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August is an important time of the year for Lavender, as the flowering season is coming to an end and it needs a little TLC to ensure you get a good bloom next year.
The reason why August is so important is because it is the hottest month of the year. In the UK some may disagree with this, however the soil has had a lot of time to warm up over the summer, and so for plants, this is when they take the remaining energy before the frosts occur.
Trimming in August ensures that lavender has time to grow new shoots before the winter. These new shoots will harden off as the weather naturally cools, ready to spring back to life next year.
Do I Trim All of My Lavender Plants?
The most common lavender plant in the UK is Lavendula Angustifolia. This is the typical lavender that is often used for hedging or paths. Small purple flowers adorn long peppermint needle leafed stems.
This is the one that needs a vigorous pruning in order to ensure it’s not straggly or woody next year. Many people remember this by using the mantra 888
Many recommend trimming in the second week of August, to 8cms from the ground. So the 8th day of the 8th month to 8cms is very easy to remember. Of course seasons change every year and this can disrupt flowering times so if your lavender is still flowering wait until it starts to produce seeds instead.
Don’t be scared of pruning back right to the wood. You’ll see new shoots form at the base within a couple of weeks. A well pruned and cultivated English lavender can last for decades, and if trimmed well it will come back bigger and brighter than ever every year.
Less Hardy Lavender
French lavender and other less hardy varieties do not respond well to vigorous pruning. These can normally be identified as they finish flowering in late June. They’re known as Lavender Stoechas. Instead give a gentle trim, never to the bare wood, just shape them.
If we have a very hard frost this year they may also need some protection over the winter.
I’ve found a very easy way to double my lavender plants without any cuttings, dividing or seeds. Basically take a shoot and bury half of it underground (as you would with runners of strawberries) and see how it forms roots and makes a plant you can relocate the following year.
You can also use traditional methods, as August is the best time for harvesting lavender seed.
Using the Trimmings
The woody trimmings from the pruned lavender plant will still have a great fragrance and they can be used to flavour or scent many things inside the home. Add some to sugar to make lavender sugar, or steep to make lavender tea. You can dry them to make a winter potpourri too.