Who doesn’t love the smell of lavender? Lavender plants are, thankfully, pretty easy to grow indoors. Many think of these perennials as outdoor ‘cottage garden’ plants or growing wild in fields.
But, as indoor plants, they often have a longer flowering season, as they get plenty of attention!
If you’re keen to learn how to grow lavender indoors, keep reading – I have the full lowdown for you below.
Where should I place my indoor lavender plant? (and how much sun does it need)
Native to Europe and especially Mediterranean zones, lavender needs light! It will flop and wilt in low light rooms, which means you’ll need to find a spot in full view of the sun.
Sunny windowsills, for example, are perfect. If you have space, kitchen window boxes on the inside sill are ideal for growing lavender in – especially terracotta pots, too, which usually drain well and don’t overheat as plastic containers do.
I recommend placing plastic pots in a pot container – these will collect excess water in place of a saucer but do remember to check the container isn’t holding too much water – this causes root rot, a major concern for lavender.
Be they on a windowsill, table, shelf or the floor, lavender plants will need turning regularly if you want them to grow evenly. They will need a minimum average of three to four hours of sunlight per day in spring and summer.
If you don’t have a windowsill or spot that’s sunny enough, try topping up with a grow light. These are supplemental lamps you can easily pop alongside your indoor lavender to ensure they get enough simulated light per day.
Be sure to remove your grow light if your lavender leaves start burning at the tips.
A word of warning – lavender plants can be toxic to cats and dogs who may try tasting them! Usually, a stomach upset is the worst that happens – but even so, it’s not worth risking. If you have a curious pet, you may choose a spot they can’t reach.
What’s the ideal temperature for lavender plants?
Think warm Mediterranean climates with cooler winters – that’s what lavender loves! Lavender can tolerate seasonal changes, and you may even ‘overwinter’ your lavender outside in a sheltered spot.
From late spring through summer to early fall, ideal indoor night temperatures for lavender are between 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, up to approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
From fall over winter to late spring, lavender will need approximately 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night and approximately 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
More mature lavender can usually tolerate greater temperature extremes, but place your plants with caution (re the above).
What ventilation does lavender need?
All indoor lavender plants need lots of space and ventilation. Wafting their fragrance throughout the home is a fantastic reason to grow them indoors!
However, this will have an adverse effect if we place these plants by heaters or expose them to cold drafts. Lavender needs to breathe but not burn or completely dry out.
As a tip, consider planting your lavender on a wheeled container! Floor standing containers are sold with small wheels or castors. You can then wheel your lavender throughout the home if it gets in a draft.
What medium should I grow my lavender in?
Lavender grows best in well-draining growing mediums – and ensure the soil or compost you use isn’t too thickly compacted. Adding stones to the bottom of containers can help with drainage – and adding limestone to regular potting soil, too, can be advantageous if you want to grow strong, fragrant blooms!
To give your plants a further boost of nutrients, simply save and wash eggshells. Allow them to dry then bash them into smaller pieces. Simply lay them on their pot’s surface or gently mix them into the uppermost layer of soil and water in. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
Ideally, you should grow lavender soil at a pH within the ranges of 6.7 and 7.3. It’s worth investing in a litmus strip kit, which you can use to pop into the medium to check for acidity or alkalinity. Or, you could invest in a soil pH tester that you can leave in the medium permanently.
The perfect pots for lavender will, of course, have holes in the bottom to improve drainage, and you should also ensure there’s between two to four inches in diameter around the root ball of your plant.
Repotting your lavender should only need to take place each spring – as it’ll start to outgrow its housing.
Watering indoor Lavender plants – the basics
Ideally planted in easily draining containers, indoor Lavender plants can get just as thirsty as those kept outdoors. That’s likely as a result of being in the full sun for so long!
Allow your growing medium to become quite dry between watering these plants, but do not allow them to completely dry out. Don’t water foliage, either – water the pot’s surface – and do so nice and gently.
Over-watering causes roots to rot, which can kill the plant quickly – or attract diseases and fungi which can kill the plant slowly.
A swift treatment of root rot or fungus may save the plant – but prevention is better than cure! If you happen to see leaves becoming discolored, or both leaves and flowering stems wilting, check the soil for overwatering and roots for rot.
Lavender is impressively drought-resistant, meaning in the colder months, you may only need to give it a drink every month. Less is more when it comes to lavender watering success!
