How to Revive a Dying Lavender Plant

Lavender is a beautiful and fragrant addition to any garden or home. Unfortunately, lavender plants often need a little help staying healthy. Lavenders are low-maintenance plants that may survive up to 15 years with proper maintenance. Lavenders are native to the Mediterranean region of Europe and have evolved to suit a certain set of circumstances.

To help keep your lavender plant alive, you have to replicate its original living conditions. Lavender grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. If your lavender is already starting to look sickly or droopy, you should check its root system for any sign of rotting or insects before reviving it back into a healthy state using one (or more) of these techniques:

Lavenders are tough plants but not invincible; if your lavender starts looking poorly then there’s probably something wrong with it. If your lavender plant has started to die, don’t throw it away. With a few simple steps, you can revive your lavender in no time at all. In the following article, we will discuss how to keep lavender alive with these easy tips from expert gardeners:

revive lavender snippet image

Table of Contents

Identify the reasons why your lavender plant could be dying

Lavender may die for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are:

  • Excessively wet conditions can encourage root rot.
  • Lavender that is leggy and has yellow leaves (soil fertility too high)
  • A lack of flowers and a thicket-like rise in density might indicate that lavender is not getting pruned enough.
  • A lack of sunshine. Lavenders thrive in direct sunlight and will not thrive if they are shaded.
  • Inadequate soil drainage. The roots of lavender will grow along the rim of its container but not in the centre.

The best way to get your lavender back in full health and bloom the following year is by addressing these issues.

lavender plant in garden

Lavender Plant Root Rot

  • Symptoms – wilting leaves, excessive stem growth, water-soaked roots.
  • Causes – Soil is too wet and doesn’t drain properly; lavender is over-watered.

Lavenders are native to the Mediterranean coast in Southern Europe’s dry, sandy regions. As a result, lavenders thrive in hot, sun-drenched conditions with a minimum of watering and fast-draining soil. Between the foliage, there must be plenty of ventilation. Lavenders are drought-tolerant plants that thrive in dry locations!

In the summer, established lavenders only require watering once every two weeks, and they don’t need to be watered at all in the winter.

How to revive lavender plants with root rot

  • If your lavender is in a pot, repot it into a container with drainage holes. Make sure the new pot is at least twice the size of the original pot.
  • If your lavender is in the ground, loosen the soil around the plant and add some organic matter (compost, manure, leaf mould) and make sure to scale back on watering.
  • Using a fork, carefully lift away the lavender from the ground (as opposed to a spade, which is more likely to cut through roots). Examine the roots for any soft, rotting pieces. If there are any infected roots, snip them off with sterilized pruners.
  • Place the lavender in a new location with bright light and fresh soil. To improve drainage, amend the soil before planting with sand or gravel.

If you have lavenders planted too tightly together, they will compete for sunlight and nutrients. Make sure there is plenty of space around each individual plant by adding some organic matter (compost) into the topsoil to improve fertility.

root rot

Lavender Plant is Leggy and has Yellow Leaves

Symptoms – Wilting leaves, thin stems, lack of flowers.

Causes – Soil nitrogen is too high.

Lavenders prefer soils with low to medium fertility, and they thrive in sandy or rocky soil in their natural habitat. Lavender grows in sandy or gravel soil in its native environment. Lavender is specifically adapted to these seemingly harsh conditions. For both the winter and the summer, there is enough sunshine that lavender can use as a source of energy.

When plants like lavender are grown in soil high in organic material or nutrients, they will become leggy and produce fewer flowers, which is contrary to the objective of gardeners.

Lavender bushes do not require feeding, and the addition of fertilizer to the soil will frequently turn the foliage from green to yellow. Yellow leaves are an indication that there is too much nitrogen in the soil, making it more prone to disease.

How to Revive Lavender Plant that is Leggy and has Yellow Leaves

  • Do not add any fertilizer. If you have been doing this, stop immediately.
  • Remove lavenders from rich garden soils and transplant them to a pot or, if you must, into the garden soil. Plant somewhere else in the planting border using sand or gravel, or plant lavenders in a container on your patio.
  • Prune the leggy growth of the lavender in early Spring or late Fall, but only prune the top third of the flexible development. Do not cut back to the woody root; it does not rejuvenate quickly.
  • Lavenders can be difficult to grow back, so follow the most efficient methods for caring for them and be patient.

