Here’s a question from a former student:
“Hey Christy, I took your Organic Gardening Class at SMC a few months
back and I am well on my way to creating my first Organic Garden! I was
wondering if you had any information on starting plants from cuttings.
We have a giant English Lavender plant next door and I’m not sure how
to start a plant by cutting. Thanks Christy! Gurie”
Howdy Gurie! It’s great to hear that you’re garden is coming along. I remember my first garden. It was so successful, partially because I think I was completely obsessed and coddled every plant (i.e. covering the beds in plastic tarps for a cozy greenhouse effect). I wish you good luck on your spring garden.
Now, about that lavender… I’ll admit I’m a little bit shy about propagating, probably because I killed the only batch of lavender that I ever tried to propagate from cuttings about 7 years ago. That said, I found a great article online that has photos to go with its step-by-step instructions for growing lavender from cuttings. This author even did some experimenting to see what worked better as a rooting hormone – honey or the official stuff. Check it out here:
In general, when propagating, you make cuttings that are about 5 inches long, pull off the leaves except for the top portion and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Then you bury the bottom third of the plant in a nice loamy potting medium, like coir and compost with a little perlite if you want. Most cuttings do well if you cover them with a plastic bag that allows for some airflow.
I’ve seen many cuttings propagated by cutting the leaves in half across the widest part of the leaf as well – this forces the plant to focus on root production. I’ve used this technique when transplanting perennials too, it helps get them established faster.
The main reason why my cutting died is because I neglected to water them. That would be a big fat gardening 101 mistake that I’m sure I wouldn’t have made if they had been in a place where I could see them. So I would advise you to keep them within eyesight as you wait for roots to develop.
Hey fellow gardenerds! Do you have any helpful suggestions for our friend Gurie? Post them here.