Herbs benefit from pruning care that goes beyond harvest pruning. Compact, dense and vital growth is the reward for the effort. When and how you prune depends on the growth habit. These instructions have summarized the most important tips for the perfect herb cut.
Growth habit dictates pruning
How a herb plant grows determines the correct pruning care. Roughly outlined, the following three categories thrive in the herb garden:
- Short-lived annual herbs that die off after seed maturity
- Herbaceous, perennial herb species with the growth of a perennial
- Subshrubs and shrubs that become woody from the base
Short-lived herb species aside, it pays to blend your floral aroma artists once a year beyond harvest. The best cutting tool for this important care measure is spotlessly clean, sharp pruning shears with a bypass mechanism.
Cut perennial, herbaceous herbs – this is how it works
Popular types of herbs, such as chives, lemon balm, or comfrey, thrive like perennials. Every spring, the tasty, herbaceous shoots sprout from their hardy root ball. Only after the first frost does the above-ground parts of the plant withdraw again. How to properly cut perennial herbs:
- The best time is in late autumn
- Alternatively, prune in early spring
- Cut off all shoots at ground level
In regions with harsh winters, it is advisable to use dead shoots and leaves as natural winter protection for the root ball.
Cut spicy subshrubs in spring
Magnificent species such as rosemary, sage, lavender, and thyme can be found in the herbal upper league. Regardless of their multiple attributes and differences, the herbal beauties all thrive on woody shoots. This growth requires annual pruning. When shoots become woody, growth usually comes to a standstill and the aromatic harvest fun comes to an end. How to cut the spicy subshrubs correctly:
- The best time is in spring when there is no longer any danger of frost
- Thin out dead, damaged, and frozen shoots at ground level
- Cut back the remaining shoots by one to two thirds
- Ideally, cut the herb plant in a hemispherical shape
- Caution: do not cut into old, leafless wood
Lavender and blossom sage give you a second bloom if you clean the herbal plants in summer. Cut off wilted inflorescences to the next healthy pair of leaves. As a result, the late summer rays of sunshine bring previously dormant buds to life. Furthermore, you prevent the exhausting formation of seed heads and prevent unwanted self-sowing.
Harvest whole shoots
In connection with the harvest pruning, you can effectively counteract premature and progressive lignification. You can do this by always harvesting whole shoots from herb subshrubs. Select the intersection so that it is still in the leafy area. The herbal plant then happily sprouts again with herbaceous, tasty shoots.