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How and When Should I Prune Lavender?

By: Jessie Keith

“When should I prune lavender?  I tried it at the end of summer last year, but I think I might have cut too far back.” Question from Manda of Florence, Kentucky

Answer: In my experience, lavender has the best regrowth results if one waits to prune until the plants begin to produce fresh spring leaves. It simply bounces back best when it has begun to actively grow. It is a warm-season perennial, so wait until April before trimming it.

The best pruning method is to cut the shrubby top growth back by 1/3, using sharp pruning shears. Try to keep the top rounded to maintain a pleasing, bushy habit. At this time, you will also want to remove any dead or dying stems. Don’t be tempted to cut it back further. If you prune lavender back too far towards the base, it can invite fungal disease and disable the plant from fully recovering to its former glory.

Happy lavender pruning!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

About Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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