How to Stop Lavender From Getting Leggy

Lavender plants are low-maintenance plants that are beautiful and emit a pleasant scent, but they are prone to grow leggy when they aren’t taken care of properly.

To prevent lavender from becoming unruly, make sure that it is planted in soil with low fertility and do not use fertilizers as fertile soils can cause the growth of untidy, leggy plants. Prune the lavender, ideally every year, in the spring and in the late summer to keep the growth of leggy plants in check and reduce the growth of woody plants.

Read this article if your are already experiencing a leggy lavender or you’re looking for ways to avoid it from becoming leggy, and also keep it clean and produce plenty of blooms…

Plant Lavender in the Right Soil to Prevent Leggy Growth

Lavenders are native to the Mediterranean region of Europe They thrive in full sunshine, with low humidity as well as sandy soils. The soil is typically moderate to low regarding fertility since the sand is not able to provide substantial nutrients to the soil..

Lavenders have adjusted to low-nutrient environments. They actually produce the highest flowers, oils and the healthiest plants in these conditions.

If the lavender plant is in soils that are rich in nutrients and have plenty of organic matter, it will cause the lavender to develop in a sloppy, untidy look with plenty of leaves and less flowers.

It is the same when you apply fertilizer to the soil around lavenders. This is the reason the addition of fertilizer to lavenders must be avoided. In the case of over fertile conditions, it can cause the lavender to turn yellow as a result of an over-supply of nitrogen in the soil..

To stop lavenders from becoming sloppy because of fertile soils, you’ll need remove the lavender temporarily and then amend the soil with coarse sand or grit to decrease the overall fertileness of your soil.


This will allow for the re-creation of those soil types of Mediterranean where lavenders naturally grow.

To cut the lavender from the ground with care to not damaging the roots. Avoid using a shovel or spade to do this since it’s extremely easy to cut into roots.

Add the course builders sand to a depth of around 18 inches for the larger lavender varieties . Mix it well until there’s about 30% sand or gravel to 70 percent soil. A lot of sand or gravel is always better than too fertile soil, so it is possible to go overboard with the sand.

Plant the lavender in the newly amended area, and then water it well to prevent transplant shock. For more details, refer to my article to the best methods for moving lavender and avoid shock.

The gravel or sand will create the ideal drainage soil conditions which lavenders require to remain healthy.

This will not only help prevent the growth of leggy lavender, but it also increases the flowers, oil and scent that the flowers emit. If properly cared for, English lavender can last for up to 15 years if they are in the right conditions.

Prune and Tidy Lavender in the Summer

Pruning lavenders gently in summer is a good idea because it prevents growth that is leggy and also prepares the plant for winter.

If you’ve done a good job pruning in spring, only a small amount of pruning or harvest is required towards the close of the summer. Don’t cut the lavender too much in the fall, as there won’t be much time to heal the wounds and prepare for winter.

Simply trim back any of the stems of flowers that are faded flowers (before the seed is set) or you could harvest the blooms throughout the season to add fragrance or potpourri, as well as for other ornamental reasons. In this case, the most suitable time to harvest them will be in early mornings since this is when the oil is at its highest concentration.

Maintain a healthy pruning routine each year and you’ll enjoy a healthy, long-lasting lavender that blooms in abundance and avoid an unkempt or messy appearance.

Prune Lavender Twice Per Year to Stop Leggy Foliage

To ensure that lavender will keep its appearance neat and show more flowers, it must be cut back every year once it has established.

The first pruning of the year is in the spring, just as new fresh green leaves appear from the bottom of the plants.

Pruning lavender is easy and all you have to do is take off from the upper third the green growth and then shape the plant into an circular, mound-like shape.

The shape of the mound is crucial because it helps the lavender from being affected by the effects of the weather and maintain it in a neat manner so that it doesn’t get sloppy.

The thing you should be wary of is cutting back into or close to the woody bottom of the plant since growth is not a common thing to regenerate from this area in the plants.

(Reading my article about slowing down the growth of woody plants to help the base of lavender).

Trimming the lavender too hard is usually the reason for the lavender becoming sloppy, so make sure that you cut only the upper third of the green growth.

If you don’t prune in the spring to achieve the goal of creating a mound, the lavender is more prone to splitting, appear sloppy and messy.

Pruning the lavender can slow the development of the woody base and prolong the lifespan of the lavender like regular pollarding prolongs the lifespan of a tree.

For a visual reference, this is a fantastic YouTube video showing how to trim lavender in spring to give an attractive, healthy, not sagging appearance.

Key Takeaways

  • To prevent lavender from becoming swollen, it is essential to not use fertilizer and to plant the lavender in low – to medium-fibre soil.
  • The lavender plant thrives on low – to medium fertility soils, so it is possible amend your soil using grit or sand that are less nutritious and will provide the ideal soil structure to stop the lavender from growing leggy.
  • Pruning lavender two times per year will produce neat and neat lavenders. The first cut should be in the spring, when the new green leaves begin to emerge from the bottom of the plant. The second cut should be a less pronounced cut in the latter part of summer to tidy the appearance and reduce any growth that is leggy. This can also prolong the lifespan of the lavender and encourage the growth of flowers.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)