Check the top inch of your growing medium – is it totally dry? It’s time for a drink – especially if you’re noticing yellow leaves, too.
How can I save overwatered lavender?
By acting swiftly, you can save your lavender from a sodden growing medium and replant in fresh soil or compost. This may seem drastic, but could save its life!
Remove the roots slowly and gently from sodden soil or compost. Then, carefully check the color of roots and remove any rotten ones. Cut back any diseased or rotten portions.
Dispose of the rotten material, and sodden growing medium – as this may be contaminated (you may need to sterilize the container, too, before you use it again).
Then, be sure to check the overall health of the plant. Examine the area where undergrowth becomes surface growth, and remove broken or seriously damaged areas. Water it sparingly, and place the plant in a well-lit or sunny spot, turning the pot every few days.
Your lavender plant foliage may drop off – but don’t give up on it. These plants can bounce back if problems are caught in time!
How should I fertilize indoor lavender?
It’s a good idea to give your indoor lavender a monthly boost of fertilizer. General liquid fertilizers are easy to deliver and will absorb pretty quickly. Begin a routine of adding slow-release fertilizer once a month to their regular care routine, from spring, and throughout summer.
This means prior to the flowering season, you can ensure the plant is getting enough nutrients to sustain a healthy formation of buds and flowers.
This way, you’re helping to maximize the flowering potential and longevity of your lavender, too! Fertilizer will also help your lavender to develop and produce more seeds – so you can propagate it and grow even more indoor wonders!
Some indoor gardeners even suggest only fertilizing lavender once per year! Ultimately, it’s worth keeping a close eye on your plants and to simply adjust your feeding schedule depending on its growth and health.
Should I prune indoor lavender plants?
Both indoor and outdoor lavender plants benefit from pruning. Pruning encourages plants to become bushier and stronger!
Cut any branches which have flowered and from which you don’t need seeds. You may decide to cut some flowers to place in a vase, too.
Lavender flowers form at the top of branch-like stems – cutting these branches back before flowers have bloomed, or seeds have fully formed, may mean you harvest fewer seeds than hoped.
Mature plants can become as barren as younger plants if they are over-pruned and seeds not allowed to develop. So, if you aim to harvest seeds, it’s best to leave them to mature on the plant.
Collecting seeds from lavender plants
If you want to start growing lavender indoors, it’s a good idea to look at your own garden to get started! You can, of course, buy lavender seeds in bulk from garden centers and online specialists – but why not try bringing in a few blooms of your own?
First of all, allow seeds to dry on the stems of any lavender plant you may find. Seeds form in pods along the tips of flowering stems. Pods will turn a dull gray or brown and feel dry to the touch.
Lavender seeds are tiny, about the size of a grain of granulated sugar! So, place a length of toilet tissue or roll on the surface of a container and shake the top of the seed pod-bearing branch – the seeds should fall out from dried pods.
You may need to tap them or even nip off more of the husk or pod to make holes larger for seeds to escape. Once no more seeds are falling onto the tissue, simply lift the tissue and its contents into your storage container and then cut off the spent stems.
Then, lay some tissue as above to catch spare seeds. Have your plastic container ready to contain any seeds that pop out. Use your fingers to gently to slide the pods up and off the stem.
As they move and detach, the angle of the individual pods may change, and some seeds will spill out – and some uncaptured seeds may self-set!
Finally, cut the stems with the seed pods attached and pop them directly into a container. This is a quick way to neatly remove the stems and allow you more time to collect seeds directly into the container.
You may find simply tapping the pods will release seeds. If some seeds remain inside, they may not have matured or may have become damp.
Growing your lavender plants from seeds
Now’s the fun part – growing your own indoor lavender from scratch! It’s easiest to grow these plants in seed trays and then plant seedlings in individual containers to develop.
But first, let’s talk about stratifying. This means you’ll need to chill your seeds before sowing – this is beneficial to the plants, replicating a seasonal chill or period of pause before germination.
Lavender seeds usually take around 14 days to germinate. To start, set a layer of good quality compost in a seed tray and set seeds in rows, around one to two inches apart. A useful tip is to dampen the compost before you sow the seeds – as they will be easier to see.
As they need light to germinate, do not need to cover them until tiny shoots appear. Once three or four leaves have sprouted, sprinkle more compost lightly over them and then lightly water.
