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Can old lavender be revived?

Posted by shelli563 zone 6 MA (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 19, 09 at 18:52

I have a Hidcote lavender that is 8+ years old. It is about 12" tall. It is quite woody, with some new green growth at base, woody stems and some green at the very top. I was thinking of trying to revive the plant by drastically cutting off all the woody stems down to the new green growth at the base. Do you think this will revive the plant or kill it?

Thought I'd give it a go before pulling it up and replacing it...


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can old lavender be revived?

Someone posted on this forum a couple of months ago about reviving old, woody lavender. She said that she cut off about 1/3 of the woody growth (like you're proposing to do) one year, then the remainder the following year.

I've read similar suggestions involving cutting back 1/3 of the woody stems over a 3-year period.

If you have the patience, I think it will be possible to revive your plant.

RE: Can old lavender be revived?

At 8yo, your lavender is quite a geriatric. It's usually recommended to replace lavenders after 5-7 years, though I've known lavenders to live several years longer than that.

I had a large Allardii lavender in my tiny garden a few years ago, and got my gardening friend to chop it out for me. He did so, just leaving the main stem which had grown through a space between the fence palings. To my astonishment, the thing grew back again in no time - but of course it was a much younger plant than the one you're proposing to operate on!

My advice is to take lots of cuttings from it, to create new plants, wait until they're produced roots and look like they'll live on - THEN start chopping back the mother plant. Call it insurance!

RE: Can old lavender be revived?

I do what I call "donut pruning" to try to revive an old, woody plant. First, remove the center of the plant down to the base, hopefully leaving some green at the center. Take your clippings and use any good pieces to root. (Take 4 - 6" cuttings with woody base, dip the woody end in honey or rooting hormone, and place in dirt. Can use a small clear shoebox to "greenhouse" the cuttings). I then push the outside branches of the original plant out a bit more and try to air-layer them for rooting. Wait about a month or so, if successful you'll have new growth at the center and you can remove the outside branches (some of which will have already rooted) and plant them elsewhere. When I did this with a Jean Davis lavender I ended up with over 60 plants.

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