Which Month Should I Prune Lavender?

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Which Month Should I Prune Lavender?

Lavender should be pruned in August once the lavender flowers have faded from blue to grey. Lavender can be pruned into old wood provided there are small green shoots showing in the woody part of the plant. French Lavender and Spanish Lavender are less hardy and should be pruned in May. In this article, we look at which month you should prune lavender and why?

There are many conflicting views on lavender pruning but I think we are all agreed that the best time to prune Lavender is in August. The controversy starts when deciding how deep into the plant you can prune.

Lavenders can quickly encroach on paths, lawns and other plants so giving the plant a good prune can keep them in check and provide a nice mounded shrub for the winter months. Pruning in August allows the plant to recover quickly while there is still some warm weather in the subsequent weeks. This recovery helps protect the lavender from the ravishes of winter.

Tip: Use sharp secateurs for a clean cut, ensuring the wood doesn’t tear which could allow an infection to seep in. Consider using a pair of cordless secateurs rather than loppers to cut through the tough woody part of the plant.

A Quick Guide to Pruning Lavenders

  • Prune English Lavender in August or after the flowers have faded.
  • Cut back to the tiny green shoots low down into the plant.
  • French and Spanish lavenders should be pruned in May.
  • Use sharp secateurs to avoid tearing the woody stems.
  • English Lavender can be pruned back later than August if the weather is forecast to be warm for a month.

Which Lavender do I Have?

Pruning lavender – Is it English, French or Spanish Lavender?

There are three main types of lavender: English lavender, French lavender and Spanish lavender. English lavender is easily distinguished from its European cousins, as it has a straight-up uniform flower. However, French and Spanish lavenders have slightly different flowers and leaf characteristics.

English Lavender

English lavender thrives in poor free-draining soils and can cope with either sandy (acidic soils) or Chalky (Alkaline soils). It is the most aromatic of the lavenders and is used in aromatherapy

pruning english lavender

French Lavender

French lavender is also called Spanish lavender and vice versa. However, there is a difference, traditionally french lavender has a narrower flower that leads to the well-known butterfly winged pink flower on the top. These petals are smaller than that of its Spanish cousins. French lavender prefers more alkaline soils. French lavender is less hardy and should be pruned in May to keep the plant in check if necessary.

pruning french lavender

Spanish Lavender

Spanish lavender has a stunning flower that is almost pineapple in shape, with larger butterfly winged petals on top. Spanish lavenders prefer sandy, more acidic soils than french lavenders and should be pruned in May as they are less hardy than the English lavender.

how to prune french and spanish lavender