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How do I prune leggy lavender please?

Hi - I'd be grateful for advice on how I should prune leggy lavender.

I've got quite a few lavenders, a good few years old now, mostly in pots, and many of them are now very woody and leggy. They bloom only from the top, but the 'legs' can be up to two feet long and make the plants very straggly and unscenic.


I'd love to prune them, but dimly remember reading that you shouldn't prune into the old leggy wood, or it won't regrow? I guess I could experiment on one, and see what happens, but it would be nice to hear more expert opinions from you guys if possible. image

Many thanks.

PS - is it just me and my rubbish gardening, or has this been a really poor year for lavenders? I thought it might be either me, or the weather here in the south east, but my brother's lavender in Cornwall is also pretty rubbish this year too, and his plants are in much better, bushier conditon than my leggy ones. So maybe it's just a bad year in general??


  • My lavender has done very well this year and is still in flower. Are they in the right medium? They need very good drainage and full sun. I use a 50/50 mix of compost and sharp sand for potted lavender. As for pruning your memory serves you we'll, cutting into old wood will just see the stem die off. From your description I'd be tempted to start again and take some cuttings and pot them up fresh next year. It's not too late to take them and it's easy ( see the how too section on this site) .

    it's possible to salvage them, you get a mix of sharp sand and compost and pile it up over the base of the plant to a depth of 4-6 inches and by next year you will get new growth coming from the base, then you can prune back to the new growth. So you have a choice.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    jenny, you are right, you must not prune into the woody material; leave some green. I believe that commercial growers replace their plants every 5/7 years, it may be time for you to do this. You could take cuttings of the existing ones though.image

  • I had some in pots which had got quite pot bound, I used a pruning saw to take off an inch from the bottom of the roots and about half an inch from the sides of the roots, then repotted them. They responded by sending up new growth from the centre.

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