How To Save A Lavender Plant (Plus 7 Causes And Solutions to Wilting)

From time to time lavender plants, like all others, can show signs of wilting. When this happens the tips below on how to save a lavender plant come in handy. Continue reading for our detailed guide.

The first step to knowing how to save your lavender is to identify why it might be struggling in the first place. This is not a trivial point because there are multiple reasons why a lavender plant may wilt and therefore need reviving. Overwatering, inadequate sunlight, and over-fertilization could be culprits. The most common way of reviving a lavender plant is by removing pests, providing direct sunlight, or adjusting the soil’s pH level or gravel content.

As gardeners, we want to see our plants reach their full potential, and if you fail, at least you know that you tried your best to save them. Let’s look at what causes it to wilt and how growers can save their lavender plant.

How To Save A Lavender Plant

Lavender plants come from the Mediterranean region of Europe, so to ensure your lavender plant stays in top-notch shape, you need to maintain the Mediterranean conditions they are accustomed to, especially the soil.

To return your lavender plant to its healthy state, you need to determine why it needs saving:

Does Your Lavender Plant Have Enough Sunlight?

Lavender in a window

Reconsider the placement of your lavender plant. If this is your first-time growing lavender, it is important to note that this plant needs six to eight hours of direct sunshine daily, especially during the growing season of Spring and Summer.

Sunlight helps lavender plants bloom properly and produce the best fragrances and oils. Inadequate sunlight can impede growth which can cause the plant to die.

If the lavender plants have been deprived of sunlight, you need to transplant them in a plant pot and set it in direct sunlight straightaway. Although full recovery is not guaranteed, you may still have a chance.

Is Your Lavender Plant Showing Symptoms Of Root Rot?

The leading causes of root rot are overwatering and slow water draining from the soil. If the lavender plants are planted too close to each other (less than two or three feet away) or surrounded by organic material, it can also cause root rot. Root rot causes yellow or brown foliage.

Water lavenders once every two weeks during the growing season (it is unnecessary to water them during Winter). To rejuvenate the lavender plant, you can:

  1. Reduce watering and remove organic materials that surround the lavender.
  2. Gently dig up the lavender plant from the ground using a small garden fork.
  3. Examine the roots thoroughly and prune infected roots (usually soft and visibly rotting roots) with a sterilized set of pruners.
  4. In fresh soil, transplant the lavender to a spot that supplies direct sunlight.
  5. To improve drainage, amend the fresh soil with sand.

Once you have completed these steps, do not water the plant for at least two weeks. It gives the lavender ample time to recover.

Users Also Read: Can Lavender Grow In Shade (#6 Important Species To Note!)

Is Your Lavender Planted In The Wrong Container?

Small containers hinder plant growth. Lavender plant pots need to measure 16 inches in width and height. At times, lavender plants can start showing perishing signs when planted in an improper plant pot that does not allow proper drainage.

The plant pot may also not be large enough for the roots and insulation of the plant. The recommended pot size enables proper drainage and sufficient soil for insulating the roots.

Make certain that the pot has drainage holes at the base to prevent water from pooling around the roots.

Are Your Pruning Your Lavender Properly?

Prune lavender plants every year to slow down the forming of woody growth. Woody growth produces fewer flowers and makes the lavender plant look disorderly.

To save your lavender plant, prune the woody lavender back. Cut back the top third of green growth and prune the lavender into a mounded form to help prepare the plant for Winter. Pruning is best in the late Fall or early Spring.

Do not cut into the woody growth. This can prevent the lavender from blooming and might also kill it. Out of all the possible methods for saving a lavender plant, woody growth might be the most challenging. So be careful while pruning!

Immoderate Fertilization

Soil with fertilizer

Lavenders prefer soils with low to medium fertility. Soil high in nutrients or organic content causes the lavender to produce fewer flowers and grow floppy.

This plant is not high maintenance since it does not require feeding, so adding fertilizer to the soil can change the foliage of the lavender from green to yellow. Yellow foliage means that the soil is high in nitrogen and can result in diseases.

To rejuvenate the lavender plant, you can:

  1. Stop adding fertilizer to the soil. Amend the soil with gravel or sand and plant it elsewhere.
  2. Cut back the floppy growths (late Fall or early Spring) using the same method explained for pruning woody growth.
  3. Give it some time! Your lavender plant will need a few days to recuperate fully.

Ideally, mix 30% gravel or sand and 70% compost whenever you plant lavender in a pot or garden borders.

With proper care, hardy lavender plants can live up to 15 years, but it depends on the type of lavender and how well growers take care of it.

Seven Reasons Why My Lavender Plant Is Wilting

Besides its major benefits, lavender plants carry a gentle and alluring scent. If you feel passionate about plant life and gardening, you surely want to see your lavender plant blossom in its season.

To help determine why your lavender flower is wilting away, consider the possible reasons outlined below:

1. Over-fertilization Of Lavender Plants

Over-fertilization can cause your lavender to perish. Heavy fertilization can lead to excess foliage growth and cause the lavender to not bloom. Apply water-soluble fertilizer monthly but only at half of the suggested strength.

