Rows of scented lavender are a common sight in Europe. Lavender grows wild in the Mediterranean so it’s no wonder it has become a very common but romantic landscape plant here in California with our Mediterranean weather.
There are lots of things to love about this plant. It is pest free, tolerates dry conditions - even thrives on it. It has a natural bush shape with a blue gray color that gives depth to the landscape and it sends out shoots of scented lavender spikes every year that have medicinal and herbal use for us and our pets.
KRISTINE’S TIPS ON WHEN TO PRUNE:
- The best time to prune early blooming lavender is in spring after the first flush of growth. This will help you distinguish live wood from the dead wood, which is what you want to prune out. If you prune to early, you could significant reduce the amount of bloom you get!
- You can also prune early season bloomers just after they flower. That is when plants should be deadheaded and shaped. It is fairly simple if you remember:
- For late blooming lavenders, prune them once a year in March or April, before new growth appears. This will make it tricky to distinguish the new growth from the old, but a good rule of thumb is to cut the plant back to 4 or 5 leaf nodes above ground.
HOW TO PRUNE:
- Deadheading all of the flowers on lavender can be fairly time consuming if done one at a time. The best method. Simply grab a handful of spent blooms and cut them all at once.
- If you want to shape your plant, or control the size, cut three to five leaf nodes below each flower spike.
- Don’t cut lavender back to the ground – they don’t initiate growth from the roots, and you may end up killing your plant!
- Never prune lavender, or other sub shrubs, in winter.
TIP: Never prune sub shrubs in fall or winter. With sub shrubs, however, if you cut them all the way back in fall, or even lightly prune them, this will cause significant damage: Energy which should be used to prepare the plant for winter will be expended creating new growth, probably resulting in the demise of the plant.
TIP: What is a sub-shrub? A sub-shrub is typically a plant that demonstrates some of the characteristics of both woody and herbaceous plants: They have a woody structure that produces herbaceous new growth during the growing season. This is important to know because it means that they can’t be treated like either a woody plant, or an herbaceous one! Typically, herbaceous plants are lightly pruned during the growing season, and then cut back to the ground in fall. For woody plants, most maintenance and pruning is done in the late winter.
Explore the rest of Episode 903