How to Prune Lavender Plants - Shiny Plant

How to Prune Lavender Plants

Learning how to prune lavender can allow you to preserve these wonderfully fragrant plants in excellent shape for many years.

Lavender has been treasured for its medicinal and culinary uses for a very long time. In addition to being an important plant for bringing fragrance to the garden, lavender is also an essential plant. Pollinators, especially bees and butterflies, have a special liking for this plant.

It is not difficult to learn how to grow lavender from cuttings or seeds once you get started. The plants will, however, need to be replaced after a couple of years if they are not properly pruned when they become woody and ugly.

prune Lavender

Keep in mind that you may grow more than one variety of this fragrant herb in your garden for your own personal enjoyment. The most well-known and hardy varieties of lavender are from England and are known by names like Hidcote and Munstead.

Since some European kinds, namely French and Spanish lavender, are more susceptible to frost damage, you will need to exercise more caution while cutting such plants. However, if you follow a few simple guidelines, you will be able to successfully cultivate all of your lavender plants.


When to prune lavender plants

When trimming lavender, many gardeners exercise an excessive amount of caution out of fear that they may do damage to the plant if they cut too deeply into the stems. On the other hand, if you know the proper techniques for pruning lavender, you may avoid this problem entirely.

Lavender

You could have been exposed to a variety of viewpoints on the timing of lavender pruning as well as the frequency. You can Pune them twice a year.

  • Prune in the spring after the plant has finished blooming.
  • Do not prune too deep lavender stems after summer ends because they might struggle to survive during cold winter.

If you fail to prune your lavender over the summer, it is better to wait until the spring of the following year to do so. This is particularly true for lavenders that are less hardy, such as France, Spain, and Italian lavender.


Pruning young lavender plants

You planted a lavender plant at the beginning of the year and now you are not sure whether to prune it or not. Well, there are a few things you have to keep in mind when pruning lavender in its first year or young lavender.

pruning young Lavender

The first year that lavender is grown, it only needs a minor trimming, but it is essential to get the plants off to a good start in order to prevent the plants from growing leggy in subsequent years.

After the plant has finished flowering the summer is the best time to prune newly planted lavender.

At this early point in the process, the goal of pruning is to encourage new growth while also generating a lovely mounded form. If you have propagated lavender plants from seeds or cuttings, it is useful to pinch away new growth tips to help the plant in becoming bushy. This may be done at any time throughout the growing season.

When lavender is just in its first year, it is not necessary to do further spring pruning on the plant.

  • Remove the blooms and a portion of the new green stem growth from each stem by cutting it back with a pair of clean, sharp pruning shears by one-third.
  • It is crucial to leave a significant amount of green on the stems while the plants are young; do not trim the plant back “hard” by getting close to the woody base of the stem.
  • Make an effort to form the plant into the shape of a sphere by cutting the stems shorter as you travel toward the perimeter of the plant and leaving the longest ones in the center of the plant.
  • It is possible that you may receive a second burst of blooms after you prune your lavender. After you have completed it, prune them in the same manner, but be sure to do it well in advance for the onset of the cold fall weather.

Pruning mature lavender plants

Since lavender plants get well-established quite rapidly, you will need to begin a simple but comprehensive pruning routine as soon as their second year has passed in order to preserve them in good form.

Lavender

To get started, throughout the summer months you should give your lavender plants a thorough trimming. If you want plants to keep their lovely domed habit while they are in blossom, prune them so that roughly a third of the leaves are removed. To do this, take handfuls of the stems in your hands and snip them off using some clean, sharp garden shears

The lavenders, by the time they become dormant in the autumn, should have regrown themselves with new young stems that will harden off before the changes of the winter weather.

You should make an effort to keep the plant in a nice rounded shape; however, you should avoid cutting the stems too closely to the woody base otherwise the plant may have trouble surviving the winter. After that, do more severe pruning in the spring.

Read: Is Lavender Invasive?


