Why is My Lavender So Woody?

Lavenders get increasingly woody as the plant grows. If you don’t prune your lavender each year, the speed of when the Lavenders become woody will increase. The pruning of 1/3 growth that is green each spring can slow the speed at which lavender develops woody, enhances the bloom and prolongs the life of the plant.

Prevention is always better than cure in the case of issue of woody lavenders. It is impossible to transform an old, woody plant into an attractively shaped lavender, which produces a plethora of flowers.

You can however cut a piece of the plant to propagate the lavender easily, rather than removing the lavender that is not needed and purchase substitutes.

Learn how to avoid the lavender plants becoming wooden too fast. Also, how to harvest cuttings of woody plants to create new lavenders that are capable of blooming.

How to Prevent Woody Lavender

Lavenders require to be nurtured with care and attention to detail. pruning in the early spring and a gentle cut in the autumn to get the lavender ready for winter.

The ideal lavenders should be cut to create a sturdy mound, with a dense shape because this can:

  • Stop snow, ice and water from entering the lavender and rotting the wood, which could make it weaker.
  • Mounds assist in preventing snow from forming and placing pressure on the fragile lavender wood.
  • A mound that is rounded is the most efficient shape to produce the highest number of flowers.

When you cut back the growth of green lavender by about a third every year, you are pollardingthe plant, as the foresters actually pollinate trees. This method will greatly prolong the lifespan for the plants (if executed properly) since you are essentially keeping the plant in a young condition, allowing it to carry the flowers for a long time.

Pruning Lavender:

  1. The best time to trim your lavender is during the early spring , when the new green leaves begin to emerge on the plant’s base.
  2. Take about one-third of the growth that is green by using a sharp pair of pruning tools. Keep in mind that you want an appearance of a mound to increase the strength of the lavender and able to withstand the elements.
  3. It is recommended to cut the lavender off early in the morning because this is the time when the essential oils are concentrated, and you will be able to benefit from the scent of the leaves.
  4. As summer ends and the flowers are dying it is possible to trim the lavender once more to tidy up the appearance and maintain the perfect shape prior to winter and fall.
  5. One of the most crucial rules to follow in lavender pruning is not to cut back into the woody growth because the wood won’t regenerate or grow new growth that can bloom. Only cut back the green growth.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll reduce the growth of wood of lavender, increase its lifespan significantly, and your lavender will be more resistant to winter-related damage.

lavender field with sunlight

What Causes Woody Lavender?

The lavender plants become gradually more wooden as they age, beginning at the bottom and growing upwards. It is impossible to stop this process completely, however the process can be slowed down, and consequently prolong the life and blooming potential of every lavender plant.

The formation from woody materials is the reason it is crucial to trim and maintain lavenders every year.

The lavender wood is extremely weak and is prone to splitting or breaking when weight is being put down on it due to snow, or even accidental hits like a football crashing on it, or your dog decides that it’s a good spot to lie down and nap! (This was the case for me).

However, after the wood splits, it will not re-grow and flowering stems will not be created (flowers only appear on growth that is green).

The forming of wood can affect the lavender’s shape and appearance , so it is crucial to know learn how to stop the formation of wood which can extend the life of the plant and increase the yield of flowers from the lavender.

Propagating Lavender through woody Plants

When a lavender is dry and lacks blooms It is hard to bring it back to a plant with an abundant flower as well as oil production.

But, it is extremely easy to propagate, and you can harvest a number of cuttings of a mature woody plant to produce new plants which are significantly less expensive than purchasing new plants. It satisfying to see the plant from cutting to maturity.

  1. The ideal time to harvest cuttings to use for propagation is during the middle of summer on a non-flowering shoot.
  2. Cut a piece of soft green, healthy growth (without flowers on it) that is approximately 4 inches in length.
  3. Remove the leaves from the two inches below the cut using a sterilized knife or sharp scissors.
  4. Make a pot that is approximately 70% potting compost and 30 percent Sand or grit. (Lavenders need good drainage).
  5. There is a lot of debate regarding this, but I have personally observed more success rates by submerging the bottom portion of the cut into the powder for rooting hormones that stimulates root growth however, lavender propagation is possible without the rooting powder (although I would recommend taking more cuttings to make up for it).
  6. Place the lower two inches of this cut into the soil , then firm surrounding it to give the necessary support.
  7. Make sure the soil is damp but not completely wet. spray the leaves with a sprayer . Then, move the pot to an area that is warm.
  8. In climates that are especially dry, placing a clear bottles of water (that is cut at the bottom) can create an environment that is more humid while the roots are growing. The mature lavenders are not a fan of humidity, but when cuttings are present, some humidity within the atmosphere is necessary to ensure that they do not dry out and die before they have established their roots.
  9. The roots will begin to grow after about 4 to 6 weeks, at which point you can move the lavender into an additional pot or in your garden.

By taking cuttings and putting them in propitiation lavender, you can make new plants from an old woody plant at virtually nothing.

Make several cuts as certain cuttings might not grow even under ideal conditions, however, most cuttings grow into plants with proper treatment.

Remember that you’ll have to trim lavenders each year to prevent the growth of wood growing too fast at the bottom. If you care for your lavender by providing the correct conditions for the soil (see the article I wrote titled ‘ What soil do lavenders prefer?‘) and the proper maintenance then they will last for 10 years and produce high-quality blooms, oils and scent every season.

Key Takeaways

  • The woody nature of lavenders increases as they age. The lavenders that are woody tend to be more easily damaged, and produce less flowers, and frequently get distorted.
  • Prevention is always better than cure with lavenders that are woody. To stop the growth of wood, it is necessary to trim lavenders every year, at least at the beginning of spring, and then trimming them in the middle of summer to cut off the flowers as well as their stems.
  • Regular pruning prolongs the life of the lavender. It also keeps it in a pleasing shape, and stimulates new growth that will produce more flowers.
  • Prune back around one third of the new growth by about a third. The aim of pruning should be to create a sturdy and dense mound that will is resistant to weather damage and also to encourage flowering.
  • In the event that your plant has already turned woody, there’s nothing that you could do in order to restore the plant.
  • Cuttings to propagate is a fantastic method to create new plants from an old lavender that was woody to begin fresh with healthy plants and stop the plants from becoming woody when they grow, by regularly pruning.


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