There are many reasons to love lavender if you have ever planted it in your garden. The sweet, fragrant flowers of lavender attract pollinators and emit a sweet scent. It is a perennial shrub that can be grown in almost any climate and is easy to maintain. Even when they aren’t blooming, lavender plants still look beautiful.
Regular pruning is necessary for lavender to remain beautiful and healthy. To prevent lavender bushes from growing out of control, they must be trimmed every year.
Amy Fedele, a Pretty Purple Door blogger and home gardening expert, says that “Pruning lavender keeps the plant full, encourages new growth, and flowering, as well as giving you many fresh tips to harvest throughout each season.”
Here are the best times and methods to prune lavender.
When to prune lavender
Because lavender is not tolerant to extreme heat or cold temperatures, it can be grown perennially in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5-8. It can grow in any zone, north or south, but it thrives best as an annual or in containers that can be brought inside during extreme cold or wet weather.
Fedele suggests that lavender can be lightly trimmed and pruned at any time during spring or summer. Fedele says that lavender should be pruned twice during a growing season: once in the spring and again in late summer after it has finished blooming.
Fedele recommends waiting for new growth to appear before pruning in the spring. After the plants have stopped flowering, you can prune again in late summer.
If you live in colder climates, it is a good idea to do your last pruning before the frost damage new growth. You can leave the lavender alone in winter. To protect your plants from the frigid winds, Connecticut nursery White Flower Farm experts recommend that you cover lavender plants with evergreen boughs if you live in an area where extreme cold is possible.
How to prune lavender
Pruning lavender isn’t difficult, but Fedele suggests there are some things you should know.
- Start with a pair clean, sharp pruning shears. Fedele suggests sterilizing your blades before you start pruning. Use rubbing alcohol or bleach to clean them. Rinse off the blades and dry.
- Remove any branches or bits that are not necessary for the new growth. This will make your plants fuller.
- Do not prune below the leaves into the woody areas.
- Always leave some green at the stems.
- Take the best snips from your summer pruning and cut them into cuttings for new plants.
- Cut back approximately one-third of your plant when you do your autumn/late summer pruning. You should aim to achieve a pleasing appearance.
- Avoid pruning after the first of fall if you live in colder climates to avoid frost damage.
Fun Uses for Lavender
- Add some lavender to a bouquet with fresh-cut flowers.
- Place some in a container, and let them dry in a sunny window.
- English lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia flowers) can be used as a flavoring in cocktails, lemonade, and ice cream. It can also be used in savory dishes as a herb — it’s just like rosemary.
- Fedele loves to use large, heavy pieces of pruned lavender for kabobs.