Pruning is the process of cutting off old or dead growth from your lavender plants in order to keep them nice and healthy. It should be done at least once a year either in the early spring just after the plants have begun to bloom or late fall after they have finished blooming. Yep, they look a little sad after the snow melts but with a little TLC most plants will make a glorious comeback. Here at Little Lamb Lavender in Northern BC, where the winters are harsh with intense freezes, it is best to prune in the early spring to help the plants recover from the crazy cold winters. This year we pruned in the third week of May.
Pruning will help keep your lavender plants happy and healthy in a few different ways. When you remove the old or dead growth, the new growth has less competition and should grow better, bigger, and healthier. Think “out with the old and in with the new”. Removing old growth is important as it may attract unhealthy critters and in the worst cases, cause disease. It also allows for more air flow throughout your plant which contributes to a healthier lavender plant. To top it all off, it tidies up your plant and makes it look better.
All you need to prune your lavender plants are a pair of garden shears. Begin cutting off old branches about ½ to ⅔ of the way down the stems, unless there are new blooms on these stems. Do not cut below the new blooms, just clip a couple inches above the new blooms instead. While pruning, it is important not to cut the woody base of your lavender plant. If you do, it might not be able to regenerate. It's also a good idea to keep in mind the shape of your lavender plant while pruning. Try to shape the plant into a dome, with the middle branches being the longest and the branches on the outside the shortest.
Pruning can feel a little scary to a beginner as you don’t want to damage the plant. As you get going, you'll see how much better your plant looks and feels! It's also quite therapeutic as it fosters growth, healing and regeneration. And this gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Now get those shears and just go for it.