So you’ve been going about your normal gardening duties and you have noticed that your lavender plant is dying. You’re scratching your head wondering how this can be, you give your lavender plant plenty of your time and attention but you’re not sure what to do next. Don’t worry, I have written this article to give you some tips on how you can bring your lavender plant back to life:
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How to revive a dying lavender plant
Lavender plants are very sensitive to shade, and if they don’t get enough sunlight, they can die. Because lavender plants require year-round sunshine, the first thing you should do is move it into a bigger pot and place it in full sun. Avoid putting it beneath trees, on porches or near covered areas of your yard. Don’t overwater it either, they are Mediterranean plants and are drought-hardy.
Place your lavender plant into a larger pot with drainage holes
Move your lavender plant into full-sun
Avoid shaded areas
Lavender Plant Mediterranean Origin
So let’s think about where these beautiful lavender plants originate because it’s crucial that we do all we can to replicate the natural environment.
Lavender is native to the mountainous regions of countries adjacent to the western European portion of the Mediterranean. Lavender was popular in English gardens by the sixteenth century, when it was brought back from Europe by early travellers.
So we know that the majority of lavender plants originate from the sunny and dry Mediterranean region. This means they’re used to long, hot summers with very little rainfall.
Because of the mild winters in the Mediterranean region of Europe, lavender plants, in particular, do not endure such severe weather conditions as those your plant may encounter in the United Kingdom and North America.
Replicating these environments is crucial to the health of your dying lavender plant.
Signs your lavender plant needs reviving
There are several signs of why your lavender plant may be dying so here are some of the most common that you can tackle:
Root rot is one of the most common problems with lavender plants and is caused by excessive moisture around the roots.
Lavender is leggy with yellow leaves
Lavender plants can become leggy and have yellow leaves for a number of reasons, including lack of sunlight, over-fertilisation or drought stress.
Woody growth is stunting new blooms
Lavender plants can become woody over time, which can stunt the growth of new blooms. This occurs because you are not pruning back your lavender enough.
To ensure your lavender plant has the best chance of surviving, it is crucial that you provide it with full sun.
So let me give you some helpful advice on how you can tackle these problems head-on:
The foliage of your plant will start to turn brown or yellow, the stems will be soft and delicate and your plant will be wilting.
The main cause of root rot is too much water around the roots of your lavender plant. This can be caused by overwatering, poor drainage or compacted soil. High humidity can also cause root rot.
So as I mentioned before, Lavander plants are used to the Mediterranean climate. This means they like it sunny and dry.
Take out your lavender from the soil with a fork (a fork won’t cut through roots compared to a spade) and check for damaged roots. If there are any soft, decaying roots, snip away the diseased ones using sterile pruners.
You also need to make sure your plant is getting enough sunlight and that the soil is well-drained. If the soil is too wet, then you need to improve the drainage by adding grit or pea gravel in the planting site and some around its base after planting. You should also move them to a sunnier location in your garden.
Lavender plants that are fully established only need to be watered once every fortnight during the growing season and once a month during the winter months.
If you replant your lavender in the right sort of well-draining soil and avoid overwatering (once a week or every fortnight), you’re giving your plant the best chances of survival.
Clay soil can be a big issue for a lot of gardeners, as it doesn’t drain well and can be heavy and compacted. If your soil is clay-based, then you need to make sure you improve the drainage before replanting by using grit or pea gravel. You can also dig in some organic matter such as mushroom compost.
Lavenders, like all plants, require adequate amounts of sunshine and air circulation to thrive. They also need a minimum distance of 2-3 feet between each other to allow for airflow, which reduces the chance of plant mold development.
Lavender is leggy with yellow leaves
The plant will start to become leggy, it will produce very few flowers and the foliage will start to turn yellow or brown.
More often than not, it will be down to high nitrogen levels in your moist soil and using fertilizer too frequently.
To begin, you don’t need to add fertilizer to the lavender plant you’re cultivating. Consider this: lavender plants thrive in soils that are low in fertility. Mediterranean lavender thrives in sandy or gravelly soil, making them highly adaptable to soils with few nutrients.
