Prepare to Prune!
If you enjoyed a garden that was delicately scented with lavender this summer, the end of the season signals the time to take the next step in caring for this much-loved herb.
Although these evergreen shrubs are easy-to-grow and offer longevity, with some hardy species such as English lavender lasting up to 20 years, they do require care and attention – particularly when it comes to pruning. If left unpruned, the base and core of lavender becomes woody and the plant will eventually die.
So when should you prune lavender and how do you do it?
Pruning must be undertaken every year and the best time is late August or early September, as soon as the plant has flowered. This ensures it has plenty of time to heal before frosts and winter set in.
If your lavender is established, use your secateurs to prune. Remove the flower stalks and about 2.5cm – or one inch – of the year’s growth, which is the grey-leafed stem. Your aim is to prune to the points just above the wood. If you grow French lavender, prune hard to approximately 23cm – or nine inches - after the first flowering then dead head throughout the season.
Tips for perfect pruning:
If you want to keep your lavender thriving, here’s what we recommend:
- Don’t be afraid to prune a young lavender plant; this slows the growth of the wood at the centre of the plant. However rather than cutting it, prune it by pinching the tips
- Being ruthless with your pruning will pay dividends. In fact, cutting the shoots back by a third, or to around 22cm – or nine inches - into the foliage is ideal
- Avoid cutting lavender back to the old wood; this prevents new branches from forming.
So prune your plants every year before the middle of September, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.