Lavender Seed Germination
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Jayme Duris
Posted on: March 15, 2000

My success rate for lavender seed germination is very low in our greenhouse. It and begonia seeds seem to be the only seeds that we are not happy with the germination rate.

I read your wonderful Free Lecture Series on the net. Thank you for such good info. I am wondering if lavender needs to have "scratching or scarification" done to the seed before planting. Do you know? Also is lavender one of the seeds that needs a "cold cycle" before germination? Can you help me figure this out? I have searched other net sites and not found any info on it yet.

English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) seeds have a hard seed coat. We find that a slight abrasion of the seeds to expose a bit of the underlying tissue with sand paper, or a quick freezing of the seeded and watered seedflat (for 3-4 days), helps speed germination and increase the final percentage of seeds that germinate. Even to give the seed flat several quick freezing and thawing cycles can improve germination.

Commercial lavender seeds vary widely in their germination characteristics. It may be that some commercial seeds are harvested and cleaned mechanically in a way that causes some degration of the seed coat. This may one reason why some lots germinate much better than others that may have been more gently harvested and processed.

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