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Care of Lavender

These small bushes are very easy to care for. There are two main considerations, water and pruning. To some degree feeding will also affect the quality of the plant.
In temperate climates such as the UK there is almost no situation where lavender in a plant bed will require watering. It is very well adapted to prolonged drought, the long, thin, thick leaves are it's mechanism for preserving water. So unless there is a prolonged drought and the plant is wilting then do not water it.

Lavender in pots and tubs will require watering a little more frequently but be very sparing. Only water when the compost has dried out for a couple of days.

Do not feed lavender when planting it. Each spring after that apply a general purpose liquid feed, no further feeding is required.

This is simplicity itself. Firstly, do nothing for a complete year's growth. Then each year after flowering has finished in autumn, cut off the top six inches of growth. It's that simple, no special techniques required at all.

Lavender Hidcote picture After about six years or so your lavender bush will start to get woody at the base and foliage will progressively only appear at the top of the plant.

Because lavender are so easy to propagate the best solution is to to take some cuttings (click "propagate cuttings" in the top left hand menu) and grow them on for the next year. Dig up the old plant and replace it with a new one.

If you are one of those who simply cannot destroy a long serving plant then try to encourage new growth at the base by pruning in three stages.

Cut the foliage back by about one third in spring. This will cause the lavender to put on new bushy growth.

When the new growth appears leave if for a month or so and then cut back that growth by half. This may well cause foliage to appear at the base. If it doesn't work, and often this the case, then all hope is lost!

If stage 2 did work then the final step is to prune out the old growth so that it is about 5cm (2in) above the new growth.

Never prune into old wood which has no new growth from it. If you do this the old wood will never be productive again.




Name: Liz
Date posted: June 15, 2011 - 06:15 pm
Message: Just want to say thanks for the instructions on taking care of lavender - now I know don't look after them too well. I've been killing mine with kindness:-)

Name: Carol
Date posted: November 11, 2010 - 02:49 pm
Message: I have a question: I was given a small potted Lavender tree and I would like to know the best way to winter it over.