Sand or gravel should be added to the soil to balance out the fertility of the soil and recreate the low to medium soil fertility that lavenders need. However, sand or gravel, on the other hand, do not add significant amounts of nutrients to the soil and keep them for only a short time.

When growing lavender in pots or amended garden border edges, there should be around 30% sand or gravel and 70% compost, according to volume.

Lavenders flower more in lower to medium fertility soils, despite the fact that it appears counterintuitive! It may take a season for the lavender to recover completely from its leggy development and yellow foliage after being transplanted.

lavender yellow leaves

Woody Growth From Lavender Plant

  • Symptoms. The lavender produces fewer blooms and is more prone to splitting because its wood is considerably softer than that of the newer flexible growth.
  • Causes. Lavenders grow woody over time. Every year, prune lavenders to prevent the formation of woody growth from the base.

All lavender varieties and lavender species produce wood as they age. In the first year of growth, lavenders will grow upright with a soft flexible stem that leads to an abundance of blooms.

However, after several years of growing in rich garden soil or being over-fertilized, lavenders develop a hardwood base at their roots from which fewer flowers appear because there is not enough moisture reaching each individual plant’s roots for them all to survive.

How to Revive Woody Lavender

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.

Lavenders take a long time to recover from being transplanted and may not flower for a season or two so be patient!

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.

woody lavender plant

Lavender Plant Revival in Pot or Container

The most common reasons for potted or container lavenders that look unhealthy and in need of revival are:

  • The pot is insufficiently large for the roots
  • There are no drainage holes in the base of the plant or a drip tray positioned beneath.

New lavender readily takes root in a pot or container. The key to lavender revival is soil medium and good drainage, which prevents the lavenders from rotting out after it rains because water does not drain away fast enough.

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.

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 or containers to prevent water from pooling around the roots. A drip tray beneath is a frequent error that prevents water from running over a patio or indoors space by catching it with a catch basin underneath.

Bacteria that cause root rot thrive in damp, wet soil. A mulch will prevent the topsoil from drying out and will encourage conditions conducive to root rot.

Lavenders do not require frequent watering (if at all) and should be transplanted to a lawn or another similar surface for 30 minutes after irrigation to prevent water from leaking into the patio or inside space.

potted lavender

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 adhere to the best lavender care procedures to ensure that it has a chance of recovery.

shaded lavender

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 lavender bark and then thaws again later on which causes water logging below ground level where roots are situated.

When lavenders are in a state of dormancy during winter, they should not be watered at all. 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.

excessive soil moisture

Other Related Questions

Can a lavender plant come back to life?

There is no guarantee, but lavender plants have a good chance of revival if you follow the proper steps. Lavender is a perennial shrub that comes back every year in the spring and lives for many years if properly cared for, growing in an appropriate climate and situation. If lavender is pruned too severely or not pruned at all for several years, it will not return.

What to do if my lavender plant dies?

  • If your lavender has died, then there are several things you can do in order to try and revive it. First, check the soil to make sure that it is not too wet or damp. If it is, then try to improve drainage by adding gravel or sand to the potting mix.
  • You may also need to transplant your lavender into a larger pot with better drainage. Make sure that the new pot has drainage holes in the bottom and place a drip tray beneath it to catch any excess water.
  • If these measures don’t work, then your lavender plant is probably beyond revival. You can try lavender propagation to attempt to grow a new lavender plant from cuttings, but there’s no guarantee that it will take root and survive.
dead lavender

Why is my lavender turning brown and dying?

  • There could be many reasons why your lavender is turning brown and dying. One possibility is that the lavender is not getting enough sunlight. Lavenders need at least six hours of direct sun per day in order to thrive. If they are not receiving enough light, the leaves will start to turn yellow.
  • If all else fails, it’s possible that your lavender plant has been infected with a disease or pest. In this case, you may need to remove the plant completely and destroy it in order to prevent the disease or pest from spreading. You can then try lavender propagation to grow new lavender.

Should I deadhead lavender?

Lavenders like to be pruned back. However, do not trim into old wood because most plants will not re-grow from this. During the summer, deadhead lavenders as they will bloom continuously throughout May to September. Deadheading will also stimulate more flowering throughout the season by encouraging additional blossoming.

lavender deadheading
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