Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DIY: Propagating Lavender

Nothing makes me happier than getting something for nothing, or at least next to nothing. Maybe that's why I love gardening so much, there are just so many possibilities! This summer I wanted to expand my propagating skills to more than just fig trees and fruit trees from seed, so I decided to research how to propagate one of my favorite herb plants: lavender.
In my ideal little world I've got lavender plants on every windowsill, because there's nothing that screams France in the summer for me quite like the smell of lavender on the breeze. Achieving that dream without propagating the plants myself would prove a costly endeavor, so I crossed all my fingers and toes when I started this project about 8 weeks ago. I had all but given up on my hopes and dreams of obtaining lavender plants for free though, as not much was happening to the cuttings I had utilized. The only change of note was that for the last week or so there were a few tiny little flowers budding at the top of the cuttings, but nothing in terms of root growth. However, today to my surprise (and delight), I noticed a bunch of roots at the bottom of the jar I had placed the cuttings in. It seemed like it literally happened overnight! Of the five lavender cuttings in the jar, one has a good amount of roots, and two have the very beginnings of roots. I'm hoping that by this weekend I can get 1-3 of these rooted cuttings in soil, so that they can get established before we head into fall. [Cue crossing fingers and toes again!]
How to propagate lavender:
1. Find a lavender plant. I had bought one 2 years ago as it's one of the things that just hasn't worked for me from seed, so I took my cuttings from that. You could also very kindly ask a friend who owns a lavender plant if they wouldn't mind you giving their plant a teeny tiny haircut.  
2. With a pair of clean pruning shears or scissors, cut a few branches from near the base of the main trunk. You want the skinny branches, not the main trunk. (Cutting the main trunk may cause your friend to not be your friend anymore.) I took five branches to start with, you may want more or less, your call. I kind of wish I had taken ten instead of five, but I didn't want to go crazy on my first go.
3. Remove the leaves from the bottom third of the cutting.
4. Put it in a jar of water with the water line going as high as where the leaves were removed, but no higher. Some people I've talked to say to change the water every week, but I'm pregnant and lazy. I only changed the water once in eight weeks, and they've obviously rooted.
5. Place jar of water and cuttings in a sunny window. Refill with water as the water level goes down during the week.
Talk about a no fuss DIY, am I right?
A la prochaine friends...

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