To determine exactly when to prune, look at the flowers of the lavender plant – by this time of year, they should be dull, grey and bees and other insects will no longer be buzzing around them.
When most of the flowers change in this way, it’s the best time to prune the bush.
For later flowering lavenders, including Lavandula x intermedia like ‘Old English’, you should leave pruning until the following spring.
Online nursery Crocus shared a video of Helen, a plant doctor pruning lavender, and she shared her step-by-step guide.
Helen said: “It’s now late summer, and I’ve got a pot here filled with lavenders that I potted up in the summer and it’s been beautiful.
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“Now that the flowers have faded it’s time to give them their summer prune.
“And the reason I do that is that it just keeps the plant nice and fresh looking, it avoids them getting leggy and bare at the base – lavender, if not clipped back, can start looking gangly and mishappen and often needs replacing.”
She explained: “I’ve only got a few plants here, so I’m going to use a pair of secateurs, if you’ve got a lavender hedge, you can just go over it with a pair of shears.
“The golden rule with lavenders is when you’re pruning them, you don’t cut into old woody growth. You don’t want to cut below this current season’s growth. You can see it’s a slightly different colour.
“You can cut back as hard as you like into the new growth, but don’t cut below as it may not bounce back.
“I’m just going to grab the top of the plant and cut into it. I’m aiming to get a nice rounded dome shape – you can see how much neater it’s looking.”
If not pruned, lavender will get woody, and the plant will look less attractive overall. There will also be less green growth in the following years, and flowering will be reduced.
Furthermore, woody lavender plants are more likely to suffer frost damage or damage due to waterlogging.
If you notice your lavender bush being woody or straggly, it’s usually best replaced as lavender won’t regrow well from older wood.
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What to do with lavender cuttings
Freshen up rugs
The night before, or at least a few hours before you plan to vacuum a rug, sprinkle dried lavender on the area.
Walk over them and crush them to release their fragrance, and leave them to infuse.
Vacuum the lavender flowers up and enjoy the scent. You can also add lavender to a bagless vacuum canister.
Lavender infused oil
This can be used as a massage oil, dabbed on itchy bug bites as well as being rubbed into flaky scalps, or added to bath water.
To make it, fill a jar halfway with dried lavender flowers, and cover it with twice as much of your favourite carrier oil – sunflower, olive, sweet almond, avocado and hemp are recommended.
The shelf life of strained, infused oil is around nine months to a year.
Lavender bath salts
These bath salts are incredibly easy to make, simply add the ingredients to a jar and they make for a last-minute gift idea.
- One cup of Epsom salts
- A quarter cup of sea salt (or more Epsom salts)
- A quarter cup of dried lavender flowers
- A few drops of lavender essential oil.
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