When you think of southern France, the vigorously blooming lavender fields of Provence immediately come to mind. The lavender rows stretch through the landscape almost endlessly and exude a wonderful scent. Here in Germany you can also enjoy a beautiful lavender in the garden, because the plant is undemanding and even grows on stone walls. Lavender needs a lot of sun, gets along well with poor soil, requires little water and no fertilizer. The plant is also considered a good companion for the rose garden. The biggest care item with lavender is the pruning, which should be carried out regularly for a healthy and attractive lavender plant. There are a few tips to keep in mind so that the lavender will soon bloom vigorously again and a large harvest is possible.

Why the annual cut makes sense

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can thrive for a very long time with good care and should be trimmed vigorously every year. Individual plants can live up to 30 years. With regular pruning, the plant stays nice and compact and sprout reliably. If lavender plants are not cut for a long time, the lower branches will become woody. The effect of this is that the plant appears bare at the bottom and even falls apart, while at the top there is wild growth in all directions. Old, woody branches no longer sprout on their own without pruning. Even a radical cut cannot always encourage old branches to sprout. However, it is worth trying in such a case and promotes the health of the plant.

cutting tool

  • hedge trimmer
  • Boxwood scissors/
    one-hand scissors
  • topiary shears
  • always keep sharp and clean

Cut – timing and frequency

There are three times of the year when lavender can be cut. At least one cut a year is always good for lavender. With strong growth, even two moderate prunings per year are worthwhile. This two-step pruning method is also called the “one-third-two-thirds” method.

Pruning can be done in spring when no more frost is foreseeable, but before the plant sprout. In the spring, the plants are pruned more heavily, by about two-thirds. This pruning ensures compact growth of the plant and promotes good branching of the branches. With older plants, however, a short section of the shoots from the previous year should be retained, then the lavender bush will thrive again.

Summer pruning takes place when the flowers are in full bloom, usually in July, and ensures increased flower growth in the same year. Here the plant is only pruned flat. It is essential to ensure that the summer cut is not carried out too late in the year, as there is a risk that it will be too cold and the lavender will no longer develop new leaves and flowers. By pruning in summer, the plant’s energies are not invested in the formation of seeds, but in new shoots. After 4 to 5 weeks, the lavender should have regrown and bloom vigorously. This guarantees a larger harvest of buds.

Pruning in early autumn takes place after flowering. At this point, all shoots should be trimmed back by about a third until all wilted bud sites have been removed. In northern regions it is advisable to carry out this pruning no later than August, since the new shoots of the plant do not offer enough winter protection due to the early winter use. Pruning in early autumn prepares the plant well for the coming winter.

Cut young lavender

A young lavender with one-year-old shoots looks quite herbaceous at first. All stems are green and there is no woodiness. Even so, the plant should be trimmed to about half its height. Young plants tend to be pruned more vigorously in order to keep them as spherical as possible and to prevent the branches from becoming woody quickly.

Prune older lavender

The older lavender bushes usually already have woody branches. Here you should make the topiary more reserved after flowering. First and foremost, it is important to remove the withered flowers and trim the plant evenly into a bushy shape. The cut can go up to 10 cm deep. The shoots from the previous year should not be completely removed, a short section should remain.

Cut old, woody lavender

A so-called radical cut is worthwhile here to breathe new life into the plant. Timing is important to rejuvenate the plant, but success cannot be guaranteed. With old, woody, bare or even falling apart lavender plants, the attempt is worthwhile, however, because there is nothing to lose. The radical cut should be done in June or July so that the plant can still use the summer to regenerate. Any wounds in the wood should be painted over with an agent such as wood tar or birch pitch. A radically pruned old lavender often sprout in the same year and blooms vigorously again the following year.

Lavender in the pot

Lavender (especially the Peter Pan and Nana Alba varieties) can be planted very well in large flower pots and tubs. And the small potted lavenders from the garden center are also perennial and usually vigorous. A cut also ensures vigorous growth in potted plants and prevents the oldest branches from becoming woody. The best way to do this is to gather the entire tuft and cut off the stems in the middle.


Your own lavender can be successfully propagated by cuttings. The best time to take cuttings is in early autumn or spring. Propagation in the spring is preferable, since the small plants do not have to be overwintered separately and the losses are less.

