Want to plant lavender but worried that it might turn invasive? Select a sterile lavender variety with seeds that won’t sprout. That way, blooming can continue unfettered without running the risk of turning invasive!
Sterile lavender – selected Lavandin varieties
- Lavender is technically reported as an invasive plant in some parts of the world.
- In those areas, it’s illegal to plant fertile lavender species and nurture them.
Lavender types that won’t bear seed
Many varieties coexist in fields and in the wild. Cross-pollination is common between the different species. Most hybrids, however, rarely (if ever) go to seed. As a general rule, lavender will only exceptionally spread to places where it wasn’t planted.
However, to make sure you’re not putting your local ecosystem at risk, it’s best to select sterile lavender varieties and species.
Lavandin or Lavandula x Intermedia
Being the most-planted cultivars in the world, the various Lavandin strains all have one point in common: they’re sterile. These hybrids of Lavandula latifolia (Portuguese lavender) and Lavandula officinalis (also named L. angustifolia, the common lavender) won’t ever bear seeds.
- The flowers themselves form perfectly well, but seeds abort without forming completely.
- In rare cases where a seed does appear, it’s sterile: it won’t sprout.
The many types of lavandin are all equally sterile. Here are just a few of the names to look for: Lavandula x intermedia ‘Alba’, ‘Hidcote giant’, ‘Sussex’, ‘Olympia’…
How to propagate seedless lavender?
For these seedless lavenders, propagation can only succeed through cuttings. There are various ways to propagate lavender, so check which is best suited to your case.
Lavenders that aren’t sterile
Most of the wild lavenders will go to seed successfully. That’s why you should only plant these in their native range.
Note: even though pure species lavender seeds sprout reasonably well, they only rarely turn invasive. This is due to their slow growth and difficult germination.
Lavender species with fertile seeds
- French lavender is among the most prolific lavenders to reproduce in the wild.
- Another one, spike lavender, occurs quite readily in dry, rocky terrain.
- English lavender is also rather easy to germinate.
- Lavender readily cross-pollinates, so many hybrids appear.
Germination rates for lavender are very low: just about half will sprout. It’s a long process, since sowing lavender from seed can take from 2 weeks to 3 months just for the sprouting.
Aren’t relatives of lavender invasive?
It’s true that other members of the Lamiaceae family are known to be relentless invaders. Consider the sprawling root system of mint and the plentiful seed-bearing of dead-nettle.
However, these species are genetically far removed from lavender. Uncontrollable spreading is rarely a problem with plants of the Lavandula family.
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