My big lavender plant had put out LOTS of long shoots all reaching for the sun. I will pick a lot soon to get at the weeds underneath, but I am leaving a lot on in the hope that more flowers will open. I dry them and infuse the blossoms in honey or vodka (to be mixed with wine later)..
Meanwhile, my tiny little lavender plants are putting out blossoms of a deep purple.
Aren't they cute? I think so.
Best time to pick the Lavenders for drying is before the flowers are in full colour or just after you see the first flowers show colour, the plants will open their flowers further when hung up to dry, that way you keep the perfume and intense colour on the spikes when dry.
As you cut the last of your flower stems it is a good time to take the garden sheers and cut back all the flowering parts (not cut into the brown wood) it wont regrow from the brown wood.
This type of cut back will help the plant make new flowering stems and tidy up the plant at seasons end.
Good luck. WeeNel.
Heather, what is picture #2? Such large flowers! Nice close up, too.
I have one of the French lavenders (L. dentata) and something else with smooth edge leaf that is about 2.5'-3' (leaves) and over 4' (flowers). This one is fragrant, and has darker flowers than many. The L. dentata is not very fragrant, especially compared to the other one.
Since I have lost the tags (well, they are probably in the soil next to the plant) I have no idea which varieties they are.
At my Father's house we just relandscaped the front, and included Munstead. It is in full bloom, and makes a nice contrast to the several yellow flowering plants he asked for.
I have been cutting back the long flower stems to about the same length as the leafy stems - I have a nice rounded bush during fall and winter. (It's kind of thrilling the way the flower bearing stems grow way longer than the bush as a whole.)
I think these specialist stems are what you mean by " the flowering parts".
BTW I think you are telling me to pick off the rest of the flowers now - what I am seeing is those long lavender clusters with only some of the florets open - I'll take a picture. I recently took off only those flower stems that had bindweed all over them and got a full basket. I work the dry flowers and flower buds off of them, jar those for use pretty soon, then take the leftover stem for incorporation into compost. When I take most of them off I will hang them upside down for drying but the bindweed did not allow it with this batch.
PAgirl, the big bush is Munstead, but I did not grow from seed - I am impressed you did! No, that plant was two and a half times the little one's size three and a half years ago and had no flowers until last summer.
Diana, the little one with the darker purple blossoms ( 2) is I think Hidecote - I am told the bushes will grow to be as huge as my Munstead.
I am going to have to have another look at the leaf on both types -I think they both have smooth leaves. Good luck with your father's non - dentata!
Ah... thanks, Heather. I guess I planted Munstead for my Father. Fairly long flower spike, greyer leaf.
I know they are both dwarf forms of L. angustifolia, with smooth leaves. Now I can tell them apart!
Hi angst, At this time of year it should be just dried flowering stems you have and yes you should cut those down to nice grey / green foliage because IF you when you prune Lavender, you should never cut into woody stems as these don't recover and send out nice new grey / green foliage, I normally take scissors to cut all the parts I need to remove but do it gently with lavender as you can always go back and give it another trim, rather than remove tooooo much, as the years pass you will just learn what to remove without even thinking about it.
At this rime it is a good moment to tidy the soil around the plants and remove any leaf droppings or other rubbish that can cause these woody stems to become soft with decay due to wet leaves or other rubbish keeping the stems etc wet over winter IF you get these conditions in your area.
I agree- you can remove flowered stems into the plant a bit, removing some leaves, but not down to bare wood. Recovery is fast when you cut to where there are still leaves, but very slow if you cut down to bare wood.
Any brown parts should be removed, even if this does mean cutting back into bare wood, as long as you are sure there will not be any recovery somewhere along the stem. It is worthwhile cutting perhaps half way back into something that is in between the 'known dead/brown' and the bare wood. If there is going to be something sprouting that will open up the plant to let some light into the branch, and then you can prune it better once you see where it sprouts, if it does. Or cut it back harder if you figure out that branch is dead all the way down.
Sometimes it is obvious why there is dead wood (ie- the branch is broken) but other times an odd branch here and there might die for no known reason. Just to be sure you might dip your pruning shears into something to sterilize them between cuts if you are pruning plants that have these 'unknown dead branches'.
Great advice from Diana _k re sterilising your tools as the last thing you need is a spread of any disease, next time you use the tool you might spread a fungus or something to another plant without realising it.
Good luck. WeeNel.
You can either wipe very carefully with the surgical wipes we use for our hands, that will do for say a small patch of mould, but for things like fungal diseases that you have to cut repeatedly to remove, I stick my pruning blade end into a bucket with surgical spirit, diluted household bleach ect, but don't leave them sitting in these strong liquid products or you will damage your tools, After you dry any cleaned tool you should always dry them well AND then oil them well, make sure you have oiled all the moving parts, the other stuff to use is called here in UK Jyzes fluid, that is a liquid product you use for cleaning gardening tools, washing out greenhouses at season end and paved footpaths, it kills of any hibernating insects that can cause greenhouse problems the following year if not washed, it will stain plastic, so make sure you keep it well away from house and use old jar or bucket you don't mind being discoloured. protective gloves are a must for all types of sterilisation.
I'm sure others can help you out with other products for sterilising tools and maybe even pouring boiling water over the implement, but no matter what you use, make sure you use oil after or your tools may sieze up and as they don't come cheap, it's always worth caring for them, I try to clean and oil my tools at winter after my last clear up.
Bleach, Lysol (the original one), rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or, if you know you are dealing with a fungus then a dilution of the fungicide known to be active against the disease.
But as so clearly pointed out above, at the end of the pruning session wash, dry and oil the tools. The sterilizing products are not good for them. I use WD40 or motor oil. Apply the oil, then allow it to run off; it can harm the plants during the next pruning session.
The Winter 2014 casualty report is that the two small lavenders and my great big rosemary did not survive. However, my big Munstead lavender is coming back full strength, but seems to be growing new branches rather than re- greening the old- the old, or at least some of them, are brown and withered under the new with very little green on them.
I will try to send a picture in the oncoming days, but the question is do I prune these branches away and when?
For now I am hiding from the heat, missing winter.
Well that turned out to be wrong, and the old, woody looking branches are putting out leaves and the long flower stems.
The flower stems have just begun to show color on some of them ( the rest are green) and from what Nel said above I should take the stems and hang them upside down to dry them, then use them for ??? whatever. so almost like deadheading they will put out more flower stems!