For Lavender Fans

UPDATE 2018Hydro lavender from seeds !

Just like rosemary, the consensus is to “love it less”!

Do not over-water.

There are gardeners who grew Lavender very well in Singapore. They shared tips on how to germinate and customized soil mixes so that this plant can thrive here.

Henry Lim's Lavandula angustifolia variety, from seeds

Henry Lim’s Lavandula angustifolia variety, from seeds

Henry Lim’s lavender journey :

Began in September 2015 with a Paris Garden kit.

His lavender seeds did not germinate for a long time and Henry initially gave up on the project and re-purposed the soil for other plants.

Henry said germination can take up to 2 months and he was lucky to spot lavender shoots growing in the pots with the other plants and quickly transplant them.

Germinate lavender seeds

Henry Lim transplant lavender seedling in customized medium

Henry Lim ‘s customized lavender soil recipe :

His formula consisted of 1:1 pebbles and compost, mixed in with crushed egg shells (boiled, dried and egg membrane removed). He did not used the medium that came with Paris Garden kit. He said lavender soil need to be well drained, a customized mix of aqua-clay, compost and crushed boil egg shells work for his plants.

How to grow lavender plants indoors

Henry Lim’s young lavender seedling in his customised medium. Pot placed in area with free flowing air.

HOPEFUL FOR SEEDS IN THE FLOWERS!

Erin Lee’s Lavender Journey :

Germinating lavender seeds need patience, they may take up to 2 months to see tiny sprouts and then seedlings grew very slowly as well.

lavender plants in Singapore

September 17 2015 – 2 weeks old lavender (sowed in July 2015)

Germinate lavender seeds

November 2015 – 2 months old lavender seedlings

Erin watered her lavender every 2 days and only when top soil felt dry. They love the sun.

Germinate lavender seeds

Jan 29 2016 – Sowed seeds in July 2015, took almost 2 months to germinate

Germinate lavender seeds

Feb 21 2016 – Erin’s “heart” work paid off ! 🙂

 

Shirley Ooi’s lavender journey:

Germinate lavender seeds

Aug 11 2015 – Shirley grew hers in shade and water with 2 large ice cubes at night

 

Lee Michael’s lavender varieties (January 2017) –

Grow English Lavender from cutting

English Lavender

Grow French Lavender from cutting

FRENCH

Michael had successfully rooted and grew various types of lavenders from cutting. He used cactus soil mix and advised NOT to add fertilizers for these plants. To encourage a bushier lavender plant, he cut off the top of lavender after the cutting had established itself.

Grow Goodwin Lavender from cutting

GOODWIN

Grow White Lavender from cutting

WHITE

KELVIN HO

It was Kelvin Ho‘s dream to start a lavender garden along his corridor in 2015. He read all he could and visited actual lavender fields.

After learning all he could, he decided to put learning to action. In 2016, at his first attempt at germinating lavender seeds was a huge success. His first trial yield 75 seedlings total!

LAVENDERS VARIETIES REFERENCE

 

The first seed sprout was spotted in 2 weeks, on May 16 2016, and subsequently more seeds also germinated. 🙂  A lavender fan, his hard work and research paid off. He continued to advise beginners and share his experiences today.

 

Lavender plants from seeds

May 15 2016 –  germinated 75 seeds

Lavender plants from seeds

Kelvin’s lavender seedlings!

He experimented with various soil mix to find the best one to germinate lavender seeds better. This is his recipe –

Lavender plants from seeds

Kelvin’s customized soil mix – Cactus potting soil, perlite, Florabella soil, seed compost (all mixed together).

Lavender Plant

June 16 2016 – Lavender seedlings (one month old)

Kelvin Ho is no longer a novice where lavender plants are concerned! 🙂 Slowly his lavender corridor garden dream is a reality in 2017. This is his update –

Lavender plants from cutting

Blue boxes are actually cooling units with ice packs inside to keep roots cooler

Lavender Plants from cutting

Rooting more cutting in cups and mature plants are flourishing!

Grow lavender plants from cutting

Roots spotted on a cutting!!

Grow lavender plants from cuttings

Lavender Flowers , a most beautiful sight for lavender fans!

Other Observation  – Perlite with peat moss did not work well for lavender seeds. None of his seeds have germinated in this mix so far (May22 2016, Kelvin Ho) . In addition, Florabella soil is not suitable for lavender.

