The best time to trim your lavender plant is after the plant is dormant for the winter. This typically occurs after a hard frost. For us, in Sequim, Washington, that usually happens from late October to Thanksgiving time. After the hard frost, you want to have your plants trimmed before they begin to turn green. This is usually before the end of February or early March where we are located.
The nice thing about trimming lavender is that there is a large window of time that is acceptable to trim your lavender. Furthermore, if you trim your lavender slightly too early it won’t hurt the lavender, you just run the risk of it regrowing before your hard frost. That is why I recommend just waiting for the first frost.
We have found that hedge trimmers work best to trim your lavender plant. Remember to always properly sanitize your trimmer to avoid contamination or disease from other plants. Wiping your blade with alcohol before use is highly recommended.
3. How Much of my Lavender Should I Trim or Prune?
When you trim your lavender plant, it is best to only trim the stems from the current year’s growth. You want to avoid hard cutting your lavender. By a hard cut, I mean you do not want to cut into the hardwood of the plant. There are many species in the Genus Lavandula and they are almost all referred to as lavender. While some species, like Lavandula Angustifolia can handle hard cuts, other species like, Lavandula X Intermedia cannot. Thus, trimming your lavender plant a couple inches above the woody part of the plant is a good rule to follow.
We use a leaf blower and blow them into a pile and the end of our lavender rows. We collect and compost them. A small rake or broom could also work easily to tidy up after your trimming.
The benefits to trimming your lavender is that your plant will look nice spherical for many years to come. If you avoid trimming your lavender in the winter, your lavender plants will become woody and leggy. If your plant is left untrimmed for multiple seasons it is hard for the plant to return to its nice round shape. Due to many lavender species not liking to be hard cut, it is hard to fix a plant that has become too leggy or woody.
This depends entirely on the plant species. The species Lavandula Angustifolia and Lavandula Stoechas can handle hard cuts (within reason). While other species like Lavandula Intermedia do not handle hard cuts and will die where they are cut back. If you have a species that can handle hard cuts it is best to hard cut what is necessary to get your plant back on track to a manageable shape and size. Then in following years continue with normal winter pruning. If your plant cannot handle hard cuts, it is best to remove the plant and replace it. It will take 3 to 4 years for your plant to become full size.
Lavender Trimming Do’s
Lavender Trimming Don’ts