Five-minute lavender hack using ‘golden rule’ for winter pruning

Gardeners' World: Monty Don advises on pruning lavender

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Lavender plants are easy to grow, though, like most shrubs, they require some maintenance before going dormant in winter. When the fragrant buds begin to turn dry and grey, it’s the perfect time to prune the top growth, though a gardening expert has warned against cutting too far down the stems. He shared exactly how to cut back all types of lavender ahead of the frosty weather.

In a recent video posted on the Newlands Nursery Instagram page, gardening expert Alan demonstrated the “simple” pruning technique.

He showed followers how to cut back old growth using a potted Platinum Blonde lavender plant, though the method works on all types.

Alan said: “So we’ve let it grow, let it flower, and now it’s time to cut it back and prepare it for the winter.”

The Newlands Nursery expert pointed out that separating the light green growth from the darker stems below is the key to cutting back the plant correctly.

In the video, the plant had darker stems at the bottom and “lush green growth” at the very top. 

While pointing at the woody growth at the base, Alan said: “You don’t want to cut into this, so we cut just above it. And that is the golden rule.”

He explained that this is the case with all lavender plants, you just need to find the point at which the two colours separate.

The gardening expert revealed that this is the “main thing to consider” when hard-pruning the fragrant shrub.

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How to prune lavender 

Though it may seem like a lot, Alan explained that all of the top growth should be cut away ahead of winter.

Using a sharp pair of secateurs, he pruned off everything growing 1cm or more above the dark green stems.

The Newlands Nursery expert said: “All you do is work your way around the plant just finding the dead wood and cutting just above it.

“It’s nice and easy to do, once you’ve got your level and once you’ve got your eye line you can see it really easily.”

Even if the plant is still showing fresh flowers, it is important to remove them as they will fall off anyway.

Alan said: “The reason we do it is so when it comes into spring, you get it to spur into life.

“You get more flowers, more growth, and you get a more compact plant as well.”

He explained that creating a “neat shape” is the aim of winter pruning.

Pruning before winter arrives is best for lavender shrubs, though Alan noted that “it won’t kill the plant” if you forget to do it.

However, one thing you shouldn’t forget to do is move vulnerable pots indoors during poor weather.

The Newlands Nursery expert explained that lavender kept outdoors can become damaged in wet weather, as they “don’t like sitting in wetness”.

Bringing them indoors, moving them under a garden shelter, or placing the pots in a greenhouse are all good solutions.

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