Overall, lavender plants do not require a lot of fertilizer, but it depends on whether the plant is indoor or outdoor.

Indoor lavender plants require fertilization because they do not gather the necessary nutrients from the soil. Outdoor lavender plants grow better without commercial fertilizer. Mix the compost with the soil and add some potash.

Important: Do not fertilize your lavender plant in the fall. New plant growth will grow tender causing it to spoil or die.

2. Pests On Lavender Plants

Although lavender plants rarely experience pest problems, it is best to be aware of the bugs that might plague them.

Whiteflies Infecting Lavender Plant

The whitefly is a sap-sucking insect that accumulates at the bottom of the lavender leaves and can cause a mold infection. It hinders the plant’s vitality.

Remove these pests with a spurt of water or place aluminum foil (or any reflective material) around the plant to deter the whiteflies.

Spittlebugs Infecting Lavender Plant

Spittlebug, often called frog-hoppers, covers the stems of the lavender with a foamy substance (starts in spring). Branches can die, but the plant itself will not.

Spurt with water to get rid of the insects and the foamy substance. If the infestation gets excessive, use commercial insect killers.

Aphids (Greenfly Or Blackfly) Infecting Lavender Plant

Aphids carry a disease known as alfalfa mosaic. Aphids are not harmful to the plant, but the alfalfa mosaic disease can be.

I do not recommend using commercial pesticides because it kills advantageous insects. Instead, apply Neem oil, Diatomaceous earth, or Horticultural oil. Either three are very effective at deterring aphids.

Also Check: When To Transplant Lavender (8-Step Process & Important Seasonal Tips)

3. Diseases Of Lavender Plants

Although you might never witness the diseases mentioned below on your lavender plant, you need to know that it can still happen. Stay alert of any strange features that suddenly took over your lavender plant. Here are two diseases that are known for contaminating lavender:

Alfalfa Mosaic Virus Contaminating Lavender Plant

As mentioned before, Aphids carry a virus named alfalfa mosaic. If you suspect your lavender plant might be infected, e.g., its leaves look twisted, you can identify the disease by checking if there are bright yellow patches under the leaves.

The best option is to remove Aphids from the lavender plant and any other plants surrounding it. Even though the virus does not kill the lavender plant, it restricts growth.

Ensure that you remove infected plants because the alfalfa mosaic virus is contagious, and you want to prevent it from spreading to lavender and other plants.

Septoria Lavandula Contaminating Lavender Plant

Septoria Lavandula is a disease, and although it does not kill the lavender plant, it contaminates the surface tissues of its leaves. It is quite easy to identify this disease.

The fungus causes dark flecks to spread over the leaves and starts from the underside of the leaves. Usually, the flecks appear dark brown, but they can be grey or tan.

Prevent Septoria Lavandula by ensuring that you do not plant lavender or other greenery in soggy soil. Ventilation around the base of your plant is important.

4. Underwatering Or Overwatering Of Lavender Plants

Overwatering

Underwatered lavender plants will dry out, and leaves will become dry and yellow. To check if your plant is underwatered, feel the soil. If the soil is entirely dry and droopy, then your plant is badly underwatered.

Lavender plants can handle underwatering better than overwatering; you can just inspect your plant to determine if it needs more watering.

Overwatered lavender plants are susceptible to root rot, so soggy soil is not ideal. You can identify overwatering by yellowing leaves, drooping, and a rotting odor (indicates root rot).

If the soil takes longer to dry, consider transferring the plant into a smaller pot, or if the problem persists, place your plant in a sunnier area to stimulate growth.

5. Lavender Plant Receives Inadequate Sunlight

Your lavender plant should bathe in the sunlight for at least six to eight hours daily. Bright sunlight is essential for lavender plants to flourish properly.

Temperature also plays an important role. Lavender plants can handle low temperatures of 10°F, but younger lavenders struggle to live in night temperatures lower than 40°F.

6. Lavender Plants And Acidic Soil pH

Lavender plants develop best when they are planted in soil with a pH level between six and eight. If you plant it in acidic soil with a pH level of five or less, your plant will perish. You can use garden limestone to raise the pH level. Scatter it over the soil and mix it.

7. Unsuited Soil For Lavender Plant

Lavender needs to be planted in loosely packed soil with high gravel content. It helps drain excess water around the root structure. Tightly packed soil restricts growth because it preserves excess water.

Conclusion on How To Save A Lavender Plant

These plants originate from the Mediterranean region, which is warm and sandy; therefore, lavender plants do not ask for much from their growers. Maintaining this plant is pretty simple. Since these plants are low maintenance, I find it best to keep a schedule to help me stay on track.

Over- or underwatering, inadequate sunlight, overfertilization, pests, and unsuitable soil can all lead to the perishing of lavender plants. So, once you notice any flaws, act as soon as possible. Hopefully, you have an idea of how to save your lavender plant. Beauty takes time, so be patient and wait for it to recover fully.

References:

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/care-lavender-plants-40240.html

https://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/guide-planting-care-harvesting-lavender

https://www.almanac.com/lavender-winter-care