Lavender companion plants

Does Lavender Spread? Is It Invasive?

Some herbs may take on climbing or creeping form which makes them quite invasive. They may take on rooting anywhere which makes it start spreading rapidly.

So, it is only understandable to want to know if lavender spreads the same.

To put it simply, lavender only spreads if you want it to and if you help it! Lavender only spreads through two main techniques: seeds and propagation (propagation and transplantation). 

Chances of lavender overtaking the garden are none so you don’t have to worry about this. These plants are not invasive creepers or climbers.

How Does Lavender Spread? 

Plants can spread by various methods. Sometimes their physical appearance or growing site helps them achieve their goals of spreading. Some work slower than most but are still a means of spreading.

Lavender cannot spread by self-division, auto-propagation, or other methods. They can only spread by two methods, seeds, and propagation.

Whether seed dispersal occurs naturally or with your help the process is quite slow and chances of self-germination are slim. 

Growing a lavender plant from its seed is a difficult process that requires special conditions, specific requirements, and experience. Failure to provide the right environment and conditions will lead to no seed germination. 

Lavender spreading only by seed germination can be seen as both good and bad. 

  • Good because it inhibits the uncontrollable spread of lavender plants. You will not find lavender seedlings sprouting in every nook and cranny of the garden!
  • Bad because it will be more difficult to purposely fill up an area with lavender. It will take longer than expected. Plus it may end in failure if you cannot perfect the right germination technique.

As for propagating lavender and transplanting it, this can also be a tricky job.

You can grow lavender and then separate it to give several plants which can grow on their own. But, the initial stages are delicate and care must be taken.

Want to know how much space to give your lavender? Read how much space do lavender needs?

Is Lavender A Fast-Spreading Plant?

It is very difficult for a lavender seed to drop off and grow by itself with harsh conditions in place. These seeds need your help to make sure they actually germinate.

Lavender seeds cannot do so in already existing conditions, it needs some extra care and their own conditions. 

Seeing as the seeds will rarely germinate by themselves, lavender is not a fast-spreading plant!

Also, lavender cannot spread in other ways unless you personally care for and germinate the seeds. 

Other plants start to grow at any point where a piece of their foliage drops, this is not the case with lavender.

None of the lavender types and varieties can propagate themselves. The same applies to the below-ground portions which do not extend more than 10 inches. 

How Much Does Lavender Spread?

There is no fixed measurement of how much lavender spreads but it does best with a 2 to 3 feet distance between plants. Spreading ability also varies based on a few factors. 

A lavender plant spreads in terms of growth and size and the amounts are influenced by:

  • Lavender variant
  • Amount of sunlight provided
  • Soil conditions 
  • Watering routine 
  • Pruning 

Lavender spreading capabilities are dependent on the lavender variant because there are three variants of lavender based on size.

These are dwarf, semi-dwarf, and giant. Here is a table to illustrate the spreading capabilities of each lavender type. 

Lavender TypeLavender VarietySpreading Ability of Lavender
Dwarf LavenderHidcote, Superior, Munstead, Lavandula stoechasGrow to a size of 16 inches by 18 inches (40 cm x 45 cm). Rarely exceed a height of 24 inches when mature.
Most appealing as indoor house plants and porch plants.
Semi-Dwarf LavenderHidcote, Pink perfume, Loddon blueThese semi-dwarf (medium) lavender grow to a size of 20 inches by 24 inches (50 cm x 60 cm) at complete maturity.
Giant LavenderHidcote giant, Alba, MailletteGiant lavender varieties will grow to 36 inches by 40 inches (90 cm x 100 cm) when grown in summer with the right care and conditions.
This type of lavender is commonly only grown by commercial lavender growers.  
Lavender Size Variants and Spreading Ability

Most lavenders have heights that are almost the same as their widths. But this mostly occurs when the plants have optimal conditions and are cared for properly. 

How Much Do Lavender Roots Spread? 

Lavender plants do not need extremely deep roots since they won’t be mining for water.

These plants have a minimum requirement for water and this could be the reason behind their lack of deep-reaching roots. 

The roots of lavender mostly spread to reach a length of 8 to 10 inches. The reach of the stems could be less if the plant is young or if it has not been grown with enough care. 

Also, these roots do not develop very fast. It takes a while for them to grow and they usually stop growing once the plant reaches maturity.

Hence, expansive root systems that interfere with other plants’ roots will not be a worry. 

Their roots are not fast-spreading and will not absorb all the water and nutrients in the soil.

Additionally, lavender roots will not spread sidewards too much, they cover the width of the above-ground plant.

Can Lavender Spread On Its Own?

