“Why plant LAVENDER? I mean, it has a great fragrance and all but. Is it really worth it?”. That’s how most people think. They associate Lavender with only fragrance and dismiss the idea of planting Lavender. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me count a few of the many benefits, that Lavender has, for you. Lavender is an amazing medicinal plant. Not only is its fragrance calming and relaxing, but it is also anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. It is commonly used in skin care items like body scrubs, lotions, creams etc. Lavender essential oil is a common ingredient in home cleaning products. Lavender is also well known for making amazing drinks. These are just a few of the many benefits that Lavender has.
This should clear the misunderstanding about Lavender. Now that you have decided to grow some Lavender in your home garden, this ‘How to Prune Lavender’ guide will walk you through the basics of pruning Lavender so that you reap maximum benefits of the Lavender.
A question you might think right now is do I really need to prune my Lavender? How will it benefit my Lavender? Before we answer these questions, we first need to first discuss and understand what pruning is. Pruning is the practice of trimming certain parts of the plant such as branches, leaves, roots, or buds. While it may seem counterproductive to trim away certain parts, it is actually for the greater good of the plant. You see, the parts that we are trimming of the plant are the dead branches, leaves, or roots that have the disease on them, or cutting off buds to encourage the plant to be much bushier. All of these acts together help in maintaining the health of the plant and even improves productivity too! The same can be said for pruning Lavender plants.
Though certainly pruning your Lavender will help the plant grow much healthier and much more productive, there are even more benefits pruning your Lavender plant can give you. Pruning your Lavender will help the plant from retaining its vigor by slowing down its process of becoming woody. Why not allow the Lavender to become woody you may ask, but if you want your Lavender to remain appealing, you really wouldn’t want to do that. When your Lavender is woody, they are less appealing and also much more prone to damage and disease. As winter comes, the Lavender’s branches, if allowed to get woody, will get cracked from the cold temperature. To keep your plant young and resilient, learn to prune it.
Now that you have understood how pruning your lavender will help it grow and become vibrant, let’s get on how to actually prune it the right way.
Stepwise Plan To Prune Lavender Properly
When to Prune?
Lavender should be pruned in the second year after the plantation. Newly planted plants need to be able to focus on growing roots in order to establish themselves. Pruning the very first year would divert the focus of the plant towards the growth of leaves rather than the roots and thus the plant would be weak. The best time to prune Lavender is in the spring season.
Trim the lavenders when you have noticed that the flowers are blooming, this typically occurs in the spring or summer season. Trim them in the afternoon where the oils are at their strongest. If you want to enjoy the fragrance of your Lavender much longer, then you may postpone as much as a few weeks from pruning your Lavender. However, by that time, the oils won’t be that strong for use in essential oils. It is recommended to trim them early.
Pruning Lavender in Spring
Before you start the actual pruning, make sure to follow some of these tips first. As much as possible when pruning, avoid pruning the plant by plucking it. Plucking the plant can potentially some parts of the plant that are not intended to be pruned. In order to avoid plucking, use some shears or scissors instead to do the job. Also, make sure to follow the steps we are providing so that your Lavender grows healthy and productive.
Regular pruning stimulates plant for new growth. Without it, lavender could grow a large woody base which shortens the plant’s lifespan. Pruning lavender in spring is most effective as the new growth is starting to appear. Before pruning, it is necessary to properly sanitize the blades of your pruning shear with alcohol or bleach to remove harmful bacteria and germs. This is a necessary precaution to do to avoid potentially spreading diseases to your plant, especially much needed to do when you are cutting from stem to stem.
Pruning Young Lavender Plants
Pruning the plant when it’s young stimulates root and stem growth. You can begin by pinching off the tips of new growth which would induce dense branching in the young plant. This ensures a good shape of the plant with a lot of expected blooming growth as the plant matures. This forces lavender to create new growth which increases the yield of lavender and would keep the bush from going woody.
Pruning Established Lavender Plants
Established lavender plants are usually heavily pruned. After the plant is done flowering, cut back all the stems to about one third. The central stems are left slightly longer than the side stems to induce a mounded habit which is lavender’s signature shape which allows for maximum sun exposure for vigorous growth.
Pruning Woody Lavender Plants
Time doesn’t wait for anyone and the same is also true for the lavender plant. Once bright and fragrant, the lavender plant starts to look woody with dead wood, bearing a smaller number of those trademark fragrant flowers, after about six to eight years of plantation. All is not lost though. Pruning woody lavender can bring the life back into the plant.
As soon as you notice that your lavender is turning woody, prune it. That’s the only way to revive the dying plant. You should not trim into brown, dead wood to induce new growth. Woody parts cannot produce new growth. However, by pruning to points just above the wood, the plant could be rejuvenated. A good approach is to cut above the third node. These three nodes may sprout new growth and in turn revive the plant. Also avoid excessive pruning. Trim each branch to about one third while not cutting into brown wood. Green leaves should still be there on the plant after pruning.
Cutting Back Dead Lavender Stems
Dead stems and limbs neither look good on the plant, nor are good for the health of the plant. However, there is a right time for everything. Same is true for cutting back dead lavender stems.
Season is the main consideration when deciding whether to prune your lavender or not. Don’t prune if it’s winter. Lavender limbs can appear to be dead during dormant winter season when they are actually not. Pruning living limbs can stimulate fragile new growth susceptible to cold damage during winter. So, waiting for the spring to arrive before starting to prune dead lavender helps ensure whether the limbs are really dead. If it’s not winter, and the limbs are really dead, remove all the way to the living part of plant.
Consequences of Not Pruning Your Lavender:
Pruning is essential for the health of Lavender. Without regular pruning, the plant becomes a woody mess and can develop several problems due to entrapment of water.
- This trapped water may assist rot in lavender’s roots and stems in summer.
- In late autumn, it can induce an early frost which can lead to an early end of growing season.
- In winter, due to freezing of the trapped water, the woody parts of the plant can split.
So, this ‘How to Prune Lavender’ guide is very important for us if we are to have any chance of growing lavender successfully.
Pruning lavender is an essential step for growing quality lavender for a long period without a need to replant. If done properly, lavender plant can continue to grow for as long as 20 years. It also assists in increasing the yield of lavender.
As you can see, there isn’t much science involved in pruning lavender. All that’s required is a little dedication and proper knowledge of pruning and you are golden. This ‘How to prune lavender’ guide contains all the necessary knowledge that you need to start pruning lavender like a pro. Now, it’s up to you to make use of all this information and up your game of lavender farming.
If you still are reluctant on starting lavender farming, you really are missing out on a lot here. With all the uses and benefits which lavender offers, and its amazing resilience and growth potential, you can’t really go wrong.
Do you have any questions, thoughts, and tips you’d want to share with us? Comment below! Our website also offers a lot of guides as well such as How to Prune Avocado Tree and How to Prune Pepper Plant.