 

Cher Keng Heng‘s Lavender Germination method yield results in 2 weeks instead of 2 months! The lab where Cher Keng Heng grew his plants are 22 degree Celsius, 24/7, very ideal cool temperate environment ! 🙂

Sowed lavender in seed compost and covered it for maximum humidity which aids germination

Sowed lavender in seed compost and covered it for maximum humidity which aids germination

Grow Lavender

April 12 2016 – Germination in 2 weeks instead of 2 months!

Lavender from seeds

May 3 2016 – Lavender updates

lavender seeds

May 3 2016 –  To speed up growth, lavender seedlings are placed very near to LED lights for 24 hours. Any options can also be considered as long as plants received light and not heat.

May 14 2016 - Lavender from seed

May 14 2016 – Lavender from seed

May 10 2016 – As Cher Keng Heng grew (and experiment) most of his temperate plants in ideally cool controlled environment, I was completely shocked  when he shared pictures of  his lavender plant from a local nursery

Lavender Plant care in the tropics

May 10 – Newly bought lavender in distress!

More than a few gardeners had shared the same tale. Lavender plants will wane and start dying one week after purchase. On closer examination, the source of the problem seem to be root rot.

Lavender Care in the tropics

Suspected the soil (some rot in the soil) as the cause of the problem once fly is seen hovering around the plant!

Initially we thought that changing the soil immediately may prevent this from happening but if the rot had already set in, it may not helped the plant much.

The best solution seem to be starting afresh with propagating clean (not brown or black part) stems for rooting. For nursery plants, do prepare cutting ahead instead of waiting till problems appeared.

Lavender Care in the tropics

May 11 2016 – Clean stem cutting work better (right)  vs. the brown stems.

Lavender Care in the tropics

May 11 2016 – Sit the stem in water, mist the leaves and cover (to prevent water loss)

Lavender Care in the tropics

May 11 2016 – Seems ok, stem did not turned brown.

Lavender cutting

Day 4 – The water is not murky, stem is not brown, no sign of root rot. Remained same on May 19 2016! Keeping fingers crossed…

Grow lavender from cutting

May 22 2016 – Rooted!!!!

 

Helen Tan advised to change water every 3 days or when water is murky to prevent root rot during propagation. Best individually rooted in its own reservoir.

Day 4 - This is not good. Water is murky, stems are brown. Lesson learned - Best individually rooted.

Day 4 – Brown stems are not good

It is important to know where to cut stems for rooting. Short stems may not work as well.

lavender cutting care

May 19 2016 – Soft tips may mean rot has set in

Second method (rooting in soil) – Rooting hormone is used on roots tip

Lavender Care in the tropics

May 11 -Choose green stem for rooting

A green house kept soil moist as it traps evaporation.

Lavender Care in the tropics

May 11 2016 – Green house

Upright firm stem and non droopy leaves were good signs.

Lavender care in the tropics

Successful rooting

 

Sthh (Trevor)  Sthh‘s is another lavender expert. I chanced on his lavender cutting success on May 17 2016 from Urban Farmers (Singapore) group and very kindly, he agreed to share his tips again :

lavender plants

Sthh Sthh’s 3 weeks old lavender cutting

Sthh Sthh’s method

  1. Cut 3 to 4 inches of green soft stems, just below leaf nodes
  2. Remove lower 1 inch of leaves
  3. Plant in well drained sterile soil (no compost or organic stuff)
  4. Water deeply once, check how he does it in the rosemary post!

    lavender plants care

    This is how dry Sthh Sthh’s soil gets before he water it deeply!

  5. Place under morning sun
  6. Observe for one week
  7. Soil base is same for rosemary and thyme ( or use Cactus soil)

Sthh Sthh think that his variety is Goodwin Creek Grey, (Lavandula dentata x L. lanata) and this variety is more hardy as they are able to withstand a bit more humidity and heat. Characteristics are silvery-grey, toothed-edged leaves, and long flowering stalks.

REGINA FOK, passionate lavender gardener based in USA

Once the stems have roots and for future lavender plant care, Regina Fok suggested the following guidelines for lavender plants in the tropics.

Lavender Treatment

Recovered Lavender Plant!!!

