Stoechas lavenders, also known as French or Spanish lavenders, are more and more widely available in the UK. They're less hardy than English lavender (Lavandula angustifola) and they don't have as long lifespans, often living for just five years or so, but you can take cuttings to keep your plant going.
special care must be taken not to cut back French and Spanich lavender too hard - never cut into the bare wood, a gentle trim will suffice.
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French and Spanish lavenders can be recognised by their distinctive tufted petals at the top of the flower, looking rather like butterfly wings, and they flower much earlier than English lavender, with bloom often appearing as early as May. Here, the experts at Lavender Fields share their tips:
Deadhead French lavender regularly throughout the summer. This prolongs the flowering and creates new growth the following April/May.
To prune, cut with secateurs. Ensure a good clean cut so that the lavender will always heal easily and is at less risk of winter loss.
Cut at least two thirds of new growth back into the old wood. This leaves new shoots below the cut which is next season’s new growth.
You need to shape the lavender in readiness for next year. This will help promote more growth and a better display of flowers and also stops plants getting too woody and leggy.
Place the lavender in a protected area to avoid frost. In general, Stoechas lavenders are more tender than Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender) and easily suffer from winter kill.
Take cuttings in June and July, using two- to three- inch shoots. Find out more about taking softwood cuttings.
Step-by-step photos © www.thelavenderfields.co.uk
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