Lavender grows in several varieties, including species such as yellow, sweet, Spanish, Allardii, French, Goodwin Creek Gray and woolly lavender. With proper care, these herbs grow in compact bushes. Pruning lavender is essential to maintaining a healthy and vigorous plant. The secret is to start when the herb is young. You should prune a lavender bush by one-third to one-half of its total size. Cutting off more than that may cause it to die. Un-pruned lavender bushes tend to become woody in the center.
Cut back lavender bushes once a year. Prune them prior to the first hard freeze or after the bush flowers in the spring or early summer.
Pinch off new growth on the lavender plant in the first year. Use your index finger and thumb or pruning shears to cut off flower buds. This will promote lateral branching and a larger bush next season.
Encourage lower leaves to grow by lightly pruning the bush. Cut into the woody part of the branches without cutting into the wood itself. This will promote buds to grow lower on the branches.
Cut back the flower stem, which is bright green, as well as one-third of the gray leaf stems. Place the cut where the stem and leaf meet the branch. You can trim neglected plants even further, as long as leaves are still showing.
Remove dead branches on the lavender bush as soon as you notice them. They are blocking sunlight and air circulation from the rest of the bush. Cut them with the shears where the unwanted branch meets healthy wood.