How to prune lavender plants in the spring

In the spring, you should give your lavender a more severe trimming to prevent the formation of woody stems and to stimulate the production of healthy new growth. You need to have this done as early in the season as possible in order to allow the plant a lot of time to get back on its feet.

Lavender in spring

However, you must take care not to cut the stems too deeply into the old wood. This is really important.

The amount of wood that is on your lavender plant is dependent on the age of the plant as well as how effectively it has been trimmed in the past.

  • Take a look at a stem, and you’ll observe that it has a woody base positioned below the area that is covered with leaves.
  • Cut the stem about 2-3 inches above the woody base, into the leafy area of the stem, using a pair of pruning shears that are both clean and sharp. Take care not to cut into the wood underneath.
  • Shears may make the task of pruning hedges much simpler, and you can clip handfuls of stems at once while working on them.
  • Your lavender plant should have a good circular shape, therefore prune the outside stems to be a bit shorter than the interior stems. This will help you achieve this.
  • Dead branches, those that have been injured by frost, and those that are infected with disease should all be totally removed.

How to deal with a woody base

When lavender has been grown for a few years, it may produce long stems that have a “woody” appearance and are ugly. On the other hand, if you are able to trim lavender in the same manner as a trained professional, you should be able to revive the plants.

“Replacing plants when they get straggly, which often occurs between the ages of three and five years”, is the standard piece of advice.  

Cutting lavender stems into the old wood may be an effective approach to restoring them, despite the fact that this is often avoided. The key is to make sure that you can still detect some evidence of life below the cutting site in the form of growth nodes. This will ensure a successful outcome. If you cut farther than this, it is doubtful that the stems will regrow, so you should inspect them carefully.

Keep in mind that you are taking a risk by trying to hard prune woody lavender, so before you make an effort, take some semi-ripe cuttings of the plant so that you may start a new plant if the old one dies.


Harvest Lavender for use

Cut Lavender

When you are summer trimming your lavender plant, you may be interested in learning how to harvest lavender blooms for both medicinal and culinary purposes. If that’s the case, when should you pick the lavender? Perform this action after about half of the buds have opened up. If this isn’t the case, you should wait until the blossoms have died off before trimming.

Grab handfuls of the lavender, and then cut off about a third of the stems of each individual plant.

Gather the flower stems into bunches, knot them together, and then hang them in an inverted position to dry the flowers.


Pruning other varieties of lavender plants

The Spanish and French types of lavender are very lovely. They have blooms that stand erect and have a peculiar ‘butterfly’ form. These blossoms may be purple, pink, or even white.

In order for the plants to survive, they need to be exposed to direct sunlight and are not nearly as resilient as English lavender. On the other hand, maintaining and pruning them is not much more difficult.

After the plant has finished blooming in the summer, just cut down about a third of its new growth as you would when pruning other types of lavender. Be careful not to trim the branches back too much, as this might leave them vulnerable to an excessive amount of frost damage throughout the winter.

After that, do a more severe pruning in the early spring, taking extra care to avoid cutting into any dead wood.


Prune lavender for winter

Cut back lavender plants prior to winter, you may create a neat mound that will offer the garden some structure during the months when it is at its most dormant. Since lavender is an evergreen plant, it keeps its leaves throughout the whole year.

It is not always essential to pick the flowers as soon as they have finished blooming since doing so might give food to birds that feed on seeds if the flowers are left on the plant after they have faded.

It is still recommended that you do your first pruning before the end of summer; but, particularly winter-hardy cultivars may benefit from a modest pruning in the fall prior to the onset of winter.

It is important to ensure that the plant has a sufficient amount of green growth to sustain its appearance over the winter months.


What if you do not prune your lavender

If you don’t trim your lavender, the plant will rapidly grow woody and wrinkly, and it won’t be able to support its own weight very well.

This results in the stems of the plant falling over when they are heavily loaded with blooms, which causes the plant to spread out and reveals more of the plant’s older wood.