Does cutting lavender encourage more flowers?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Cutting lavender actually does encourage more flowers. Pruning lavender is an essential task that helps promote new growth and abundant blooming. When you trim back the lavender bushes, it stimulates the plant to produce more side shoots, resulting in a fuller and more compact shape. This, in turn, leads to an increased number of flower stems.

By cutting back the lavender, you remove the spent flower stems and encourage the plant to redirect its energy towards producing new blooms. This process is known as deadheading, and it prevents the plant from wasting energy on seed production. Instead, the plant focuses its resources on creating more flowers, resulting in a prolonged and continuous blooming period.

Moreover, pruning lavender helps maintain its overall health and vigor. By cutting away the older and woody growth, you allow more sunlight and air circulation to reach the center of the plant. This prevents the development of a dense and tangled interior, which can lead to poor growth and increased susceptibility to diseases.

When to prune lavender depends on the specific variety and your region’s climate, but it is generally recommended to prune lavender in early spring or after the first flush of flowers has faded. You can do a light pruning throughout the growing season to shape the plant and remove any dead or damaged growth. However, avoid cutting into the woody stems as lavender has a limited capacity to regenerate from old wood.

To prune lavender, start by removing about one-third to one-half of the plant’s overall height. Use sharp pruning shears or hedge trimmers and make clean cuts just above a set of healthy leaves or buds. Avoid cutting too close to the base of the plant, as this can cause damage to the crown. After pruning, you can lightly shape the lavender into a rounded or mounded form, but avoid cutting into the woody framework.

In addition to promoting more flowers, pruning lavender also provides you with a bountiful harvest of fresh lavender tips. These tips can be used for culinary purposes, such as flavoring desserts or making herbal teas. Therefore, by regularly pruning your lavender, you not only enhance its aesthetic appeal but also reap the benefits of a continuous supply of fragrant and flavorful lavender.

Cutting back lavender encourages more flowers by stimulating new growth, removing spent flower stems, and redirecting the plant’s energy towards blooming. Pruning also improves the overall health and appearance of the lavender bushes. So, embrace the annual task of pruning your lavender and enjoy the rewards of a vibrant and flourishing plant.