Pruning Lavender

celeste(7a)May 29, 2005

After a search, I can't seem to find info on when and how much to prune lavender. Anyone out there have the answers?

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bksinaz(z9 AZ)

I to have questions. I grow alot of herbs and decided to buy my wife a Lavender. We absolutly don't know what to do with it. Do we harvest the little flowers?How?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 6:11PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

To keep it a manageable size, prune it a couple times a year. Mine have just this spring gotten big enough to prune. Basically you want to prune it to stay a manageable size, so it doesn't look all woody and get an open center, but you don't want to prune back into the old wood. So that means pruning back regularly, so that you are always pruning soft growth, not the wood.

Best times to prune: if there's any winter damage, shear back in the spring after the first new growth has appeared. Shear a second time after the first bloom (here, that's in June; it may be July in other places). Don't shear after August. Each time, you can prune it back as much as a third to a half (even two-thirds, if it's not all woody).

Harvest flowering stems (especially on English lavender, L. angustifolia) just before the flower buds open. I cut them just above the main plant, where a rosette of leaves is starting to form, or you can cut back to the rounded shape of the bush. I harvested a big bunch this afternoon, a little late -- some of the flower buds had already opened. (I'd wanted to make a lavender dolly or two (I think it involves braiding the fresh stems, but haven't found a how-to yet.) Let them dry out of the sun, in a dry room, and then pull the little flower buds off the stems. The stems are also fragrant, you can experiment with putting them in a jar of household vinegar or alcohol to get scented cleaning products.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 12:26AM
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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

Well it's May 31 here and my Lavender angustifolia 'Munstead' and Lavender x intermedia 'Grosso' are full of wands ready to bud out...'Vera' must come later? Anyways these were all less than 6" tall/wide last year max and since spring the've gotten 2x that size! I pruned back some of the munstead (of course not yet woody) to remove alot of winter-damage, some to 3-4" from base in early spring...and I will harvest wands and prune back again to keep the shape as mentioned above...
Isn't it just irristable walking by and running hands over plants to get a whif? LOL!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 10:17AM
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Thanks for the info. When it stops raining here in ATL, I'm going to give it a hair cut.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 7:22AM
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foofna(zone 6 NJ)

I have a lavender plant that I grew from seed several years ago. Its the only one to have survived, so I never pruned it for fear of killing the poor thing. Now it IS all woody and has an open center just like habitat gardener says. Is it too late to do something with it to make it bushy and pretty again?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 4:49PM
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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

If it's that woody with a dead center I would take cuttings to root and have new plants. Take cuttings about 4" long from non-flowering stems, take off lower leaves and bury stem in straight perlite or good draining mix. Use containers that are at no more than 4" and keep out of direct sunlight (like a shadier area outside or inside in a bright spot. Should root within 3-4 weeks. Grow on and trasplant outdoors after extreme heat has past yet give enough time for roots to anchor before first hard frost.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 5:52PM
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Well ecologica...

I happen to prune into the foliage about 2 to 4" while I harvest wands in spring....Works wonderful for me. I get two rounds of wands per season.
In April I prune a little heavier...sometimes back to 8" as long as I am cutting above newest growth. By mid May they are showing color.
I can only talk about my experience; you can do whatever works for you!

This was pruned to about 8" in April and the pic was taken May 5th; full of buds already...

June 20th...just opposite the first one; treated the same

June 27th different location; treated the same...

June 29th...same as first pic now harvesting wands; repeat wands in late July/early August.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:57AM
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quirkpod(7 Lewisville NC)

Thank you for this thread. My Lavender is overgrown, woody, with lots of deadwood this Spring... due to not pruning it far enough for 5 years. THankfully, some of the longest stems have touched down and rooted! Now I can toss out the old plant and start over the right way. I promise myself to prune it into a neat shrub from now on right after flowering. I grow mine on a mound of rich soil with gravel and lime in it, no mulch, per our local Lavender farm here in NC. I can add the link here once I find it. There is an excellent culture link somewhere in their website.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 5:33PM
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quirkpod(7 Lewisville NC)

Here's the link, as promised, to Sunshine Lavender Farm.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunshine Lavender Farm

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 5:42PM
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mehetabelle(z8/9 CA)

Good to know I'm supposed to prune, and exactly how to do it. I thought lavender would die if pruned, so have not done so for 10 years! I am lucky they didn't die, but ARE huge with very long woody stems. I will try to propagate with stem cuttings.

Should the cuttings be placed vertically in perlite, or horizontally, completely covered by perlite?



    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 6:20PM
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granite(z6 NC)

Vertically, in good draining soil. Take a 4 - 7" cutting and remove the leaves from the bottom 2/3rds. You may dip the end in honey or rooting hormone, then push it into the moist potting soil. Keep it moist but not wet until you see signs of new growth. Some folks like to make a mini-greenhouse for their cuttings using a bag or clear shoebox. If you use the bag be sure to put sticks in the corners of the pot to keep the bag off the greenery.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 11:02PM
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gardenlady48(z5 IL)

Can anyone tell me if it is safe to prune some flowering lavender right now here in Illinois ? I just read a comment that August was the deadline??
Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 6:42PM
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