Friday, April 9, 2010

Growing Lavender 101: Spring Pruning!

By popular demand, we are posting some useful information regarding care for your lavender. Properly pruning your lavender plants is crucial to maintain the health, vitality and beauty of this remarkable little herb. Lavender doesn’t require a great deal of maintenance, but some attention is needed in the pruning department. The most important thing to remember is to begin pruning lavender while the plant is still young. This way new growth will be encouraged right from the start. It also prevents the stalks from becoming woody in the center, which is a common problem amongst lavender plants that have not been pruned regularly.

Pruning Young Lavender Plants
When the lavender plants are young, and preferably still in pots, simply pinch out any new growth, and
cut off the flower heads in the very first year. Although it might seem a strange thing to do, it actually encourages the branches to grow laterally and the flowers and spikes to grow larger the following year. After this, you’ll only need to continue pruning lavender plants about once per year throughout their lifespan.

Pruning Lavender after the First Year
Lavender plants should be pruned once per year, preferably in the spring, just before new growth starts. Use hedge trimmers or pruning shears, if possible, to keep things nice and tidy. Prune back about 1/3 of the new growth each time, shaping the lavender bush into a nice mound shape. Pruning lavender any more than 1/3 off the top may cause it to wither and die, so use caution. It’s better to prune too little than to prune too much. Do not cut all of the new growth down to the stems, as lavender may not survive this type of heavy pruning.

Pruning Old Lavender Plants
Pruning lavender plants that are beyond three years old, or of an indeterminate age, and have never been pruned before is a little trickier. Older lavender plants will not survive heavy pruning, especially if there is more woody growth than new, green growth. If there is new growth visible above the woody stalks, begin by pruning back as much of as possible above the woody areas, without actually cutting into them. This is best performed in the summer time, and only once per year. This technique for pruning lavender will encourage new growth along the entire stem, and may eventually result in a plant that can be reshaped.

Warning: Never prune old wood from lavender plants unless it is completely dead. Also, pruning lavender until there is no foliage left will most likely kill the plant. Always use caution while pruning lavender to keep your plants as healthy and happy as possible. 
We hope that this information has been useful, and that you enjoy the pleasure of growing the "grandmother of herbs" for many years to come. According to the "Language of Flowers" that was created by the Victorians, Lavender’s message is joy and devotion. Don't get so involved in the “work” of a task that you forget the joy that it brings! <3


Chloe G said...

Lovely! Thank you for your advice. Found you through Pinterest :-)

Scott Cuadrado said...

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Anonymous said...

I am glad that I read your blog before I pruned my old lavender which I would have done improperly and would have then killed the plant.