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  • Waterwise Gardening | David Salman

Late Summer Lavender Care

Lavender is one of the very best xeric (waterwise) shrubs for our New Mexico gardens. And August is a good month for deadheading lavender plants. Proper pruning and deadheading of lavender plants will increase your harvest of flower spikes for dried flowers and make your plants more beautiful and healthy. Lavender benefits greatly from being pruned in mid-spring and deadheaded in the summer.

-To deadhead: now is the time to remove faded flower stems just below the tips of the foliage. I like to nip the tips of the branches when I deadhead to stimulate lots of new branches that will eventually grow more flowering spikes. Spread the deadheaded flowering spikes out to dry in a protected, shady spot, and you can strip off the calyxes to make sachets and fill jars for use as indoor air fresheners. Watch the video for more information.

-To prune: wait until mid-spring when the new leaves begin to push out of the dormant stems. This is best done in mid-spring when the fresh new foliage begins to push from the sides of the dormant stems.

Twice Blooming English Lavender

There are two excellent English lavender cultivars (varieties) that grow exceptionally well in northern NM, ‘Sharon Roberts’ and ‘Buena Vista’. By promptly deadheading them in August, they will come back into bloom in September, greatly extending the season of lavender flowers and provide more nectar and pollen for appreciative bees and butterflies.

Plan Ahead to Harvest Fragrant Lavender Flowering Spikes

In New Mexico, the high elevation sun, arid climate and alkaline soils of our region make the plants that grow here, produce exceptionally fragrant and concentrated lavender oil.

-Flower spikes harvested from our lavender plants are superb for sachets and dried bouquets. It’s a little late this year to cut flowering spikes for drying at their optimum potency because the flowering spikes are finished blooming. Typically, from mid-July into early August is the time to harvest. Look closely at the individual flower spikes and harvest them (stems and all) when the top half of the spike is in bloom and bottom half not yet in flower. So mark your calendar for next summer to start enjoying your lavender harvest.

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