We all know that you should prune lavender, but what happens if you don’t prune lavender? Let’s have a look and find out.
What Happens If You Don’t Prune Lavender?
Lavender that is allowed to grow wild won’t last as long, won’t produce as many flowers, will take over the garden and will look a lot uglier than pruned lavender.
As you can see there are many reasons to prune lavender, but if you are still unconvinced let me show you.
This isn’t a majorly overgrown lavender, but it works as a good example of what happens. Look at the long woody stems that are bare and then have a few flowers and leaves at the end.
This gets worse and worse the longer your lavender is left without a prune.
This is the best photo I could find online but I will soon have a much better one. I know there is a really overgrown lavender in my grandad’s garden that I will soon be taming for him, I will make sure to get some before and after photos for you.
Can an overgrown lavender be saved?
Yes they can, but there is no immediate fix, it will take time.
To start with give the plant an end of summer trim, we can’t go too harsh here, that will come in spring. Think of this as more of a haircut.
You don’t want to take too much off the plant here as it will need all of that foliage to survive the winter.
Use a pair of sharp secateurs and just cut back any really unruly stems. You can also remove any foliage that looks to be in poor condition.
Do not cut back into the heart of the bush though, we only want to be removing young growth or diseased growth in the summer.
In the spring is where you can cut lavender back more aggressively. Typically lavender is not a plant that can be cut right back to the base and be expected to grow back so you need to be a little careful.
A general rule of thumb is to cut the plant back by roughly a third. This will stimulate lots of growth without cutting too much of the plant off and damaging it. If your plant is really overgrown though you can take more off.
From my experience, you can cut back into the woody heart of the plant and it will come back reinvigorated. Just make sure there is always a bud on the stem below where you make your cut. This gives the plant somewhere fresh to grow from.
If you cut below the last bud then you are just killing that branch off, this isn’t always the worst thing on really overgrown bushes and sometimes they really need this tough love.