If you are worried about the soil that your lavender plant is currently growing in, consider transplanting it to a Twelve- to 16-inch pot with drainage holes.
Prune back your lavender plant in Spring or late fall but only snip back the top third of the growth. Try to avoid cutting the plant to the base otherwise, it will struggle to grow back.
Correcting the soil that your plant is growing in with sand or pea gravel will really help your soil to drain properly. The downside to sand or pea gravel is they don’t provide many nutrients to your plant. Don’t worry about this too much though as lavender plants can grow in harsher soils.
As a rule of thumb, think about the ratio of 30% pea gravel to 70% compost when planting your lavender in pots or side borders. You can read an article I wrote about planting plans for more general ideas.
It’s difficult to predict how long it will take for a lavender plant to recover from transplanting. It may require a season and a good prune to fully resurrect from its leggy development and yellow foliage after the lavender has settled in its new location.
Your woody lavender plant has started to look messy, it isn’t producing as many flowers as it once did and is splitting because the wood it is producing is brittle and vulnerable.
Even if your lavender plant is healthy, they are prone to producing woody growth. There are ways you can prevent this from occurring as often.
Pruning is the key to reviving lavender plants that have become woody. Prune back the lavender to its flexible growth, being careful not to cut into the woody base. You can either prune in early Spring or late Fall when new growth is present.
To be honest, aside from pruning, there isn’t much more you can do for it and you may have to just remove the plant and replace it with a new lavender.
If you want to create your own lavender oil, propagation from cuttings is a cost-effective option. Lavender propagating is straightforward and can be accomplished without the use of hormone root powder.
Lavender Plant Revival in Pot or Container
The pot is insufficiently large for the roots and there are no drainage holes in the base of the plant or a drip tray positioned beneath.
Pots with a diameter of fewer than 10 inches can stop your lavender from growing. Lavender soil must be porous so that water may easily drain through the dirt and away from the roots, allowing for fast root respiration.
Bacteria that cause root rot thrive in damp, wet soil. A mulch, gravel or sand will prevent the topsoil from becoming sodden and will prevent conditions conducive to root rot.
New lavender readily takes root in a pot or container. The key to lavender revival is fast-draining soil and good drainage, which prevents the lavenders from rotting out after it rains because water does not drain away fast enough.
Plant lavender in a 16-inch pot every year, even if it’s a smaller variety such as ‘Hidcote superior‘ or ‘Munstead,’ to keep the plant healthy and blooming. Draining holes should be in the bottom of lavender pots.
Lavender Plant Revival in the shade
If your lavender is planted in the wrong place, it will eventually die. Lavenders need at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive; otherwise, they will start to look leggy and the leaves will turn yellow.
Locate your lavender in an area that receives full sun for best results. Lavender may revive if it is placed in the sun in time, but there is no assurance. Otherwise, you should follow the best lavender care procedures to ensure that it has a chance of recovery.
Lavender Plant Revival in Winter
Lavenders need at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive. If you are reviving lavender that is not receiving enough sun or warmth, then transplanting it to a better location may do the trick.
If the lavender cannot be moved indoors due to lack of space, make sure they receive adequate protection from any harsh winter weather conditions by covering them with horticultural fleece or wrapping their foliage within newspaper and securing it tightly in place using string or twine.
Do NOT pile soil up around lavender as this can cause rot during cold winters when rain penetrates the ground surface, freezes upon contact with the lavender bark and then thaws again later on which causes waterlogging below ground level where roots are situated.
When lavenders are in a state of dormancy during winter, they should only be watered once per month if absolutely necessary. If you live in a cold climate, lavenders will enter into their dormant stage from late fall to early spring and will not need water or any other care. In the warmest areas, lavenders may stay dormant for only a month or two.
This article provides a number of tips on how to revive a dying lavender plant. So let’s summarise:
Place your lavender plant in a bigger container (16 inches) with drainage holes
Plant your lavender in the sunniest area of your garden
Don’t overwater your lavender plant.
Remove your lavender using a fork and transplant it into a sunnier location
Avoid clay soil
Plant your lavender 3-4 feet away from each other
Don’t fertilize your lavender plant
Prune back your plant in Spring or late Fall
You can use pea gravel or sand to promote drainage