How to Prune Lavender: A Clear and Knowledgeable Guide

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 8 min.
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Lavender is a beautiful and fragrant plant that is a popular choice for gardens due to its lovely purple blooms.

However, to keep lavender plants healthy and looking their best, it is important to prune them regularly.

Pruning lavender can seem daunting at first, but with the right technique, it is a simple and rewarding task.

When pruning lavender, it is important to know when and how to do it properly. The best time to prune lavender is in the fall after flowering and in the spring.

By trimming after flowering in the fall, you can prepare the plant for winter and encourage fuller growth in the spring.

Pruning in the spring can help keep the plant looking neat and encourage more blooms.

In this article, we will explore the best methods for pruning lavender to keep it healthy and beautiful.

Understanding Lavender

Lavender is a popular herb that is known for its fragrant and calming properties.

It is often used in aromatherapy, as well as in cooking and crafting.

Before learning how to prune lavender, it is important to understand the different types of lavender and their growth habits.

Types of Lavender

There are many different types of lavender, each with its own unique characteristics.

Some of the most common types of lavender include:

  • English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This type of lavender is often used in essential oils and has a sweet, floral scent.
  • French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas): French lavender has a more pungent scent and is often used in potpourri.
  • Spanish Lavender (Lavandula dentata): Spanish lavender has a distinctive toothed leaf and a strong, camphor-like scent.
  • Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia): Lavandin is a hybrid of English and French lavender and has a stronger, more intense scent than English lavender.

Growth Habits

Lavender is a hardy perennial that is native to the Mediterranean region. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, and can grow up to 3 feet tall.

Lavender typically blooms in mid-summer and can continue blooming into the fall.

When left unpruned, lavender can become woody and leggy, with sparse growth and fewer blooms.

Pruning lavender regularly can help to keep the plant healthy and promote bushier growth and more flowers.

In the next section, we will discuss when and how to prune lavender for best results.

When to Prune Lavender

Lavender is a popular garden plant known for its fragrant, colorful blooms. Pruning is an essential part of maintaining the health and shape of lavender plants.

Proper pruning ensures that the plant produces more flowers and maintains its shape.

The best time to prune lavender is immediately after the plant flowers in summer to early fall. This is when the plant is actively growing, and pruning will encourage new growth.

Pruning at this time helps to keep the plant healthy and looking its best.

It is also recommended to give lavender plants a second pruning later in the season if they produce an additional flush of flowers.

This second pruning helps to keep the plant from becoming too leggy and encourages more flowers to bloom.

It is important to note that pruning too late in the season can harm the plant, as it needs time to recover before winter.

Pruning too early can also be detrimental, as the plant may not have enough time to produce new growth before winter.

In summary, lavender plants should be pruned immediately after flowering in summer to early fall. A second pruning later in the season can also be helpful.

Pruning at the right time ensures that the plant remains healthy, produces more flowers, and maintains its shape.

Tools for Pruning

When it comes to pruning lavender, having the right tools is essential. Using the wrong tools can damage the plant, leading to poor growth and potentially killing it.

Here are the two essential tools for pruning lavender:

Hand Pruners

Hand pruners are the most important tool for pruning lavender. They are used to cut stems and branches up to ¾ inch in diameter.

Look for a pair of sharp, high-quality pruners that fit comfortably in your hand. The blades should be made of high-quality steel and should be easy to sharpen.

It’s also important to keep the blades clean and oiled to prevent rust.


Gloves are the second essential tool for pruning lavender. They protect your hands from the sharp edges of the lavender leaves and stems and also protect you from any potential allergens that the plant may produce.

Look for gloves that fit snugly but are not too tight. They should be made of a durable material that can withstand the wear and tear of pruning.

When choosing gloves, consider the type of material they are made of. Leather gloves are a good choice for pruning because they are durable and provide good protection. However, they can be heavy and hot to wear.

Synthetic gloves are a lighter option and can be more comfortable to wear, but they may not be as durable as leather gloves.

In summary, having the right tools for pruning lavender is essential. Hand pruners and gloves are the two most important tools for the job.

When choosing hand pruners, look for a pair that is sharp, high-quality, and fits comfortably in your hand.

When choosing gloves, consider the type of material they are made of and make sure they fit snugly but are not too tight.

Pruning Steps

Pruning lavender plants is essential to keep them healthy, full, and blooming year after year.

