Is there anything more relaxing than the smell of lavender? Not only does it make your home smell wonderful, but it can also be used as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress. And growing this plant in your garden is easy! But one question gardeners often have is whether or not you should cut back lavender for winter?
Well, wonder no more! Below you’ll get the lowdown on when, and how, to prune lavender so that it stays healthy and looks great throughout the colder months. Read on for more information!
Pruning Lavender in the Winter – Yay or Nay?
The resounding answer is no, you should never cut back your lavender in the fall or winter. That’s because pruning stimulates new growth, which is vulnerable to cold weather damage. The plant also has to expend energy on growth that is then removed, meaning it has to regrow come spring. This growth weakens the plant’s resources and can result in a reduced number of flowers, lost vitality, and delayed flowering time.
Additionally, if you want to keep your lavender plant healthy and happy, it’s important to never prune it back to the ground. Doing so can easily kill the plant, as it won’t have enough energy to regrow come spring.
When to Prune
Pruning is an important part of lavender care, as it helps to promote new growth and keep the plant tidy. The timing of pruning depends on whether your plant blooms earlier on in the spring, or later in the summer or fall season.
Lavender That Blooms in the Spring and Early Summer
Prune early blooming lavender in the spring when leaf buds emerge. This allows you to remove spent flowers and branch tips without removing live growth. When the flowers die off, it can be neatened up by pruning to no more than three to five leaf nodes underneath a flower spike.
Lavender That Blooms in the Late Summer and Fall
If your lavender blooms in the late summer or fall, you’ll want to make sure you cut it back before new growth begins. The upper stem typically dies or is damaged from the winter so cutting back the top part of your plant prevents it from wasting useful strength on weaker growth.
To do this, simply prune back the stems to four or five leaf nodes above the ground.
Varieties Of Lavender
Lavender is a versatile plant that comes in many different varieties. While most people are familiar with English lavender, there are also non-English and Lavandin varieties. Each type has its own unique blooming time and period.
The location of the plant also plays a role in when it will bloom. A lavender that blooms early in one place may not bloom until later in another. Here’s a quick guide to help you identify some of the most popular varieties.
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This variety typically blooms in May, June, or July and its flowers will last for three to four weeks.
Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas): This type of lavender usually blooms from April to June and its flowers can last for up to three months.
French lavender (Lavandula dentata): This lavender blooms in early spring and continues through fall (July to August), making it one of the longest-blooming varieties of lavender.
Canary Islands lavender (Lavandula Canariensis): This is a unique variety of lavender that blooms all year round.
Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) is a hybrid of English and Portuguese lavender. This variety typically blooms in June or July and its flowers will last for up to two months.
How to Care for Your Plant
Though often considered to be a difficult plant to grow, lavender is actually quite easy to care for once you know the basics. Here are some tips on how to grow and care for your plant:
Soil and Sun
Lavender prefers well-drained, sandy soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0 and full sun. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, mix in some sand or organic matter to improve drainage. This plant also needs plenty of sunlight to thrive, so choose a planting spot that gets at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day.
Water your lavender deeply but infrequently. This means watering the soil around the plant, not the leaves, and letting the soil dry out in between waterings. This plant is drought tolerant once established, and over-watering is one of the most common mistakes people make when growing lavender.
Pests and Diseases
Lavender is susceptible to very few pests and diseases. Common pests include cuckoo spit (froghoppers), the rosemary beetle, xylella, and sage and ligurian leafhopper. Most of the time, treatment is unnecessary.
Root rot is the most common issue that affects lavender plants. To prevent root rot, make sure you water your plant only when needed.
It’s Pruning Thyme!
Now that you know when the best time to cut back your lavender plant is, get out there and get pruning! With proper care, your plant will thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment. The sweet smell of lavender in your garden is sure to please everyone who visits.
Do you have any tips on how to grow and care for lavender? Share them in the comments below!