To prune or not to prune?

Pruning – what is it?

When you cut all the blooms off of the lavender plants, that’s harvesting.  Pruning is something different.  Pruning is necessary to keep the lavender plants in producing shape.  A lavender plant doesn’t have to be pruned to live, but pruning is extremely beneficial.

Lavender is a woody perennial, so as it grows, the old growth turns hard and woody.  The new growth is green wood and still flexible.  When you prune your lavender, the goal is to cut the plant back so just a little (about an inch) of the green wood is left, and cut it into a mound shape.  This allows the plant to have green wood to grow on next year and allows you to shape the plant.  If the plant is not pruned or shaped, the limbs will begin to sprawl, lay open, and produce less and less.  You may want that look and you don’t have to do anything to get it!    But if you want to keep your  plant producing blooms, you need to prune every year.

We recommend plants be pruned in the fall in our area.  You can use scissors or any other clippers you can keep control over.  You want to make sure you don’t let the clippers get away from you.

Here are examples of how much we cut off of our plants (click to view larger pictures).  We tried gas powered hedge trimmers at first (because of the number of plants we have), but they did not allow us to keep control of shaping our first year plants.  They might work better on larger plants and we’ll try them again next year.  We used battery powered grass shears and they worked great.