Prune Lavender at the Right Time

Patch of Lavender plants showing plants in full bloom
Lavender plants in full bloom
Photo Credit:Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension

Q. I have two lavender plants by our front porch. I’m not sure when to trim them. One time in the fall, I pruned them back and it killed them. I replaced those and the plants are now about two years old. Should I trim/prune them in the fall or spring? If so, how much? – C.G., Knox County

A. Since lavender is only marginally hardy in our area, I would wait to prune them until after new growth begins in spring. As cold as it has been this winter, the plants will likely have considerable dieback, or they may not have survived the below-zero temperatures. After such a winter, spring growth is frequently delayed and it’s easy to mistake live branches for dead when they are still dormant.

Close up of lavender plants showing the plants in full blooms of purple flower clusters
Lavender blooms
Photo Credit:Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension

How far back to cut will depend on the amount of winter damage. In general, you want to cut back to healthy wood to encourage side branching. Wait until new growth is well underway to assess what has survived. Assuming there is active new growth, trim back live stems to healthy sections with live buds. Remove dead or damaged stems.






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