Lavender can only be spread by seeds and if plants are purposely placed in a certain spot by the grower.

These plants will only grow to occupy a measured space and will not extend further beyond their maximum growing point. 

Now for the first method, if conditions are ideal for lavender seed germination, then it can spread on its own.

But chances of all conditions aligning to suit that of lavender seeds is very unlikely!

Everything would have to be just right, but the weather could easily overwhelm the fragile seedling. 

That’s why human intervention is required if any lavender seeds are to sprout at all. They need lots of sunlight but also lots of measured watering. Rainfall or thoughtless watering can cause instant death for seedlings.     

How To Spread Lavender?

For most people, keeping a plant confined to the space you have given it is the main goal in mind.

But what if you have a plant you like and want it to cover most of your garden? Well, in that case, you can set it free in the garden!

As you might know by now, spreading lavender is possible by two main methods, planting germinated seeds or by propagating and transplanting grown plants. Apart from this, there is no way to spread lavender plants.

So, this means there is no natural way for lavender to spread all by itself, it needs help! If you really want to fill your garden up with lavender, you have to put in the effort as well! 

Knowing what techniques and conditions will make lavender seeds sprout will help you to grow seedlings faster. But if you have never dealt with seeds we strongly suggest using the other method of spreading lavender albeit slow! 

Propagating lavender can also be a time-consuming method that can end in failure if you don’t do it properly. 

Here is how to propagate lavender correctly: 

  1. Using a sterile sharp knife, cut below the bump of a leaf stem
  2. Place the cutting in a well-draining vessel with the best potting mix for potted lavender
  3. Ensure it gets enough sunlight and watering 
  4. Make sure roots do not sit in wet soil, if soil is so wet forgo watering
  5. When the cuttings establish a root system, you can transplant them into the ground

NOTE: You can choose to use a rooting hormone but the cuttings are quite capable of developing roots without it. 

Which Lavender Spreads The Most?

Of all the lavender types, French lavender might prove to be the fastest-growing of all of them.

But with constant pruning, you can keep it tame and in the shape you desire. Use them for hedges since it is easier to keep them in a particular shape.

Otherwise, English and hybrid lavenders will not be invasive as they are slow-growers. English lavenders grow the tallest (possibly reaching 40 inches) of all lavenders.  

Are Lavender Plants Invasive In Gardens? 

Want to transfer your potted lavender plant back into the ground?

If so then it is understandable to have doubts about how much space lavender takes and its invasiveness.  But luckily, all your worries can be put to rest. 

Lavender is not invasive in gardens at all. Lavenders grow very slowly and the chances of them overgrowing your garden are, well, slim to none!

Plus when the plants do actually grow and spread, they stay within their growing range and are not likely to surpass it. 

So, you will not have to entertain the thought of waking up to a terrifying lavender jungle. If lavender plants start to move in a direction you don’t want it to, just grab your pruners. You will have more than enough time to cut them back. 

Wondering which will look better in your garden Russian Sage or Lavender? Find out with our comparison of Russian Sage vs Lavender.

Preventing Lavender From Spreading

Since lavender seeds are the only way for lavender to spread naturally, you must stop them before they fall. Failure to do so may result in a few, or even one lavender plant invading your garden space! 

This is easy to do seeing as the flowers bear the seeds. All you have to do is remove the flower heads (seed-bearing flowers) before they dry and expose the seeds. Just identify these flower heads and remove them in late summer. 

This works because lavender seeds cannot germinate and grow if they are never allowed to leave the flower heads.

As for lavender spreading by propagation, this won’t happen if you don’t make it. Avoid propagation and stick to pots if you must.  

Conclusion

Lavender’s ability to spread greatly relies on its size variant and difficulty in seed germination.

Understandably a larger lavender variant will spread further than a small lavender variant. But, even then, lavender is not such an invasive species. 

Lavender can only spread its progeny through seeds and transplantation of propagating lavender plants.

There are no other means by which these plants can spread and consume more garden space.  

This means that your lavender will stay where you want it to stay. It won’t get anywhere you don’t want it to get! 

FAQs

How fast does lavender spread? 

Lavender does not spread very fast as they are slow-growing plants that reach a certain size and then stops.
Even their roots do not grow very deep, reaching a maximum of 8 to 10 inches. Lavenders reach a maximum size of 1 to 5 feet for both height and width. 

Does lavender come back every year? 

Not all lavender will come back every year if they are left outdoors because not all lavender can tolerate winter.
English lavender is cold-hardy and will survive the winter season even if left outside. English lavender does have a high chance of coming back every year if given the right care.