How to prune lavender for healthy growth
Tips to care for your lavender plant through pruningFind a gardener
- Is pruning necessary?
- How to prune lavender plants
- When do you prune lavender?
- Maintain your lavender plant with proper pruning
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Learn how to prune lavender and maintain a beautiful garden
Lavender plants are more than beautiful and fragrant additions to your home or garden—they are also known to have several health and medicinal benefits, such as easing anxiety, relieving asthma symptoms, and improving sleep quality. While this plant is notoriously easy to take care of, knowing how to prune lavender properly ensures it stays in a healthy condition longer.
Continue reading to learn more about pruning lavender, including the specifics for different types of lavender and the best times to do it.
Is pruning necessary?
Along with well-drained soil and lots of light, pruning is an essential part of maintenance for lavender plants, especially if you want to keep them in your garden long-term. This keeps their foliage structure neat and encourages new growth and flowering.
Because lavender is a hardy bush, regular pruning helps prevent it from becoming too large and woody—this is also why pruning is essential in more mature lavender plants.
How to prune lavender plants
What you’ll need:
Clean and sharp pruning shears or a sharp knife
While pruning depends on the season and the type of lavender plant you are growing, it generally follows a simple process that involves:
Deadheading is removing the dead flowerheads and spikes of your lavender plant. It shouldn’t be necessary if you do regular pruning; however, it is a good practice if you want to keep your plants looking fresh and attractive. Also, if you’re too nervous to start heavy pruning, you can try deadheading first to get a feel of where to make deeper cuts.
The general rule to prune lavender is to avoid cutting back to the woody stems. This will hinder regrowth as the wood that grows on lavender does not rejuvenate. It is also prone to weakening and splitting. Thus, avoid over-pruning—this may harm or kill your lavender plant. It is also a good practice to leave fresh new leaves on the stems.
Shaping is done more for the upkeep of your lavender plant’s appearance—to maintain an even, dome-like shape, cut the outside stems shorter than the middle stems. This will encourage your desired growth pattern and lessen the need for shaping as your plant grows.
When do you prune lavender?
Now that you’ve learned the basics of pruning lavender, consider these specific tips for the different seasons and lavender varieties. Following these will not only keep your lavender plants looking healthy but will also help you avoid cutting back your lavender plant too often, as this may end up harming your plant.
Pruning young lavender: It’s ideal to start pruning early—don’t wait until it turns woody because you’ll have difficulty shaping your plant. Pinch off new growth at the tips to encourage dense branching. You can also cut the foliage by about a third so it grows into a neat mound shape.
Pruning mature and established plants: Mark about two to three inches above your plant’s woody base. This spot where the soft green stem meets the wood is where you want to start pruning. Pinch or cut off the first set of leaves at the tip of the stem to encourage quicker reblooming.
Pruning lavender that is woody: For older lavender plants, make sure to make cuts just above the wood. If you can see the raised bumps on the stems from which leaves grow, count to the third bump from the woody part and start cutting there.
How to prune French lavender or Spanish lavender: Lavandula stoechas is not as hardy as other varieties, so prune this plant delicately—never get too close to the base. Do this after the first flowering. After which, you can maintain it with deadheading and shaping for the rest of the season.
How to prune English lavender: Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, is more common and hardier. Prune it lightly after the first flowering and follow up with a full pruning after the last flush has faded.
How to prune lavender in Spring: Spring is one of the best times to prune lavender in the year. It’s important to prune only if you see new growth in your plants. If not, give them more time to grow. Follow the rule of cutting just two to three inches from the woody base and deadhead for the rest of the season.
How to prune lavender in Summer: It is generally optional to prune lavender in the summer, but you can do a full pruning by August to prepare lavender for the winter and to encourage a healthy regrowth in the spring. You can also take this time to harvest your lavender blooms for various uses.
Maintain your lavender plant with proper pruning
Although lavender is a forgiving plant and requires little maintenance, one way to take care of it is with pruning appropriate for its variety and the season. To keep your lavender plants healthy and attractive for a long time, know the best times and the proper techniques to prune them.
Alternatively, you can hire a professional for the upkeep of your lavender plants and other prized plants in your garden. Check out garden maintenance and other services, and enlist the help of a Tasker today.
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Pruning Lavender FAQs
Pruning lavender prevents it from turning woody. When the stems become woody, it will be harder to encourage the plant to rejuvenate and grow new blooms. It also becomes more prone to splitting. In effect, it becomes overgrown and unattractive, and shortens the plant’s life.
You can prune lavender before winter to prepare it for the cold season—especially for hardier varieties. This will help it retain its structure during the colder months and encourage more growth in the spring. Remember to leave lots of green on the plant, though.
Yes, cutting back or pruning lavender twice a year will ensure a long-lasting result plant that is neat and tidy. If you have a young plant, you should always allow it time to establish its roots before pruning. Pruning is always much easier as the plant gets older, and when the plant reaches middle-age, heavy pruning is necessary. Clear about one-third of the length and shape of the plant to allow for a decent amount of airflow and spacing between the blossoms.
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