Lavender is one of the most popular scent flowers grown in the world. It’s unique scent, relatively easy growth, and lovely colors are all reasons they’ve become popular. Growing these plants is fun, easy, and rewarding.
Growing Conditions for Lavender
The two most important things for successfully growing lavender is soil drainage and acidity. Your soil should have plenty of drainage and be free of sogginess. Use compost or uneven soil additives to create air pockets and create a looser, more friable soil.
Soil pH is also very important. It should be balanced between 6.5 and 7.5. Too acidic and the lavender will look unhealthy, too alkaline and the plant will be undernourished.
Benefits of Pruning Lavender
The greatest reason to prune lavender is to create a stronger, healthier plant. It seems contradictory to cut back a plant in order to make it stronger, but cutting back the stems allows the plant to direct its energy towards stronger stems and more leaves, which means better use of the available resources for the plant.
Pruning also allows you the chance to control the plant’s size and general shape and it keeps new stems from crowding out older ones, causing them to yellow as they get blocked from the light. It keeps the stems from getting woody and increases the amount of flowering it will do, since flowers only appear on new growth.
How to Prune Lavender
The best time to prune is early in the spring when the first new growth begins to appear. This shows that the plant is awakened from dormancy and ready for action.
Using sharp shears, cut the plant back about 1/3 (more or less, according to your size wishes for the plant). Remember that the plant will likely grow two to three feet during the season – depending on the length of the season, type of lavender, and other factors. Most plants can come close to doubling their size in one year if well nourished.
Cut carefully so as to make the cleanest cuts on the stems possible. This will give them the chance to grow back quickly.
A good pruning every year will make for a more beautiful plant with better flower and scent yields while giving you more control over the plant’s size and shape.
When to Prune Lavender
As stated, prune early in the spring. If new growth has already come in by several inches, you may need to wait until harvest or risk losing many of your flowers. Do not prune too late in the year or the plant may die through dehydration over the winter. It’s better to have an unwieldy plant for a year than it kill it through late pruning.