We all want to keep lavender in our garden for the long run, so it's important to know how to prune it to ensure a prolific crop of flowers and tidy foliage comes back tear after year. .
How to Prune Lavender Plants
A hardy plant for dry spots and one of the longest-blooming semi-shrubs around, lavender (Lavandula) would earn a place in most sunny gardens even if it didn’t have such a heavenly scent.There’s more good news: lavender is easy to prune, and when you do it you’ll be covered for the rest of the day in those aromatic oils.Pruning in late summer or early fall before the first frost encourages good air circulation, which guards against rot.Lavender is regarded as a semi-shrub or subshrub—a plant that looks like a perennial because most of its growth is soft and green but older base stems turn to wood. .
How to prune lavender – and the best time of year to do it
Knowing how to prune lavender is important if you want these heavenly scented plants to stay in good shape for years to come.Lavender is an essential plant for adding fragrance to the garden, and has long been prized for its therapeutic properties.Lavender only requires a light trim in its first year, but to avoid the plants from becoming leggy in future, it’s important to get them off to a good start.At this early stage, pruning is about encouraging new growth, and developing a nice mounded shape.If you have grown the lavender from seed or cuttings, then it is beneficial to pinch out new growth tips to help the plant become bushy.Try to make an even dome shape by leaving the stems longer in the middle, and gradually going shorter as you move to the outer edges of the plant.Lavender plants will establish quickly, so from their second year you will need to follow a simple – but thorough – pruning regime to keep them in shape.Don’t prune lavender too hard after summer ends, or it may struggle to survive the onset of colder weather.To prune your lavender in the summer, grab handfuls of the stems and, using clean, sharp secateurs, snip them off, removing up to a third of the plant’s growth.Spring is the time for pruning your lavender harder to minimize the development of woody stems and encourage fresh new growth.Take a stem and examine it – you’ll notice it has a woody base set below the leafy section.The trick is to make sure you can still see signs of life in the form of growth nodes below the cutting point.Monty Don even suggests a third trim in the fall, to help it ‘hold a tight pebble shape’.Cut back lavender before winter to create a tidy mound that will give structure to the garden over the coldest months. .
How to Prune Lavender: Simple Tips
“Pruning lavender keeps it looking full, encourages new growth and flowering, and gives you lots of fresh tips to harvest throughout the season,” says Amy Fedele, a home gardening expert and Pretty Purple Door blogger.Since lavender dislikes extreme heat or cold, it can grow perennially in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 8.North or south of those zones, it does better as an annual, or in containers that are brought inside during extreme wet or cold weather.“Ideally, you should prune your lavender twice in a growing season — once in early spring and once in late summer, after it’s done blooming,” she says.Do your last pruning by early fall, especially if you live in a cold climate, where frost can damage fresh growth.If you live where there’s risk of extreme cold, Connecticut nursery White Flower Farm experts advise that you cover your lavender plants with evergreen boughs to protect them from frigid winds. .
How to Prune Lavender
An annual pruning is an important step for long-lasting lavender (Lavandula spp.and hybrids) plants.Without it they grow a large, lanky, woody base that can split open — it looks bad and shortens the plant’s lifespan.Start pruning lavender when it’s small to encourage your new plant to focus on making more roots and branching stems, which results in a nice mounded habit later.The dotted line in the illustration above shows you how to cut foliage and any flowers back by one-third to one half before planting.With the outside stems slightly shorter than the center ones so the plant will have a mounded growth habit from the start.Lavender grows quickly, so by the second year, the plant should be about twice as big and ready for pruning once the blooms are spent (or cut blooms while they're still fresh and make a luxurious lavender sugar scrub!).Follow these simple steps to keep your lavender looking great for years to come.Get a second flush of blooms quicker on reblooming varieties with deadheading.That encourages tender new growth which will be killed by winter cold, weakening the plant so it might not make it through another season. .
