Lavender Choice and Timing of Seeding
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: James G. Gibbons
Posted on: May 28, 2001

Information about Lavender usually bear warnings related to hardiness > but your site suggests starting from seeds in late summer and > transplanting as well as direct planting.

I realize there are any number of "if, and, or but" but am interested > in your opinion specific to a location at the 5a/5b boundary.

The location is on the south flank of the Oak Ridges Moraine in Hope > Township, sandy-silty soil with modest protection from N, NW & W wind > direction.

Would it be more productive to leave my "project" until next spring? If late summer is viable, which method is suggested? Is over wintering in flats a "Good Canadian Compromise"?

The site you have for the plants seems ideal and you should be able to grow all the zone 5 lavenders. Just make sure they get plenty of sun.

If you are going to plant in a flat and leave the flat outside for the winter make sure you sink it into the ground, otherwise only zone 3 plants will survive in a normal winter! The roots of container grown (or balcony grown) plants get temperatures as low as in-ground plants two zones further north than would be expected for local in-ground plants.

The reason we suggest late summer planting is because many strains of English lavender need 3 months of wet, warm conditions, followed by three months of wet, cold (just above freezing or lower) conditions to germinate well or at all. Some seeds will germinate out of synchronization with the rest of the batch and by starting them in late summer they should be large enough by winter to go into dormancy and survive the winter with a bit of mulch as protection.

Avoid transplanting late in the season of anything other than pot grown plants, as the latter will not experience much root disturbance at a time when the plant is preparing for dormancy and cannot do much root regeneration.

Make sure to read other questions on the subject of lavender seed germination we have posted on our website at Please go to the "Q&A"section and search for "lavender". Past articles on this subject will come up. "Resources for Growers" will also give you helpful hints about lavender culture.

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