How to prune French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)
Pruning French / Spanish Lavender
French and Spanish Lavender is part of the Lamiaceae family of plants and is also known as the Lavandula stoechas. It is more tender and less hardy than the more common English Lavender (Lavandula angustifola) which is often planted as low growing hedging. French Lavender are best grown in pots where they can be moved into sheltered positions for the winter.
This more tender type of Lavender is often easily identified by the tufted ears at the top of the flowers which can appear as early as May.
Pruning French Lavender
Never prune French Lavender hard as they are unlikely to recover and do not like being cut back to bare stems. Prune back after flowering with a sharp pair of secateurs and remove around half to two thirds of the current year’s growth, ensuring you leave new green growth where new shoots will shoot from the following season.
You only want to prune them to keep the shape of the plant and to lightly trim enough off to encourage new growth and stop them getting too big.
Dead heading (removing) faded flowers during the summer will encourage new flowers and growth and keep plants looking healthy. Cut the flower stalks back to the main branches.
French Lavender: Image source – wikimedia.org
They are best planted in containers and pots where they can be moved into more protected areas for the winter. If you have a greenhouse, then place indoors for the winter and let the soil become more dry, only watering once when they are on the dry side. Over watering will cause them to rot. If you do not have a greenhouse, then they will often be ok when placed in a sheltered position against a wall or fence or under the eves of a house. This will generally ensure they don’t get too wet
French Lavender Propagation
French Lavender are short lived and only live for around 5 years so it is maybe a good idea to take a softwood cutting of the plant during the summer to grow yourself new Lavendar plants. To learn how to take softwood cuttings – read here