How to Harvest, Prune & Dry Lavender Flowers ~ Homestead and
In this article, we’ll go over the best time to harvest lavender, exactly where to trim it, as well as how to give the plant a deeper prune.Then I’ll show you three ways to dry fresh lavender buds, and share plenty of ideas on what to do with them!In general, lavender can grow as a perennial in USDA zones 5 through 10, though nuances among each variety or climate can make the plants more or less happy.That is because lavender thrives in warm, sunny, arid Mediterranean climates, and it doesn’t do well in high humidity or wet conditions.When planting lavender directly in the ground, choose a sunny location with excellent drainage and sandy soil.Follow these tips to start lavender seeds indoors, but give them up to a month or two to germinate.If you aren’t sure what your USDA growing zone is, use this simple zip code lookup tool to find out.I always suggest plant shopping at locally-owned nurseries – they’ll likely carry lavender varieties best suited to your area!We grow a wide selection of French, Spanish, and English lavender varieties in our temperate garden.Harvesting lavender flowers in the early spring will give the plant ample time to produce another flush of blooms to enjoy again in the late summer to fall.If you have hopes for the highest fragrance and essential oil content, the best time to harvest individual lavender flowers is early in their bloom cycle.Also, mature browning flower buds will crumble and fall off the stem more easily, which isn’t ideal for bouquets and can make for a messy drying process.Finally, herbalists traditionally harvest medicinal flowers in the early morning, once any dew has dried but when the plants are still perky from the cool night air.You may find the need to do this with smaller, compact lavender plants that have less space between the bud and leaf nodes.After harvest, you ’ll be left with a nice little bunch of lavender – perfect to hang and dry, or to display as a beautiful bouquet.To enjoy lavender like classic cut flowers, simply place the harvested blooms in a vase of water (if you don’t intend to dry them).Within a few days after trimming the center stem, the young side branches will rapidly grow and develop flower buds of their own.The first and less crucial “pruning” session can simply be harvesting a good amount of the first bloom of flowers in spring.Even if you aren’t harvesting flowers to keep and dry, the act of deadheading (removing spent blooms) is great for overall plant health and promotes new growth.The best time to give your lavender plant a slightly harder prune is in the fall, after the last bout of flowers fades.Trim at least a few inches above the naked woody part, leaving behind a couple leaf nodes per branch.We have cut some established plants that were yellowing and looking a bit sad waaaaaay back (almost to the ground, into the “no-no” woody zone) and they were full of lush new growth within a few months.This massive lavender bush had grown unchecked to block an entire pathway in our front yard garden (out past the row of pavers) – so we hacked it back hard!I knew it was established enough to handle a good prune, and I did end up cutting down into the wood growth in some places.Even though I cut into the woody parts (avoiding the main “trunk”), you can see fresh new green growth already starting to sprout from the wood.Collect handful-size bouquets, secure the stems together with twine or a rubber band, and hang them upside down to passively dry.Large dense bunches of lavender will receive less air flow, dry more slowly, and are more prone to developing mold.Large dense bunches of lavender will receive less air flow, dry more slowly, and are more prone to developing mold.The time it takes to fully dry can vary from a couple of weeks to over a month, depending on your climate.Living near the coast, we experience a bit of fog and mild humidity, and our decorative lavender dries pretty well this way.Inadequately dried herbs that contain leftover moisture can easily cause medicinal oils to develop mold and spoil.However, it is best to avoid overheating the lavender in order to preserve the highest level of essential oils and therapeutic benefits possible.Even though I will only dry the buds themselves, I like to remove the entire long flower stem during harvest to keep the plant looking fresh.Our Excalibur dehydrators have a “living foods” setting (95-105°F), designed to preserve beneficial plant enzymes.Our Excalibur dehydrators have a “living foods” setting (95-105°F), designed to preserve beneficial plant enzymes.Some traditional herbalists simply lay out their fresh herbs and flowers to dry on screens, or in airy baskets.Homemade herb drying racks can be assembled of a single or many “shelves” of flat framed screens.Also like the first method, allowing lavender to passively dry on screens or in baskets requires warm arid conditions – and time.Otherwise, snip or strip the flower bud portion off of the stem and store it in an airtight glass container for maximum freshness, flavor, and aroma.With natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and pain relieving properties, dry lavender is ideal to use in homemade medicine and body care products.Use a small mesh bag or cheesecloth to create sachets of soothing lavender potpourri, perfect for a dresser drawer, bathroom, car, or bedside table.We make homemade organic lavender salve (learn how to here), and recently began offering it in the Homestead and Chill shop!My friend Tanya over at Lovely Greens has a great recipe to make lavender bath bombs.Lavender can be included in sweet and savory marinades – most often used for meats, but also amazing with roasted potatoes or other veggies.Sprinkle dry lavender in your chicken coop and nesting boxes to repel flies, cut odor, and calm your hens.We routinely add old dead-headed lavender buds and stems as a soil top-dressing in potted plants, to serve as organic mulch as well as repel pests.Our homemade lavender salve (now available for sale here) works wonders on dry skin, bites, scrapes, stings, scars, and more. .
Perplexed with pruning purple: When to prune, how not to kill lavender
With English lavender you can even cut into the woody part of the plant and have it regrow.These are the lavenders that have flag like petals at the top of thicker pine cone shaped flowers spikes.These types of lavenders also tend to be less woody and more sprawling in shape, so they're often used as a ground cover.The third type include lavender crosses or lavedins, lavandula X intermedia.Never prune this type back to the woody part of the shrub or you might kill the plant.Ideally, lavender should be cut back at least once a year, either after spring flowering or in the fall before frost danger is imminent.The Shasta Master Gardeners Program can be reached by phone at 242-2219 or email [email protected] .
Pruning Lavender, Sage and Other Subshrubs
The woman sighed and admitted that her row of lavenders didn’t make it after she had cut them back the previous fall.For those gardeners who live in areas with frequent winter freezing and thawing this can be a problem, since this freeze/thaw process will cause a subshrub to expend energy it will need later in the season.RESULT: Tender new growth is damaged or killed by frosty temperatures, and the plant loses vigor or dies since its energy reserves are spent.Although you may be tempted to prune earlier, it is best to wait until you see a little green before removing the dead tips of branches and old flowers.Just be careful not to significantly prune into live branches, or you will delay the bloom time and you may sacrifice flowers.If you’d like to shape your plant or bring it back within bounds, you can take care of that while you deadhead by cutting three to five leaf nodes below each flower spike.Although pruning these plants before they leaf out makes it difficult to differentiate between live and dead wood, this technique prevents these late bloomers from wasting valuable energy on damaged or sick growing points at the top of the stems.This approach takes care of shaping and the removal of dead plant material and old flowers in one fell swoop.In warmer winter locales (Zones 6 and higher), the whole stem usually survives, in which case pruning is limited to deadheading unless you want to shape your subshrub into a shorter plant. .