Originating from the Mediterranean region, lavender is a popular plant for the garden and balcony due to its intense fragrance and lush flowers. However, in order for the perennial plant to thrive and bloom vigorously even after many years, it must be pruned regularly.
Lavender lignifies with age
Lavender is characterized by a relatively long and abundant flowering period and also tends to grow quite large very quickly. Bushes planted out in the garden in particular can live up to 20 or even 30 years if well cared for, although the older they get the more or less they become woody. This is a normal process, because the older shoots of lavender lignify from the bottom. However, neither leaves nor flowers develop from this wood, which is why the lavender often becomes bare with age.
Rejuvenate lavender through regular pruning.
This thinning can only be avoided, but not completely prevented, by regular pruning. Therefore, annual pruning of lavender is immensely important, but you should pay attention to the right timing. If possible, cut your plants at least in half in the spring, before the first new shoots start to rain. The old branches that have been cut away can now no longer lignify, but the bush will be all the more stimulated to form new, young shoots. However, be careful not to cut into the old wood.
Divide older plants is not possible
Old, heavily woody lavender bushes are usually impossible to rejuvenate or divide, as would otherwise be possible with most perennials. Radical rejuvenation pruning or division usually results in the plant dying. All you can do is try to cut back the old bush to the point where there are only a few inches of green wood – younger shoots – left on the woody parts. The woodiness itself should not be removed. Bushes pruned in this way usually sprout vigorously again.
Tips & Tricks
If you have an old, heavily woody lavender in your garden, cut some cuttings and plant them. In many cases, the old bush cannot be saved, but it can be used as a mother plant for young lavenders.