Lavender is a perennial herb with fragrant flowers and leaves that are used for culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes. Its seeds can be harvested for propagation or to create essential oil, so it’s important to know how to properly prepare, store, and use them.
What do Lavender Seeds Look Like?
Lavender seeds are tiny, black and oval-shaped. It’s often difficult to spot them among the flowers, so it helps to wear gloves while harvesting. The optimal time to harvest the seeds is when the flower heads begin to dry out and turn brown.
How to Harvest Lavender Seeds?
The best way to harvest lavender seeds is to cut the flower heads off their stems and put them into a paper bag. Shake the bag gently so that the seeds fall out of the flowers and onto the bottom of the bag. Make sure to label the bags so you know which variety of lavender each seed is from!
Conditions for Lavender Seed Storage
Once you’ve harvested the lavender seeds, it’s important to store them in a cool, dark and dry place. The ideal temperature for seed storage is between 50-54 degrees Fahrenheit (10-12 degrees Celsius). Humidity should be kept as low as possible, so placing the seeds in an airtight container or jar is a good idea.
Shelf Life of Lavender Seeds
Lavender seeds will remain viable for about five years if stored in the proper conditions. By following these simple steps for harvesting, preparing, and storing lavender seeds, you can ensure that you will have a successful crop for years to come!
Treatment of Lavender Seeds Before Planting
Lavender seeds need stratification, or rather, cold stratification. Without cold treatment, they will not germinate, and exposure to low temperatures should last long enough. Depending on the method and timing of processing, there are two options for growing lavender from seeds:
- Artificial stratification, keeping in the cold before sowing.
- Natural stratification, sowing before winter to pass the cooling period already in the soil.
For artificial stratification, lavender seeds are mixed with sand or substrate, filled with the mixture in a container, wrapped in foil, or covered with a lid and cooled for 6-8 weeks at a temperature of about 41 degrees Fahrenheit.