Here are the steps to follow for pruning your lavender plants:

Removing Old Flower Stalks

The first step in pruning lavender is to remove the old flower stalks. This helps to promote new growth and prevents the plant from becoming woody.

To do this, simply cut off the old flower stalks just above the first set of leaves. Be sure to use sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts, which will help prevent damage to the plant.

Shaping the Plant

Once the old flower stalks have been removed, it’s time to shape the plant. This step is important to keep the plant looking neat and tidy.

To shape the plant, use your pruning shears to trim the top and sides of the plant, creating a rounded shape.

Be sure to leave at least one-third of the plant’s foliage intact to avoid stressing the plant.

Hard Pruning

Finally, if your lavender plant is overgrown or has become too woody, it may be time for a hard pruning.

This involves cutting the plant back to just a few inches above the ground. While this may seem extreme, it can actually help to rejuvenate the plant and promote new growth.

Hard pruning should only be done once every few years to avoid stressing the plant.

In summary, pruning lavender plants is essential to keep them healthy and blooming year after year.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your lavender plants looking their best.

Post Pruning Care

After pruning lavender, it is important to take proper care of the plant to ensure its continued health and growth.

This section will cover two key aspects of post-pruning care: watering and fertilizing.


Proper watering is essential for the health of lavender plants. After pruning, it is important to water the plant deeply and thoroughly.

This will help to ensure that the roots receive the necessary moisture to support new growth.

However, it is important not to overwater the plant. Lavender plants prefer well-draining soil and can be susceptible to root rot if they are overwatered.

As a general rule, it is best to water lavender plants deeply once a week, or more frequently during hot, dry weather.


Fertilizing lavender plants can help to promote healthy growth and maximize flowering. After pruning, it is a good idea to fertilize the plant with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

It is important to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully, as over-fertilizing can damage the plant.

As a general rule, it is best to fertilize lavender plants once a month during the growing season.

In addition to fertilizing, it is also a good idea to amend the soil around the plant with compost or other organic matter.

This can help to improve soil quality and provide the plant with the necessary nutrients to support healthy growth.

Overall, with proper watering and fertilizing, lavender plants can recover quickly from pruning and continue to thrive year after year.

Common Pruning Mistakes

Pruning lavender plants can be a tricky task, and there are a few common mistakes that people make which can lead to stunted growth and reduced flower production.

Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:

1. Over-pruning

One of the most common mistakes people make when pruning lavender is to over-prune the plant.

This can happen when people cut back the plant too severely, removing too much of the foliage and leaving the plant looking bare.

Over-pruning can lead to stunted growth and reduced flower production, so it’s important to be careful when pruning.

2. Pruning at the wrong time

Another common mistake is pruning the plant at the wrong time. Lavender plants should be pruned in late summer or early spring, after the flowers have faded.

Pruning at the wrong time can lead to reduced flower production and can also damage the plant.

3. Using dull or dirty pruning shears

Using dull or dirty pruning shears can also be a common mistake when pruning lavender. Dull shears can damage the plant, while dirty shears can spread disease.

It’s important to use sharp, clean pruning shears to ensure a clean cut and to prevent the spread of disease.

4. Not pruning regularly

Finally, not pruning regularly can also be a mistake. Regular pruning helps to keep the plant healthy and encourages new growth.

It’s important to prune the plant regularly to prevent it from becoming too woody and to encourage new growth and flower production.

By avoiding these common pruning mistakes, gardeners can ensure that their lavender plants remain healthy and produce a bountiful harvest of fragrant flowers.


Pruning lavender is an essential task to keep the plant healthy and promote optimal growth and flowering.

The process involves removing spent flowers, cutting back the stems, and shaping the plant. It is crucial to prune lavender at the right time and in the right way to avoid damaging the plant.

When pruning lavender, it is essential to use sharp and clean pruning shears. Always cut back to a leaf node, and avoid cutting into the woody part of the stem.

Prune lavender in the spring or early summer after the first flush of flowers has faded.

Regular pruning will help keep the plant compact and bushy, promoting more flowers and preventing woody, leggy growth.

In summary, pruning lavender is a simple process that can make a big difference in the health and appearance of the plant.

By following the proper techniques and timing, gardeners can enjoy beautiful, fragrant lavender year after year.