Pruning lavender


I live in Toronto. I have a patch of lavender (sorry I don’t have the Latin name) in the flower bed on my front lawn. It is about 5 feet wide by one and a half feet wide. It gets the morning sun and it is planted about ten feet away from a 29 year old Ginko tree and near the driveway. I understand this is the time of the year when it should be pruned but I need advice as to by how much and how to do it. The soil is clayish. I also would like to know about feeding and any other ongoing care.
Thank you very much


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. It sounds like you already have quite a lovely specimen of lavender. Pruning it should only be done once you see new growth on the plant. Lavender should never be cut back into the old wood, which will not regenerate if cut too deeply.

Sometimes the wait must be as late as June for a spring pruning. Removing any deadwood (stems with no clear, active growth) can happen at that time. Some suggest that it’s best to prune after flowering – which allows you to enjoy and collect the flowers.

While written for commercial growers, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has a good description of lavender pruning, including an illustrative photo. You can find the reference at this link, near the end of the page:

The link also describes key elements of lavender culture. The main challenge is to keep weeds from inserting themselves within the plant crown. Hand-weeding is the best strategy, being careful not to break any stems. While lavender is somewhat tolerant of drought, it performs better if not left to be completely dry. In clay soil, poor drainage over winter can be bad for the plant. However, the size of yours suggests that this might not be a problem for you.

I hope this helps you to continue to enjoy your fragrant lavender.