How to Prune Lavender - Backyard Boss
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How to Prune Lavender

Lavender plants are a fragrant and beautiful addition to your garden. While they are easy to grow and care for, they do need to be pruned allowing light to pass through the foliage and help your plants grow and thrive.

Lavender boast many benefits, from repelling snakes to attracting pollinators. And whether you’d like to add them to bouquets, dried floral arrangements, baked goods, or your own essential oils, proper care is crucial. Fortunately, this guide has compiled the best tips and tricks to help you determine when and how to prune your lavender, as well as some important details to ensure the process goes off without a hitch.

Tools You’ll Need

lavender and pruning shears in a basket
Image credits: Proxima13 via Shutterstock

Lavender plants are quite easy to prune, but there are a few tools you’ll need to gather to get the job done. Below, you’ll find all the essentials.

When to Prune Lavender

Close up of flowering lavender
Image credits: Marut Homtawee via Unsplash

The best time to prune lavender is in the spring and late summer. You should prune lavender twice a year to help it hold its shape. Lavender should be trimmed after flowering in the summer and again in the spring. Otherwise, the plants can become leggy and woody, which can have a negative impact on its lifespan and ability to grow new blooms.

Lavender only requires a light trim in its first year, though it’s a crucial step in creating the proper shape and encouraging new growth. Fresh lavender plants should be pruned in their first summer, which you’ll learn all about below.

How to Prune Lavender in the Summer

hands prune lavender
Image credits: Ground Picture via Shutterstock

After your lavender plant flowers in the summer, it’s time to prune it. For young and mature plants, the process can be quite different. For both, you’ll need a sanitized pair of pruning shears and gardening gloves.

To prune a new plant, gently cut each stem back by a third, ensuring that there is still plenty of green on the plant. You should also try to create a dome shape to help the plant grow, keeping stems longer in the center and shorter around the sides.

If your plant is mature, the pruning process is a bit easier. Instead of cutting one stem at a time, you can grab handfuls of the plant and snip them off. Again, remove about a third of the stem and leaving plenty of green. Avoid cutting the stems back to the woody base as this can affect how the plant survives through the winter, and its ability to regrow.

How to Prune Lavender in the Spring

Gardener's hands in gloves with garden shears. Pruning lavender in the fall.
Image credit: Olena Siemer via Shutterstock

Pruning lavender in the spring looks a bit different, but it’s just as important. This should be done early in the spring to ensure the plant has plenty of time to develop new growth. Start by taking a stem and looking for the woody base — its length will depend on the plant’s age and how well it has been pruned in the past.

While you’ll still need a sharp pair of pruning shears, you’ll cut the stem around 2 to 3 inches from the woody base. Again, you can chop handfuls at a time; try to create a rounded shape. Any dead branches should be completely removed.

Tips for Pruning Lavender

Woman carrying basket of freshly pruned lavender
Image credits: Asssum via Pixabay

If you want to harvest the flowers, you should do so in the summer when around half the buds are in bloom. Otherwise, you shouldn’t prune the plant until the flowers have faded. If you want to dry the flowers, tie the stems into bunches and hang them upside down. Also, if you harvest lavender just as it has flowered, you may get a second flush of flowers.

Over time, lavender plants can become more and more woody and leggy. If you notice this, after around three to five years of growing your plant, you may want to cut the plant down and start again from scratch. You can also cut the plant right back to the wood in the spring to give it another chance.

Get Your Prune On!

Knowing how to prune lavender is essential if you want the plant to thrive for years to come. It requires pruning twice a year to ensure it doesn’t become woody and leggy. So, if you want to maintain its heavenly fragrance and beneficial properties, be sure to give it a gentle trim every spring and summer.

Whether you grow lavender in containers or in your garden, it’s a wonderful addition to your favorite baked goods and is well known for its therapeutic benefits. Plus, it’s easy to grow as long as you follow the proper pruning techniques!

Do you have lavender in your garden? Let us know how these pruning tips helped you!