Tips on Lavender Plants Care in the Tropics – ( advice from REGINA FOK, USA)

  1. Water once every 3 to 4 days, only when top soil felt really dry or when the whole pot felt really light weight. This is how to tell when its time to water lavender plant.
  2. Use a syringe, filled with maximum 30 ml of water for lavender plant. Around the sides of the pot, dispense 5ml dose in 6 parts.
  3. Exposed to morning sun only (Update 2018 – FULL SUN is okay)
  4. Air-conditioned nights if possible
  5. DO not use ice
  6. Do not let lavender pot sit near where it can be rained on
  7. Cactus soil mixed with perlite and some compost can be considered as an ideal medium
  8. Base of Plant should not be wet
    How to care for lavender plant

    Regina Fok used cactus soil and perlite

    Where Regina lived in the States, her summer time can be as warm as 38 degree celsius, with high humidity. At night, the temperature will slipped to 25 degree celsius (our normal air- conditioning environment).

    How to care for lavender plants

    Thank you , Regina!!!

Disclaimer – While the solutions above suggested by Regina Fok, work for most lavenders suffering from heat shock or transplant, it may not be a solution that cured all ills for lavenders in Singapore. After all, there are many reasons why lavenders failed in Singapore. An example is fungus from our high humidity which also adversely affect its well beingThere is no cure for this, gardeners can only try to prevent this from occurring.

For a comparative study of how lavender seeds germinated in a cooler climate versus Singapore based data, Regina Fok has once again volunteered her time and data with us.

Lavender plants from seeds

March 23 2016 – 2 weeks to see first sprout! Grown indoors as outdoor is still winter, below 0 degree C (USA)

Lavender plants from seeds

April 8 2016 – lavender is 2 weeks old (USA), looks bigger than Singapore’s seedlings

Regina Fok (USA) decided to test how young lavender seedlings fared in the natural outdoor environment. She planted one pot outdoors and one pot indoors. Her temperature outdoor ranged from 29 degree Celsius daytime and 15C at night. From the observation here, it seem lavender grow better outdoors than protected from all elements indoors :

Lavender plant from seeds

June 2016 – Compare – Grown indoor (3 months old) USA

Lavender plants from seeds

June 2016 – Compare – Grown outdoor (3 months old) in USA

Regina Fok, based in USA, shared how lavender thrived in their natural environment. Hopefully, this knowledge from a hands on gardener, will helped us adapt our environment for these lovely plants.

How to take care of lavender plants in a tropical climate

Oct 30 2015 – Regina ‘s lavender garden in USA.

4 Tips to grow lavender well (Regina Fok) 

1. Lavender  hates high humidity but love the sun and heat.

2. Soil should be sandy, loamy  and well drained.  PH level needs to be neutral to alkaline.

3. If possible keep the plant within 20C to grow well. With a lower temperature, the plant can tolerate drought and the chill keeps the humidity out.

4. Its very important to keep the top soil dry to prevent root rot. Water only when top soil feel dry to touch.

Lavender plants retain its fragrance during winter

Jan 30 2016 – Regina’s lavender over-wintering outdoors still carried its fragrance, but the scent is stronger in the summer season 🙂

My 2 cents worth of advice, do consider rosemary soil and care for lavender as well. In addition, to line the pots’ base with rocks or pebbles to drain water out quickly.

Terence Low from Naked Greens and Sharon Eng  advised to add more sand to soil. This aid drainage.

Guanster Guan‘s tip on how to choose healthy lavender from nursery and customize ideal soil mixes.

As lavender germination and growth are very slow in our weather, many gardeners do give up after a few months. For lavender fans, its never a question if they are willing to wait and try numerous times until they learned how to grow lavender in Singapore.

Its a quest worth seeking, as lavender smells wonderful, and if we get to harvest fresh ones at doorstep, in spite of the many challenges, why not? 🙂

HYDRO Lavender (SG STRAWBERRIES’s Journal, 2018)

We sowed our seeds on December 30 2017 using strawberries’ germination method, and most of the seeds sprouted 7 days later.

How to germinate lavender seeds

2018 January 7

These seedlings looked very small and growth were slow, but to my surprise, roots were quite long.

Grow lavender from seeds in Singapore

2018 January 16 – 1 week old lavender

Grow lavender from seeds in Singapore

Lavender seedlings have very long roots

We planted half in soil and half using Kratky hydroponic method with our liquid nutrients.

Lavender seedlings grow faster in hydro than soil medium.

2018 Jan25 – Soil based

Grow Lavenders from seeds

2018 Jan25 -Hydro lavender

2 weeks later . . .

Grow lavenders from seeds

2018 Feb07 – Soil Based

Grow lavenders from seeds

2018 Feb07 – Hydro lavenders

Lavenders are sun loving and can be grown in liquid based medium.

