The Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas ‘Otto Quast’) has finished blooming in my coastal garden and its flowers, a vivid purple in the spring (see Spanish Lavender Blooming On the Coast), have turned a dusty brown. They are not the only shrubs with a halo of beige. Most of the Mediterranean plants in my garden have followed suit and are less than brilliant this early July. Mediterranean plants are resting now. This is actually their dormant period. In Mediterranean climates, there is a lack of rain during the summer, and Mediterranean plants have learned to survive with little water until the rains begin again in the fall.
Pruning lavender is relatively easy. You have the option of cutting back your lavender or leaving the faded blooms on the plant. It really doesn’t make much difference in the performance next season. I prefer to prune lavender into a compact grey-green shrub and I am sometimes rewarded with another flush of blooms. This second round of blooms is not as spectacular as the first but it is adds color to a late-summer garden.
You can prune Spanish lavender by grasping the dead blooms with one hand and using clippers to cut them from the plants. Or, like my husband, you can take a small hedge clipper and cut the shrub into a rounded shape. Lavender can be cut back to about two-thirds of their original size. Try to avoid cutting back to old wood as the lavender may never recover. Eventually, as the lilac shrub ages, it will become too woody to be attractive. I have to replace my Spanish lavender every five years. Perhaps with careful pruning, yours will last longer.