Keeping lavender in good shape
Lavenders are so Mediterranean that if you don’t have a lavender on your back garden (living in the south), or in a pot, you are a true exception. Their fragrance can be amazing and they tend to be very tough, is easy to see them on nearly every road side. They grow, they flower, they need little water and the look pretty good always.
But, what is with lavender?
We love lavender because of their flowers but we do not want the shrub to loose shape or become woody. In nature this does not happen as they actually live in very tough conditions: drought, low fertile soils, and exposed to animals and wind, so they tend not to overgrow or become woody (this is actually privilege in nature). But, as many other plants, when they are planted in a nice soil mix, and watered frequently they go wild and tend to overgrow.
Plants have ONE aim in life, to seed and to propagate. Doesn’t matter conditions: good or bad; that is what they’ll do, and flowers are just half of the tool to achieve this. Once they start seeding all their energy will be focus in growing those seeds, just pure nature.
“The trick to avoid lavender going woody and straggly (or just to get more flowers in any plant), is to cut it’s flowers immediately they’ve finished – this will encourage basal growth and new leaves, which is what you need if you grow it as a herb crop. Many people make the mistake of leaving the flowers for too long, so that the plant puts all its energy into producing seed – perfect for lavender bags – but then it will go woody and, when prune, you’ll be definitely done with them”.*
HOW TO PRUNE
- Cut the flower stems after flowering including 2.5cm of the year’s growth, making sure that some green remains.
- A woody lavender needs to be replaced as new shoots don’t grow in woody stems.
PD. This can be said for most plants. I do deadhead all my plants when flowers are just finished, to make the plant produce even more flowers. In many cases you don’t even need to use a scissor, just pick the flower, or just the stem below, with your fingers anytime you see one dead flower, and they will tend to bloom more and more.
- *. No-nonsense container gardening. The secret of growing vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers in small spaces. Christine Walkden’s. Ed. Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.
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