Hydro lavenders from seeds

Lavender from seeds

Grow lavender from seeds in Singapore

Fuss Free Lavender from seeds

Although lavenders can be easily grown from cutting, the varieties available in our local garden nurseries are not broad. To enjoy the exotic and wider range, like white lavenders, it is only possible from seeds if cutting from a live plant proved difficult.

Grow lavenders from seeds

2018 June 01

Hydro lavenders from seeds

Happy in liquid!

Cautionary Notes about Lavenders –

  1. If nutrients is not right, this is what stressed lavender seedling looked like – cupped leaves
Hydro lavender from seeds

Closed up leaves

Lavender from seeds in Singapore

Recovering lavender

2. Rain – Browning of leaves start at the base of the plant when it was rained on.

Grow lavenders from seeds in Singapore

Browning starts at the base

It was an amazing discovery that lavenders are nor only easier in liquid base, but they do recover from browning stems and leaves to grow again. In soil, brown leaves or stems are often indicative of roots rot leading to full decline of the plant in Singapore.

Grow lavenders from seeds

New leaves are emerging

Hydro Lavenders from seeds

Leaves are less brown

Lavenders from seeds

2018 June 13

Grow lavenders from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 28 – (Plant A)

Updates on hydro lavenders – As they matured, their stems thickened and these plants now look like miniature scented trees! Netcups support these plants well, allowing the stems to mature and sealing access to stagnant water in the reservoir below.

Grow Lavender Plants from seeds in Singapore

2018 Dec 09 – (Plant A)

Grow lavenders from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 28 – Leaning Lavender

Grow Lavender Plants from seeds or cutting in Singapore

2018 Dec 09 – Leaning Tower, 2 “arms” raise

Lavenders Plants from seeds or cutting in Singapore

2018 Dec 09 – Sun Lovers

Uses for Lavender

COOKING WITH LAVENDERS

Lavenders are mostly grown in bedrooms for their scent. However this is not the only way we use them. Example is adding lavender leaves to sugar and used this infused sugar for desserts and tea.

 

Gift ideas from plants we grew

For lavender scented tea!

We also used our own herbs for beauty products such as soothing facial masks, potpourri etc

Girls’ Sleepovers are never boring in our home!

Lavender nutrients, seeds and net cups in SHOP !

Grow hydro lavender from seeds in Singapore

Lavender n Mini Netcup

Grow lavenders from seeds in Singapore

Branching out

Netcups turned almost every spare bottle or jars into instant self watering pots. Rest easier during time away from our gardens.

Hydro Lavenders from seeds in Singapore

Lavenders nutrients

Lavenders from seeds

Lavender in wine bottle

Access to stagnant water is sealed. Thus there is zero risk of mosquitoes breeding with this method.

Grow lavenders from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Mosquitoes Safe Planting

Our lavenders plants are grown in recycled jars and plastic bottles, alongside with strawberries. Although these plants are frost tolerant, they love the sun too. Our cool seasoned plants, proudly grown in Singapore.

Grow lavenders from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Lavenders in recycled bottles

We love all our lavenders and can’t wait to start more unusual varieties from seeds!

Lavender Plants Care Tips in Singapore

Scented Mini Tree !

 

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15 thoughts on “For Lavender Fans

  1. I purchased the lavender kit from paris gardens and was able to germinate some of the seeds. Unfortunately, all did not survive and I can’t fig out why. I suspected it is due to the raining season back then.
    Can lavender be left outdoor that will be exposed to rain? Or by having a well drained soil be good enough for them to survive during raining season?

  2. Hello, I’m from JB. I bought a pot of lavender last year. It died after a month or so but I managed to save some cuttings and they have all successfully rooted. They seem to be growing ok but not shooting any side shoots. Just one long stem. Rooted since September 2016 and growing pretty slow. The same goes to my rosemary – growing very slowly but short with side shoot. I thought of cutting a bit of top stem of lavender to see if it will grow bushier. Any advise?

    • Hi Julie,

      The main cause of death for dry loving plants like rosemary, lavender or even thyme is due to wrong medium used. They like dry medium, thus do check out the formula recommended by our gardeners. On cutting, I consulted Michael Lee (or Lee Michael as he is known in Facebook), who had succeeded in both rosemary and lavender. He advised to cut the top of lavender and the bigger leaves near bottom of rosemary, to encourage a bushier plant. He also reminded NOT to add fertilizer as they both burnt quite easily. Hope this helped.

