings at least 6 inches long. Take off the leaves on the bottom 2 inches of each stem. You also want to expose the area where new growth of leaves occurs.
Next, put the cuttings in a jar filled with 2 inches of water. It will trigger the roots to grow instead of the leaves. Keep an eye on this setup, making sure there is always at least 2 inches of water in the jar. They should start rooting after around 3-6 weeks (3).
3. Use Good Draining Soil
Whether you’re planting lavender seeds or cuttings, you should always use well-drained soil because lavenders don’t like too much moisture (4). They also like acidic soil.
Here are soil combination options to give lavenders the best growing conditions:
- The classic soil combo: Add 1 part good quality potting soil, 1 part perlite or coarse sand, and 1 part clay stones, oyster shells, or crushed eggshells. The perlite and coarse materials keep the soil airy and relatively dry.
- Using cactus soil: 1 part good quality potting soil, 1 part succulent soil mix (5). This soil is excellent for heat-tolerant lavender varieties. Plus, if you already grow cacti, then you already have all that on hand.
Combine each solid recipe well in a mixing pan and scoop them into a 3-inch wide pot or seed tray for seed germination. Always use a container with drain holes to let the water flow out.
Now, how to sow the seeds?
Put the seeds in each pot or tray slot and add enough soil to cover it. The seeds have to be in the top inch of the surface because it needs sunlight to germinate. So put the seed tray on a south-facing window sill after.
If you’re planting cuttings, use a bigger pot, at least 12 to 16 inches wide and 1 foot deep (6). It’s better to use a container that your lavender can grow into because changing the container too often can damage the root ball.
4. Transplant Seedlings Or Cuttings Into Containers
You can transplant seedlings after they grow a bunch of true leaves. It’s better to wait longer than transplant too early.
Seedlings and newly rooted cuttings are the most sensitive and fragile stage of lavender life. Don’t damage their new roots.
Lightly watering the soil makes moving the plant easier without breaking the root zone.
5. Take It Easy With The Water And Fertilizer
Generally, lavender prefers low-nutrient soil. But think of transplanted lavenders as patients in the ICU. They need extra care and preventive measures to help them get through a critical period.
You can give a few drops of Vitamin B-rich liquid fertilizer to the soil of newly transplanted plants (7). Just make sure you don’t give too much and cause over-fertilization.
Watering is another thing you should do sparingly. I know it might be tempting to give newly transplanted plants more water. But that’s not how to care for lavender plants indoors. You have to mimic their natural growing conditions in the Mediterranean region. Giving them too much water can cause root rot (8).
Lavender prefers dry soil. So you only need to water them every other day after a transplant. When they’re stable and growing, they can go without water for up to two weeks. Don’t worry; they are very hardy and bounce back fast, just like this one:
This low-maintenance herb is perfect for forgetful waterers!
6. Pick A Bright Spot Indoors
At this point, your very own lavender plant is out of the woods and growing healthy. But where do you put it?
Lavenders may not like frequent watering, but they love direct sunlight. If your home doesn’t have a sunny spot, you can grow lavender and other indoor plants under full spectrum LED grow lights. Or you can get red, far-red, and blue light spectrum bulbs and arrange them in a corner. Make sure you position them at least 3 feet above the plants.
You don’t want super bright light or prolonged exposure. Giving your indoor lavender 12-18 hours of grow light or sunlight daily is enough for ideal growth (9).
7. Prune Your Lavender Bush
Pruning your lavender plant helps promote uniform growth. Plus, you don’t want a woody hedge growing inside your house (10).
“The parts of the plant that turn to wood will not produce new lavender stalks. Additionally, a woody plant is prone to cracking or rotting in winter.”
How often should you prune your lavender? The answer is at least once a year. Cut the stems and flower blooms above the woody growth, leaving a few leafy nodes for healthier shoots. Just don’t prune right before winter. If you do, your plant can freeze up.
8. Make The Most Out Of Your Lavender Plant
Save the stems and buds from your pruning session. You can make so many things with lavender plant parts, depending on the varieties you plant. Here are some of the ways you can use your lavender plant harvests.
- Arts and crafts – Use your lavender’s dried flowers for making potpourri or weaving wreaths. You can also add small petals into your hand paper pulp for a pretty and fragrant touch.
- Essential oils – Lavender oil is popular in aromatherapy because its high linalool and linalyl acetate concentrations give a calming effect to people (11).
- Fresh Flowers – Use your lavender prunings for a flower arrangement. You can also add some fresh-cut flower stems in your bathroom to add some freshness. And don’t worry, they dry up nicely, and you can just add the dried flowers to your potpourri mix.
Some lavender varieties make great culinary additions. But don’t go grabbing your lavender essential oil and pouring it into your tea. Make sure the lavender essence you use is food grade (12). Otherwise, you can get poisoned.