Place the tray in a sunny position but do not let the seedlings dry out – they will not recover. Beware of overwatering them, too, as this may cause them to rot! This is the trickiest phase of cultivating lavender – but it’s absolutely worth the time and effort.
Young lavender plants need several hours of light and ideally copious sunlight to thrive. If space is limited, you can put younger, shorter plants in between older, more mature ones.
Their shallow roots will not compete with deeper, more mature roots for water, nor take light away from taller relatives above the surface.
Tiering lavender plants in this way also works great as a visual display – and can even save space for extra containers!
Growing your lavender hydroponically
You can grow an indoor lavender plant hydroponically, too – meaning you’ll only need to use water! This is an easy method to experiment with – but, it’s worth investing in a specific hydroponic growth kit if you really want to breed the best results from your indoor plants.
Only one growing vessel is required with no drip tray or container to capture excess water – and there’s no need to buy compost, either. Fertilizer is easy to distribute evenly as it disperses in the water, and it is also easy to see roots when extra water is needed.
Finally, hydroponic lavender won’t compete for nutrients or water. A word of warning – it is important to be mindful of the water temperature in sunny spots, as water can heat up quickly.
It may be necessary to protect the walls of a container, too, if it is likely to heat up excessively, which could damage roots.
Lavender plant – indoor benefits
Does lavender make a good houseplant? Absolutely – and what’s more, you can use it as much more than just a pretty potted wonder to watch from afar.
When growing lavender indoors, it’s easily accessible to work with – and has a wide variety of uses and benefits, too. As a recipe ingredient, lavender is a great garnish, and adds a super flavor to desserts and drinks!
Popular for its oil, lavender is also used in aromatherapy, for potpourri, and looks great in floral displays. In bedrooms, it is said to aid sleep, too!
With antifungal and antibacterial properties, it is commonly used in medicinal creams and lotions, as well perfumes.
The Romans are known to have used lavender in their bathwater – and in fact, the word ‘lavender’ comes from the Latin word ‘lavare’, which means ‘to wash’.
Growing your own Lavender plants indoors means you could snip off some shoots and relax the same way as they did centuries ago!
Which type of lavender is best to grow indoors?
Lavender comes in many different varieties – and thankfully, most are generally easy to grow and propagate inside the home.
For example, English lavender is the most aromatic. It is frequently used in essential oils and in recipes.
Popular varieties of this lavender include the Lavandula Hidcote, Lavandula Munstead and Lavandula Angustifolia.
All three are ideally suited to cooler temperatures, but as always, be generous with the sunlight!
It’s also worth considering Canary Island lavender, Lavandula Canariensis. This is a tall variety that’s ideal for growing in a floor-standing container.
Perfect by a Patio door or French windows, its four-foot tall stems will waft around as a breeze from the door prompts the release of fragrance from the flowers.
Another variety you may wish to try growing is fernleaf lavender, which typically has shorter stems loaded with flowers!
For softer scents and long growing periods, consider growing French and Spanish lavender indoors, too.
Creative tips and ideas for showing off your lavender house plant skills
For decorative purposes, lavender grown indoors can thrive in some seriously unusual containers. In Mediterranean areas, for example, lavender is traditionally grown in terracotta pots – but why not try china?
Specifically, growing lavender in a china teacup might be a delicate and entertaining touch!
Teacups are great for cultivating smaller lavender plants hydroponically. They conceal the water, can be topped up easily, and water can be refreshed and poured out via the spout!
They look great in a kitchen or dining room.
For a posh afternoon tea, why not put some lavender flowers on top of a cake on the same table? To serve lavender in a cocktail, why not cut it fresh from a vase on your home bar?
To grow in a dining room with a wooden table, you could use a wooden salad bowl to color-match the wood. Simply make a hole in the bottom, line with plastic and put a hole in that too, then fill with compost and plant as usual.
To grow cuttings from the mother plant in a salad bowl, you could even use individual wooden serving bowls for the smaller plants, adapted in the same way.
If you have a spare plastic watering can, you could use that for hydroponic growing, too. Watering cans come in a broad range of colors, so you could match one with your decor in a bathroom.
This might be ideal to snip off some lavender into for a soothing bathing experience – and to help make your guests feel extra pampered!
Is it easy to grow lavender indoors?
Can you grow lavender indoors? Absolutely! Growing lavender indoors is amazingly easy – these are plants that, providing you give them lots of sunlight, really won’t need much fuss. Therefore, simply follow my advice above and see how you get on!