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How to prune lavender

By: Garden Gate staff
Keep lavender healthy and lush with this fall pruning how-to.

Lavender (Lavandula spp.and hybrids) looking rough? Here's how to keep your plant beautiful year after year. ht-p-lavender-FirstYear

How to prune new lavender plants

Start pruning lavender when it’s small to encourage your new plant to focus on making more roots and branching foliage, which results in a nice mounded habit. Check out the illustration above to see what to do.

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Prune established lavender

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!). Use this technique from here on out. Start by finding the woody base and cutting 2 to 3 in. up from there.The illustration above has more details. Cutting too far back to bare woody stems or removing too much foliage stresses the plant and often kills it. Don’t prune your lavender after late August. That encourages tender new growth that’ll be killed by winter cold, weakening the plant so it might not make it through another season. If you forget, wait until spring, when foliage growth is just starting.

Some varieties will rebloom. Deadhead by following the stem back to the first set of leaves and snipping it off. Don’t cut back as far as you did during pruning. You can remove as much as one-third of the leafy growth on a lavender that has flowers close to the foliage without causing damage.

Published: Feb. 28, 2018
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October 16, 2012