Monty Don shares ‘best time’ to prune lavender plant – avoid it being ‘straggly and woody’

Gardening tips: Expert on how to grow lavender at home

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Lavender looks great in flower borders, herb gardens as well as in containers. It needs lots of sun and fast-draining soil due to it being a Mediterranean plant and it will not survive long in shady or cold conditions. Sharing advice in his latest blog post, Monty Don shared the “best time” to prune lavender.

Left on its own, lavender can become woody and ungainly.

This means it needs to be trimmed annually to keep it looking its best.

Monty wrote: “To avoid woody, leggy plants, lavender should be pruned every year.

“The best time to do this is as soon as the flowers start to fade.”

Depending on the variety, the expert said this can be anytime between midsummer and the end of August.

He added: “But do not wait for the seed heads to form or the flowers to turn brown as you want to allow the maximum amount of time for regrowth before winter.”

Gardeners should cut back hard to a good compact shape.

However, it is essential to leave some new shoots on each stem.

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Monty said: “Lavender will often not regrow from bare wood.

“These new shoots will grow fast and provide an attractive and healthy cover to protect the plant in winter and provide the basis of next year’s display.”

If your lavender plant is old, it may stay straggly and woody even after being pruned.

If this is the case, it may be best to replace the plant to keep it looking neat.

To prune lavender, remove any spent flower stalks and around one inch of leaf growth.

Foliage can be trimmed in spring if the growth is untidy or damaged.

Monty also recommended deadheading in August, a form of pruning.

It involves removing the flowers from plants when they are fading or dead.

The gardening expert wrote: “Dahlias will keep producing new flowers well into autumn as long as they are deadheaded regularly.

“The easiest way to tell the difference between a spent flower and an emerging bud is by the shape.

“Buds are invariably rounded whereas a spent flower is pointed and cone-shaped.”

Monty recommended cutting back to the next side shoot, even if it means taking a long stem.

This will help to stimulate new flowers.

He added: “If you do not have dahlias, then deadhead anything and everything daily.

“Nothing else is so effective in keeping summer flowers from lasting as long as possible.”

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