How To Prune Lavender

Lavender is a shrub that will do best if pruned every year. This is a job to get on with in August, or early September, once the flowers are finished for the season. You may well already have taken many of the flowering stems off the plants to use for a variety of different purposes around your home. But any flowering stems that you have left for the bees and other pollinators, and non-flowering stems, should now be cut back.Lavender is usually pruned after flowering in the late summer, though some books will also recommend pruning in the spring.

If the flowers on your lavender plants have lost their colour, then it is a good time to prune. The bees will no longer be visiting the flowers, and they will be grey and dry.

Why Should You Prune Lavender?

Pruning lavender is important because a lavender shrub that is left unpruned will become more woody more quickly. It can lose vigour and the woody stems can look straggly and unappealing. What is more, the woody stems will be more prone to frost or water rot damage and disease, and can crack or break more easily.

Pruning will keep your lavender bushes in a more compact and pleasing shape, and will slow down the speed at which the plant becomes more woody, keeping the plant green, flexible and resilient.

If you have a lavender bush that has become woody and poor then it is best to replace it as lavender does not grow readily from old wood.

How Much Should You Cut Off?

Secateurs should be used to remove the flower heads and cut back this years growth, making sure that some new green growth remains. Do not be too frightened to cut back your lavender, especially if it is the English variety. Give it a good haircut each year and your plants will look good and remain healthy for much longer than if you are too tentative.

You can remove most of the new, green growth, so long as you cut above the small buds and green shoots that are forming on the lower woody material. However, generally speaking, people will remove around 1/3 of the length of the stems, which will encourage it to grow back bushy and full.

Pruning lavender is an easy job, but if you want your lavender bushes to last for a good long while, and continue to look good, then it is not a job to be neglected. Why not head out there and undertake this job over the next few days?