The third method of multiplication is next in our lavender multiplication series, that we related to before in the article about propagation, namely when we cut pieces off from the original plant, but at a time when they already had roots.
The essence briefly: we cover the leafy stems of lavender with wet soil, and when the branches have taken root, we cut the rooted parts off after removing the soil cover. This method of multiplication is, just as cuttings, monogenetic (vegetative) multiplication, consequently the original plant reproduces and multiplies itself.
If we would like a large number of new plants: mound layering - or stool layeringThen we should choose the so-called soil packing, if we just want a few, then the simple layering.
If we are skilful, then from a 3-5 year old plant we can “manufacture’ as many as over 100 new plants. It’s true, that in this case we sacrifice the mother plant, or at least profoundly manhandle it.
Old, thick, woody stemmed lavenders are useless. The strong woody parts of the plant will not take root. So we should choose a well fit 3-5 year old lavender bush, and after the winter frost fades, we should shovel some nice wet soil on it to a height of about 12 inch (30 cm) and flatten the top of the mound, in this way most of the rainwater will trickle down inside it. We should pack the soil, as much as possible, in between the branches by shaking them so there won’t be caverns forming in the “mound”. In case the spring is very dry we can even water the mound. The soil packed lavender will blossom just as usual. We can easily pick off its blossoms.
The next task will be waiting for us in October, a few weeks after the Indian summer in the middle and end of October, we should take apart the mound and hopefully we can already cut nice branches, which have taken root, off the plant in a way so the branches are damaged as little as possible in the process.
We should absolutely not wait for freezing weather, because the little layers will have to nicely grow roots in the next few weeks, so they can successfully survive the winter.
The other possibility is the one, which is applied in Russian industrial scale production, in the case of which they don’t mess around much, in late autumn they behead the 3-4 year old lavender stock at the height of 4 inch (10 cm), and they cover the remaining woody stump with soil.
In the spring they repeat the harvest and in the autumn the above described A method takes precedence, they uncover it and they cut off the sprouts which have roots. We use this method exclusively in the case of genuine lavender (lavandula angustifolia) , because the larger sized hybrid lavender doesn’t tolerate even a smaller pruning of its woody part at all, it simply doesn’t sprout in that place again any more.
If we have no idea what we would do with 100 miniature rooted lavenders, or beheading is not our style, then we should try the “soft” method of layering that promises more modest results. In this case we should bend the selected branch to the ground into a small (4-6 inch, 10-15 cm) pit, and fasten it there with stones and wires, then cover it with soil, in such a way that the end of the branch will not be under the soil. We shouldn’t let the covered part dry out, especially in the hot sunny summer months. At the end of October, we should take the soil off and carefully cut off the branch that has taken root.
After all three methods we continue the same way, as if we had a lavender sprout.
Photo: simple layering