Chefs usually infuse their ingredients with lavender. Adding some leaves to sugar or making syrup are great ways to do this.
Lavender as a food flavor is very strong, so don’t get heavy-handed with this stuff. Chefs usually infuse their ingredients with this herb. Adding some leaves to sugar granules is a great way to do this. Making syrup is another way to go. It’s a popular addition to baked goods because of its floral, aromatic note.
Lavender Companion Planting
Indoor gardening recently boomed as a new hobby. So you might be wondering if there are other indoor plants and herbs that grow together with lavender.
Lavender acts as a shield for other plants. You can arrange a few lavender containers around your potted broccoli to protect them against moths. You never know what insect can get into your house at night. Meanwhile, basil and oregano help lavenders grow better by repelling flies (13).
Let’s say you’re saving space and rooming two plants in the same pot. Lavender grows well with other plants that like the same soil conditions. Mint is not one of those potential roomies. It likes shade and lots of water. Planting them together will definitely lead to o56rne of them dying. You can substitute mint for cilantro instead.
Troubleshooting Lavender Plants’ Common Problems
Congrats! You now know all the basics for planting lavender in the comfort of your home. But just in case you missed something, here’s a list of common problems that you may face (14).
Wilted Black Leaves
It is a sign of root rot or fungi infestation. Overwatering your plant causes poor soil conditions. Take out the dying parts and leave your plant under the sun for a few days until the soil dries.
Yellow, wilted leaves are not a pretty color on lavenders. Remember not to give fertilizer unless you just transplanted them or used a low-quality soil mixture. Don’t add any more fertilizer to established lavenders and make the container well-draining. It can also mean that you aren’t giving the plants enough sun time.
Bare Spots And Unruly Flower Buds
This is the lavender version of a crazy hairdo. Give it a good trim to encourage filling out sideways. It helps the plants to get through the cold of winter. You like bundling up in the cold, don’t you? Well, so do lavenders.
You don’t need much to grow your own lavender indoors. Aside from getting them to the point of being established, lavenders don’t need much care. All you have to remember about lavender is less water, more sunlight, and moderate pruning.
Lavender takes anywhere between 90 to 200 days for lavender to grow from a seed to a blooming plant (15). It depends on the variety and the conditions you set for it. Light becomes the most important factor when growing these fragrant plants indoors. Giving them more light lets them grow faster.
No. Lavender is not safe for pets. It’s toxic to dogs and cats, so keep your lavender out of reach from these pets. It can cause vomiting and loss of appetite for dogs and cats. But other pets like rabbits don’t bother with lavender (16).
Lavender plants can last at least five years, depending on the variety. Bigger lavender that grows more than four feet tall can survive and continue to bloom for 15 years (17). It’s a commitment, either way. Make sure you stay in the same growing climate if you get a lavender plant!
- Lavender. Retrieved from: https://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/lavendula
- North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Box. Retrieved from: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/
- Can You Propagate Lavender Cuttings in Water? Retrieved from: https://backyardcedars.com/can-you-propagate-lavender-cuttings-in-water/
- Best Soil for Lavender. Retrieved from: https://yourindoorherbs.com/soil/lavender/
- Potting Soil for Lavender. Retrieved from: https://herbswithin.com/potting-soil-for-lavender/
- Choosing the Right Pot For Lavenders (With Examples). Retrieved from: https://www.gardenerreport.com/choosing-the-right-pot-for-lavenders/
- Lavender Propagation (Part 3): Care and Transplanting. Retrieved from: https://www.lavenderconnection.com/for-the-love-of-lavender/lavender-propagation-cloning-part-3-care-transplanting
- How Often Should You Water Lavender Plants? Retrieved from: https://www.gardenerreport.com/how-often-to-water-lavender/
- Can I Grow Lavender Indoors With LED Lights? Retrieved from: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-grow-lavender-indoors-led-lights-100017.html
- Pruning Lavender for Beautiful Plants. Retrieved from: https://www.gardenia.net/guide/pruning-your-lavender-plants
- What is the Best Lavender Essential Oil? Retrieved from: https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-wellness-best-lavender-essential-oil-20210525-mw7z3yw7grhjrliyr6vvywfuwm-story.html
- How to Cook Lavender So Your Food Doesn’t Taste Like Soap. Retrieved from: https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/cooking-with-lavender
- Lavender Companion Planting: 5 Plants to Grow With Lavender. Retrieved from: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/lavender-companion-planting-guide#what-is-companion-planting
- Problems with Lavender. Retrieved from: https://everything-lavender.com/problems-with-lavender-plant.html
- How Long Until Lavender is Mature? Retrieved from: https://www.gardenguides.com/long-until-lavender-mature-11066.html
- Lavender. Retrieved from: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/lavender
- How Long Do Lavenders Live ( 5 Hacks To Increase Longevity)? Retrieved from: https://www.gardenerreport.com/how-long-do-lavenders-live/
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.