Prune lavender in four easy steps to encourage a ‘second period’ of flowering

Gardening tips: Expert on how to grow lavender at home

1. Timing

Left to grow on their own, lavender can become woody and ungainly, which makes pruning an extremely important job.

However, timing of the job is key for gardeners in order to keep the plant nice and healthy, according to a gardener.

Tim Marshall, head gardener at Raby Castle and Estate, told “Prune your lavenders in the early spring after the last frost or in the late summer/early autumn after they have finished flowering.”

Gardeners should avoid pruning lavender during the winter months as it could “damage” the plant.

2. Trimming

When pruning, make sure to use clean, sharp secateurs or shears before removing around one-third of the plant’s overall height.

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The expert noted: “Trim back any dead or damaged branches to the base of the plant. Try to avoid pruning back into old wood which has no foliage.”

3. Shape the lavender

Tim continued: “Consider the desired shape of your lavender plant, usually a rounded or mounded form.

“Trim the outer branches to maintain this shape, cutting just above a leaf node or lateral branch junction.”

Shaping the lavender can help to keep the garden nice and tidy as well as helping to avoid the lavender becoming out-of-hand.

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4. Pruning after flowering

The gardener explained: “Once the flowers have faded, trim the flower stems down to just above the first set of leaves. This will encourage new growth and a potential second period of flowering.”

Even if pruned annually, older lavender plants can become straggly, woody and misshapen, meaning in some cases, it is best to replace the entire plant.

If gardeners forget to prune their lavender after summer has finished, then it’s best to wait until the following spring, especially for less hardy French, Spanish and Italian lavenders.

Judith Hann, author of Herbs, explained: “The normal advice is to replace plants when they become leggy, usually after three to five years. But I avoid having to do this by cutting right back into the wood.

“I have not lost a lavender plant yet in the 20 years they have been growing in my garden.”

Although not often recommended, it can be a good way to encourage lavender to grow.

Gardeners should also make sure to water their lavender during the summer months, but avoid drowning the plant.

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