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I have an enormous lavender bush which flowers profusely each year - it is in excess of 10 years and is very woody at the base. Each year I cut it back to the bottom of the flower stems. If I were to cut it right back to the roots after flowering this year, would it re-grow? The bush is in a very confined area but it attracts so many bees that I would hate to kill it off. I also love the lavender flowers. Your advice please!
Lavender does not take well cutting back into the old wood. You are doing the right thing by just cutting back the new soft growth. You could take it back an inch or so below the flower stems but not much more.
Many thanks hogweed
Joanne, there is a method of getting this bush back to a smaller size.
If you use a mix of 50/50 sharp sand and compost, pile it over the base of the bush to a depth of about 6 inches now. By next summer you should have new growth appearing from the bottom, you can then cut the top growth away and resize it if you wish. It does work, you just need to be patient and not cut back till the new growth appears.
Or you could start again with a new plant.
Dave's method is a simple way of rejuvenating if you don't want to start afresh. It also works well with Dianthus. I peg bits down with wire to fill gaps and I expect you could also do that with lavender.
Dave - once the new growth appears do you then remove the sand/compost, or do you leave the new plant growing out of a mound??
Think you leave it chicky because it becomes the new plant. I've left the grit/compost mix on the dianthus, although it's not as deep as Dave's description, but I think the theory's the same. The only problem is that the new plant will be higher - I've seen it done where the entire plant is lifted first and a deeper hole created to put it in before doing what Dave describes. Then the new plant's at the original level, if that makes sense. My dianthus are in pots so it was a bit easier to manage them.
Yes chicky, leave it as the new roots will be below the soil level you have created.
after 10 years they do get very woody and don't look so good.i had the same,and made the hard decision to take them out and put new ones in.they don't take long to grow,a good excuse to go to the garden centre!
found good video about lavender care and pruning on youtube, posted by Downderry Lavender. 10 yrs sounds quite a long time, maybe time to buy some new plants, there are so many lovely ones, visited Cotswold Lavender at Snowshill recently.
at 10 years old its coming to the end of its life. id take cuttings from non flowering new growth now and by next year they'll be big enough to flower and you can remove your old one and replace with your cuttings.