How to proceed:

  • Cut unbranched lavender shoots from the mother plant
  • Shorten shoots to seven to ten centimeters
  • Remove the tips of the shoots so that the little plants can branch well at the top
  • Remove all leaves from the lower third, later plant the stem in the ground
  • Fill the seed trays with a mix of sand and potting soil (50/50).
  • Moisten and press down the substrate
  • Stick the seedlings vertically into the substrate up to the base of the leaves
  • possibly use rooting powder beforehand
  • Spray cuttings with water bottle
  • Cover the seed tray to increase humidity
  • choose a warm, bright location without direct sunlight in the garden
  • air and water regularly
  • place rooted cuttings in pots
  • Choose a bright and warm (frost-free) location for pots
  • Prune young plants several times after they have sprouted to keep plants compact and promote root development
  • as soon as pots are well rooted and there is no frost, put them in the ground

Harvest and dry lavender flowers

The flowers of the plant from your own garden are easy to harvest and can be used in a variety of cosmetics, kitchens and households. Here are the steps:

  • The lavender flowers are harvested from July to September
  • Choosing a warm, sunny day increases the intensity of the fragrance
  • Fragrance is best preserved if harvested just before full bloom
  • Cut the stems about four inches below the flowers
  • Place cut flowers in an airy basket
  • Store flowers in an airy and warm place until they have dried
  • hang in a bunch in a dry and warm place
  • Avoid mold growth

use of the flowers

The dried flowers usually fall off the spike-like inflorescences themselves or can be removed with gentle pressure. In commercial agriculture, such as in Provence, France, the purple flowers are used to obtain fragrances for the manufacture of perfumes, soaps, candles and essential oils.

Bees love the sweet nectar of lavender plants and produce an aromatic lavender honey. In pharmacy, lavender is used as a calming agent for restlessness and difficulty falling asleep. Therefore, it is also known as nerve herb or vertigo herb. The fragrant medicinal herb lavender is said not only to have a relaxing and calming effect, but also to have a healing effect. In 2008, lavender was even voted Medicinal Plant of the Year.

A tea made from lavender blossoms is said to support the function of the gallbladder and liver, help against increased sweating and promote concentration. A mouthwash with lavender additives is said to have an antibacterial effect, and even small injuries to the skin are said to be relieved with lavender. However, lavender oil is slightly irritating directly on the skin and is used in this type of rheumatic pain. An infusion with lavender essences is said to have a soothing effect on asthma and coughs.

Lavender is also used for culinary purposes. Lavender ice cream is particularly popular in southern France and is easy to make at home too. As a spice, lavender flowers are suitable for vegetables, salads, fish, lamb and numerous desserts. In addition, young leaves and still soft shoots are used when cooking stews, sauces and soups. Lavender is often found in the spice blends entitled “Herbs of Provence”.

A well known use of lavender is as a moth deterrent. Blossoms that have been dried at home can be packed in small cotton or linen bags and placed in the closet between the items of laundry or hung on coat hooks.

Recipes with lavender flowers

bath essence

A relaxing bath additive is easy to make at home from your own dried lavender flowers.

  • Pour 1 liter of hot water over 4 tablespoons of dry flowers
  • Leave the lid on for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Pour through a sieve to skim off flowers
  • Add extract to bath water


You can quickly mix a lavender sugar to flavor sweet dishes and desserts.

  • 500 grams of sugar
  • Mix in 5 tablespoons dried or 10 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers
  • If necessary, grind the flowers beforehand to intensify the taste and smell
  • leave to stand in the screw-top jar for 3 – 4 days to flavor the sugar

lavender salz

Alternatively, salt can be flavored with a little lavender.

  • 3 tablespoons dried or 1 cup fresh lavender flowers
  • 3 cups of salt
  • If the flowers are fresh, mix with a hand blender, the aroma will transfer to the salt more quickly
  • dry flowers flavor salt in a few days
  • keep cool and dark in the jar

Lavender brings beautiful purple flowers and an aromatic scent to the garden that attracts bees. The flowers can be harvested, dried and used in a variety of ways every year. The plant thrives in poor soil in the garden or in pots, is easy to care for but requires regular pruning to encourage healthy and vigorous growth.

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