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Pruning Large Woody Lavender

hardyahardya Posts: 2

Firstly I am completely ignorant of plant management

We have an English lavender which has become very large and very woody.  I guess it is actually 3 or 4 plants orginally.

In the summer it flowers, grows huge and has literally hundreds of bees all over it.  We always forget to prune it in autumn and then in the winter get tired of the fact we cannot walk along the path any more and hack it back purely to gain access to the path.

It seems to survive (in a sense) because every year it flowers and the bees love it and it looks and smells lovely.

But I am wondering whether we ought to employ some intelligent strategy to the pruning.  The plants are  getting very large and very wood at the bottom and there are more and more off shoot off off shoots off off shoots if you know what I mean.

We'd like to keep it for summers but it is getting rather unmanageable.  Any advice for this worse than novice would be appreciated.




  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    I have some the same.

    They usually say not to prune back to old wood as it often doesn't really sprout from it again. It's 50/50 in my opinion, take a chance with hacking it back and it might rejuvenate it, else it is start again.

    It is relatively easy to take some summer cuttings off an old plant. So my plan is to let my old woody ones grow this year, and take some cuttings to start afresh next year. This time though I will keep them in check every year so they don't get so woody and old looking. image

  • I agree with Gemma - it's not usually successful to cut lavender back hard and in any event lavender isn't usually a long-lived plant.   I'd take some cuttings this summer and grow on some new plants then in 2016 you can replace your old plants with new ones.  And this time you'll keep them trimmed back every year (directly after flowering) so that they don't outgrow their space image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • I have fallen for not pruning, but  two years ago collected the seed, and germinated it straight away.

    Now have dozens and dozens of seedlings ,which flowered last year . So made it a win win.situation

    Also the added bonus of more stronger hybrid plants like F1's, which cost a fortune and who knows sometimes a world beater new type is produced by the bees.efforts.

    However to keep the plants looking as if we are in charge then pruning is a must.

  • Thanks everyone, I appreciate it.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,051

    I too am in the , whip it out and start again , camp. they're not expensive to buy and you can improve the soil at the same time.

  • If there are several growth points on the plants, then bury the Lavender in a large pot/trough. Over the next few months it will form roots and you will have several Lavender plants to try again.

  • I might be woody, Verd, but I am certainly not leggy.image

  • Linda C2Linda C2 Posts: 2

    I started a question in a lavender blog but then had to stop & sign up, which took away that particular blog.  Fallen lavender was the topic and though I can't find the original discussion this is my contribution:

    Good Morning - I just found this web site, in looking into why my lavender collapses in the middle & spreads way out on the ground. Almost looks like a cat had been lying in the middle of the plant, when it starts, but then, eventually at time passes, all the 'rows' bend outward until it forms a circle on the ground, or a 'bowl'. They eventually rise back up, though not perfectly straight, but still nice, & full. Seems to do so after heavy rains or wind.

    Just curious - would it help to place a small piece of fencing for support around the circumference?  Also, I prune mine down to the ground each fall, & each Spring they rise in full glory. But I'm reading here about an entirely different type of pruning as well as something about not touching 'old wood'. I'm finding all this very interesting & wondered if anyone has any ideas or comments on mine.  

    I've had two different kinds of lavender through the years - one died & I replaced it with, as it turns out, a different variety, but now I have the same on both sides of the porch - just not sure what variety!  image  And though they don't have the beautiful soft fragrance the first ones had, they are gorgeous! And I am awed at the pollination process - the bees 'visit' to pollinate, but do not bother anyone, & I find this whole process just amazing!! I just miss the fragrance!


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