I have a lavender bush outside the door. It has many empty branches. I believe that they are dead after I had accidentally over-harvested the lavender by cutting all the lavender leaves.

Part A & B are the lavender branches with leaves. Part C is the branches which causes the overall lavender to look ugly.

lavender bush from top view closer view of part C different view of the lavender

How can I improve the look of that lavender? Any suggestion is welcomed!

  1. Can I force the lavender branches (part A and B(s)) to grow upwards instead of sideway?
  2. What should I do with the empty lavender branches at part C?

2 Answers 2


You need to keep the new growth alive until you've restored the plant, so follow these steps in the spring (May in Northern Hemisphere):

  1. Cut all branches that do NOT show any grow back to the central trunk. This will help clean up the plant a lot.

  2. At the same time as step 1, cut back 1/3 of all branches that have new growth on them back to the central trunk

  3. After the plant has put out new growth from the trunk (maybe 30-45 days after steps 1 and 2), cut back 1/2 of all remaining branches back to the trunk.

  4. Wait 30-45 days, then cut back the remaining branches. By this time, the new growth should be about 8"/20 cm tall and looking good.

I've followed this regimen myself with Lavender 'Hidcote' and 'Munstead' and it has worked well for me.


Lavender plants should be replace every so many years. They become a woody mess after a while. If you prune the dead old wood nothing will grow from it. Lavender farms replace old plants every 10 years and they have been pruning to maintain life as long as possible. If you have pruned it correctly you would have been able to keep it longer, but you let it go too long.

Summer - prune off flower heads after they are done.

Late Spring - Give it a heavy prune, cut the plant back by 1/3.


Summer - After blooming prune off 1/3 of the plant about 2-4'.

With this schedule you will be able to prolong the life of your plants, but otherwise this happens.

You are best off to remove this plants and plant one or two new ones.

Lavender Care

  • 1
    If you can keep the old plants alive till summer, you can take cuttings from the new growth and get plenty of replacement plants for free. Google will find instructions.
    – alephzero
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 1:26
  • 1
    @alephzero I've found lavender to be one of the fussier plants to crow from cuttings - but small plants (still bigger than cuttings) are cheap
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 9:29
  • 1
    I personally would spend the $10USD for a 1 gallon/4 Litre potted lavender plant. To me its worth skipping all the hassle of growing my own. I find after you buy the soil and the multiple pots to if you don't have them already the plant cost just as much. I will admit there is a feeling of accomplishment when growing a plant from a cutting or seed vs buying a starter plant. But, for my front yard I'd want to fill in that space quickly.
    – user27862
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 11:32
  • My parents have many self sown lavender seedlings that they pull up each year. If this bush has seedlings too, it might be possible to find enough seedlings to replace the main bush.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 12:30
  • 1
    I've kept lavendar alive for at least 10 years, pruning as I describe in my answer. Replacing plants is just a waste of money. As CJ Dennis has noted, they also reseed. Perhaps, Aloe, you and aleph are using the wrong varieties for your hardiness zone. Lavenders are just shrubs, so renewal pruning will work as it does with any other shrub.
    – Jurp
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 13:45

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