First Things First - Starting Lavender The Right Way
Most lavender bushes start from a cutting taken from a Mother plants. This often works well. Growing lavender from seeds may sound like a good idea, but it can be difficult. It is hard to find the seeds, and they have a short shelf life (even if you find them, they may not grow). And it can take a long time to grow the seeds into sizeable bushes. The most difficult situation is that the most popular lavender varieties do not make seeds!
It is important to prune lavender in order to maintaining a young, healthy bush. When pruning lavender, the key is to begin when plants are young and still in pots. Pinch out new growth to support lateral branching. Cut off the flower buds in the first year so that you will get a larger bush and more spikes in the second year.
Cut back the plant at yearly. If you prune the plant in the fall, do it well in advance of a hard freeze. You can easily use a weed eater or a hedge trimmer when pruning lavender. You can also prune the plant after it flowers I the spring or early summer. When you do prune lavender, make sure that the leaves are still green.
Cut off about 1/3 off of the plant and shape it into a mound. This encourages new growth. If you do this every year, it will make sure your plants don't get too woody and knotty. You can begin this pruning in the second year.
If you did not prune the plant when it was young, it may not survive a significant pruning. If the bush is 3 years or older and you have never pruned it, you may be better off replacing the bush. If there is still young growth above the wood part of the plan, you can begin with a light pruning to encourage lower growth. Then, continue each year to prune a little more aggressively. But as close to the woody part - but don't cut the wood. If you cut too much into the wood the plant will die.
Cut spent flowers to create healthy plants. Cut off dead branches in the spring, after your plant shows growth.
Lavenders types of lavender plants, like dentate, don't require much pruning unless you want to grow them as a hedge. In these cases, the best time for pruning lavender is in the summer.
Cut the lavender stems which have flowers, and cut them in the early morning after the dew has dried but before the sun dries up too much of the plant's essential oils. The essential oils create the scent, and you want to preserve them as much as possible.
You can dry lavender in bunches or on screens, and store it in a cool dark place.
After pruning lavender, you can use the pruning clippings as your harvest. Lavender is wonderful for crafts and decoration.
Plant lavender bushes in full sun and only in a soil that drains well. Water the bushes generously during the first year after planting - but do not water lavender from above - this can cause a fatal fungus!
Don't prune into the old wood (where there are no leaves) or your lavender will not grow back in that place.
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