B. Rosie Lerner
Consumer Horticulturist


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Possum in the Pawpaw Tree





Question and Answer

Prune Lavender at the Right Time

Q. I have two lavender plants by our front porch. I'm not sure when to trim them. One time in the fall, I pruned them back and it killed them. I replaced those and the plants are now about two years old. Should I trim/prune them in the fall or spring? If so, how much? - C.G., Knox County

Lavender plants in full bloom

Lavender plants in full bloom
Photo Credit:Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension

A. Since lavender is only marginally hardy in our area, I would wait to prune them until after new growth begins in spring. As cold as it has been this winter, the plants will likely have considerable dieback, or they may not have survived the below-zero temperatures. After such a winter, spring growth is frequently delayed and it's easy to mistake live branches for dead when they are still dormant.

How far back to cut will depend on the amount of winter damage. In general, you want to cut back to healthy wood to encourage side branching. Wait until new growth is well underway to assess what has survived. Assuming there is active new growth, trim back live stems to healthy sections with live buds. Remove dead or damaged stems.

Lavender blooms

Lavender blooms
Photo Credit:Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension


Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Kevin Leigh Smith