  3. Hello, I’m just super excited to share my progress with planting lavender. I planted my lavender seeds on 24 Jan 2017 with Baba Vegimix and Leca, sprinkled with perlite and left the pot on my balcony. After reading this blog post for the 100th time, I was well-informed that it will take about 2 months or at least 2 weeks in an air-conditioned room. Yet, my joyful surprise came on 30 Jan, 6 days after I sowed my seeds. My first lavender seedling appeared! I was so surprised that I began to doubt if that is lavender seedling, because I also planted thyme seeds. But after comparison with the photos here and with my thyme seedlings, I concluded that it is indeed a lavender seedling. On 1 Feb, the second seedling popped out too. One thing to note is that a similar pot with more perlite has yet to have any seedlings so I think Guanster Guan’s advice is really helpful! Thanks so much for making my lavender-growing journey so successful so far!

  4. hello, I am a first time gardener. I just bought myself a lavender plant from FEF, I’ve asked the guy how best to care for it but he said they are new in FEF and he isn’t too sure. So i bought a balcony hanging thing, my arrangement is like this:

    sweet basil, rosemary, lavender, sweet basil.

    after reading a few of your blog post, it seems like both rosemary and lavender both enjoy dry soil (and to only water it when the soil feels dry). my questions are for both rosemary and lavender:

    can i still keep it in it’s current pot with the current soil? i do not know how to repot a plant….

    should i move my lavender indoors at night? as i have to work during the day, i can’t possibly move it indoors during noon time when the sun is the hottest. if that’s the case, do i put it at the balcony but somewhat away from direct afternoon sun?

    • Hi Elaine,

      Both rosemary and lavender love the sun and can tolerate our heat.

      Lavender is more vulnerable than rosemary, tend to suffer more if rained on. Thus, they should be protected from it.

      If you are a beginner, it is best to buy cactus mix soil for both rosemary and lavender. This ready-mix contain more than 50% non-soil, more sands etc to allow full flush of water away from the roots. They suffer roots rot if remained in the common medium used by nurseries here, which is coco peat (shaving from coconut husks, which retain water).

      To repot, gently remove as much of the nursery’s soil from roots, and plant it in the new pot. The base of these pots is best rocks or pebbles as well to make sure water drain out fast. So its pebbles/rocks at base of pot, cactus mix soil which will feel very dry to touch, don’t feel like soil at all, then transplant the dry loving plants in it.

      Sweet basil love sun and water.Need to harvest often to keep it young.

      Do cutting (of green color stems) if any stems from rosemary or lavender turned brown and soft. This indicate roots rot problem.

      Hope this help.

  5. Hi SGstarberries,
    Thanks for your information on Lavender growing, My place is Pekanbaru, sharing the same climate as Singapore also.
    I myself also loved lavender and try to grow them since 2 years ago (Still trying, all dead btw). The germination process i think its very easy, usually I just put the seed in vermiculite, and that’s it, they all become seedling about 2 weeks to nearly 1 month.
    But, the hard part is growing them to mature plant, i think its because of the soil composition that doesn’t fit well to lavender (all of my lavender dies because root rot).
    From what I read from your blog is soil mixture from rice husk (Can we use burnt rice husk too?), also leca ball (can i substitute this for clay bricks, which is common material in my area), is this enough to grow lavender to mature plant? Also are there any organic soil that can be mix with the soil, or organic mix should not be mix in lavender pot soil?
    Btw, my lavender plants died because i used mixture of cocopeat, vermiculite, and burnt rice husk, maybe the cocopeat is causing them die.
    Thanks

    • In soil, lavender is very hard in our climate, as you can see from my lone picture of one lavender in dry mixture (well draining medium). Most of my soil based seedlings also die. However we have many other gardeners who done well with them in soil base. Organic soil can be mix with pumice, sands, even eggs shells etc as long as it allowed water to drain out quickly (can’t be rained on too). They don’t like wet, clay soil, and yes, roots rot (and humidity) is a common problem.

      2)The gardeners who grew lavenders very well here, enjoyed very hot sun in their gardens. Lavenders also seem to thrive in areas with wind.

      3) The soil PH is alkaline, they don’t like acidic soil. So if the mixture you use is acidic, they may be slow to grow.

      4) Cocopeat can absorb a lot of water, even though they look and feel dry, thus I think this is the cause of the root rot.

      Hopes it helped.

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