Lavender is one of the most popular garden plants. As soon as the subshrub has faded, you should reach for the scissors. The chances of a second bloom in late summer are quite good.
Lavender brings Mediterranean flair to the garden like no other plant. By the end of July to the beginning of August, most of the flower shoots have faded. Then you should not waste time and consistently cut off the old flowering every summer.
When to cut faded lavender?
Lavender has a densely leafy, bushy base from which the almost bare flower shoots sprout in the course of spring and early summer. The flowering plants are 20 to 30 centimeters ( 8 to 12 in) above the gray leafy side shoots. When these shoots have faded, consistently cut them back to the bushy, leafy part of the plant. Most amateur gardeners follow a one-third-two-thirds rule when pruning lavender. It states that you should cut the plants back by one-third in the summer and two-thirds in the spring. It is somewhat inaccurate, because the flower shoots are often as long as the base of the bush is high. Therefore, it is better to use it as a guideline.
The right time is also important: do not wait until all the lavender flowers have faded. The sooner you cut back the Mediterranean subshrub, the better it will sprout new growth. In long summers, there is often a second, somewhat weaker bloom from the end of August or beginning of September.
How to cut back withered lavender
If you are using regular pruning shears for summer pruning, take a clump of shoots in your hand and cut it off at the bottom. You don’t have to cut exactly “on eye” with lavender. Just make sure you cut it no lower than the bushy base of the shrub.
If you have a lot of individual lavenders or a bed border of lavender in your garden, pruning with manual hedge shears is much faster. Use them to trim all the shoots accordingly and then sweep the clippings together with a leaf rake. Individual cut shoots that remain on the plants, you can carefully sweep out with a leaf broom.
Withered lavender: the right care after cutting.
To ensure that your lavender sprouts well and blooms a second time, water it immediately after pruning. If it is dry, you should also regularly reach for the watering can in the weeks that follow. Fertilizing the lavender is not necessary and is even counterproductive: If the lavender receives too much nitrogen in midsummer, it will sprout again vigorously, but will hardly bloom again. In addition, there is a risk that the wood will not grow to maturity properly in the garden and the plant will be more susceptible to frost damage in the winter. If you still want to fertilize the plants, it is best to use a liquid, nitrogen-reduced fertilizer for balcony flowers, which you administer directly with the watering water. Further care is not needed for the undemanding lavender after cutting.
Drying lavender flowers: how to do it.
If you want to cut lavender flowers for drying, don’t wait until it has faded before harvesting. Later scented bouquets will have the best aroma when at least half of the flowers on each inflorescence are open. The best time for cutting is a sunny morning, as soon as the dew has dried, then the flowers have the highest content of fragrance.