Advice wanted re: pruning Lavenders

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

In my rock garden I have several beautiful Lavenders- some are volunteers. Obviously they are very happy in their homes! The first 2 photos are of the same plant- nearly a 5 foot circle-it is swallowing the boulder! The other 3 are in the same area but not as big. My questions are WHEN to prune, and HOW FAR BACK? In order to have them stay shapely do they need cutting back to about 12" or so, or will that kill them? I appreciate all help. Thanks- Jo in Richland WA

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Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Generally speaking, you can cut back the old stems just about anytime after flowering. Cut stems a few inches below the point of the old flowers for a more compact shape. Shape the plant into a slightly mounded cushion. You can trim out dead growth anytime to improve circulation.

(Zone 7a)

I agree with Cville, but would add a couple of things -

With regard to "HOW FAR BACK" to make a pruning cut, don't go below the last green shoot closest to the crown. Especially for cultivars that are borderline-hardy to where you live, this is best done in late winter or early spring when new growth is just beginning to appear.

With regard to WHEN to prune, some types of woody Mediterranean shrubs, if pruned late in the fall, may collect water over the winter in the twigs and branches, which could diminish chances of survival over the winter - again, this is particularly true for some plants that are borderline-hardy for your area like some lavenders or sages.

Having said the foregoing, the plant might still live if this advice is not followed, but I think this optimizes chances of success.

I do wish I had followed Cville's advice for pruning later in the summer now and then, because our lavender could have used more air at the base and better shaping.

Am currently getting some nice rebloom on Hidcote.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I want to prune my Lavender this year. It is very healthy and blooms prolifically, But, the plants get really large and the inside of the plant gets rather woody and unsightly. I'd like to keep it a little more attractive.

So, is this the time I should be pruning my Lavender? I'm zone 6b.

And, you mention cutting to the "green stem closest to the ground". So, if I don't see any "green" then, should I wait?

Above it mentions "late winter". I'd say this is late winter--early spring here right now. Big box stores just get their pansies in.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I find it best to prune after it has flowered. Once lavender has formed wood, it usually does not rejuvenate from there when pruned.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

YES, i know--so per above comments, I need to prune to the top of where it starts to turn green.

Doesn't lavender evetually get "woody" no matter what??

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

After 12 years, my lavenders got to the "woody no matter what" stage and were just too sprawling & unsightly... I gulped hard last fall and pulled them out. I'll be putting in new plants this spring, but it'll take a couple of years before they put on the show that we got from our mature lavender hedge!

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

critter, I am digging mine out also. I pruned most of them back and they aren't coming back. Even if they do, they are so woody they won't be pretty. I think I will just plan to replace them every few years from now on.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

That time does come, it seems.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I'm glad it's not just due to something I did or didn't do with them! While I loved the huge 'Arp' plants along the edge of the driveway, I'm thinking of replacing them with something a bit more compact, like 'Provence'. We'll see what DeBaggio's has this spring!

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