Lavender in summer not only pleases the eye, but promises a treat for all the senses. Its small purple flowers bring a Mediterranean touch to the garden and its gentle scent has a calming effect. However, in order for the Mediterranean shrub to thrive for a long time in the garden or in the tub, proper care is essential. This includes timely summer pruning. We explain when and how you should prune the lavender.
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When and how to cut lavender?
Many flowering plants are cut back after they have finished blooming. For most, this is more of a topiary pruning that stimulates flowering the next year. With lavender, however, this maintenance pruning is very important because it can prevent the half-shrub from becoming woody.
When is the right time for summer pruning?
The optimal time for such a summer pruning is right after the end of the flowering period, that is, from the end of July to mid-August. If you do not cut the plant back then, the shoots will become woody and the lavender will not be able to form flowers there next year. If you cut back the Mediterranean plant right after the end of the flowering period, then it will not form seeds. The resources that the lavender would use to form seeds are thus saved. Some plants even bloom a second time in the summer.
Pruning lavender: Here’s what you should keep in mind!
Use sharp secateurs for pruning the Mediterranean plant. Shorten the shoots by 30%, but never cut into the old wood. Lavender can only resprout from fresh shoots. So leave this year’s wood standing. When pruning, you should also pay attention to the growth habit of the plants. The best way to prune the lavender is to cut it in a semicircular shape. So leave the shoots in the middle higher and cut the side shoots lower.
Summer pruning of lavender: instructions
First, thoroughly clean the pruning shears. Wear gardening gloves. Choose a cloudy day. Do not cut back lavender when it is raining, because the cut wounds are open entry points for bacteria and fungi. Also, do not cut back the Mediterranean semishrub when it is hot, as too much sunlight can cause burns.
Hold several shoots together with one hand and cut them with pruning shears. You can shorten annual shoots by one-third, and old shoots may be shortened by half. If the plant is woody from the bottom, then you should take extra care to leave as many young shoots as possible.
Care after pruning : fertilizing and watering
After summer pruning, you do not need to fertilize the plant. Leave it alone and water it only as needed. This will give it enough time to recover from pruning before the end of the flowering season. Lime applications are also no longer necessary in the summer, after it has finished flowering.
Pruning lavender in a pot
After pruning in the summer, the plant needs about 3 – 4 weeks to recover. Then you can repot it in a larger container. The Mediterranean plant quickly forms its root system and therefore needs to be repotted annually. September proves to be optimal, just before the potted plant is moved to the winter quarters.
Pruning lavender in the garden: Common mistakes
If the lavender grows in the garden, then you should cut it back no later than mid-August. Otherwise, the plant will not have time to properly recover from the cut. Otherwise, you risk frost damage.
Lavender withered, what to do? Here’s how you can use the cut flowers in the household.
The cut lavender flowers can be used in many ways in the household. To make them last longer, you can hang them upside down in a dark and well-ventilated place and let them dry. Fill the blossoms into an airtight preserving jar and store them in a dark and dry place. You can then use the dried flowers for a variety of purposes. For example:
- Aromatize rugs: Put a handful of blossoms in a spray bottle, fill with water and leave for 1 to 2 hours. Then use it to spray the carpets and let them dry.
- Make your own mosquito spray: pour 4 tablespoons of alcohol (clear, 60%) and 80 ml of distilled water from the pharmacy into an empty and clean perfume bottle and add 2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers. To apply on the skin, you can pour witch hazel water into the bottle and add 2 tablespoons of lavender flowers. Let steep for about 2 hours, then strain and use as a bug spray .
- Make your own bath salts: Mix Himalayan salt with lavender and place in an empty clear bag.
- Make laundry smell better in the dryer: fill a small organza bag with dry flowers, tie very tightly and place in the dryer. To be on the safe side, you can ask the manufacturer for advice, because in some devices this is not allowed.