Lavender Turning Gray: 4 Likely Causes And Effective Solutions

While lavender plants are typically low maintenance, issues with lavender turning gray are not uncommon. I explain some common causes and solutions below.

Possible reasons why lavender plants sometimes turn gray include:

  1. Damage From Frost Cause Lavender To Turn Gray
  2. Fungal Diseases That Cause Gray Lavender
  3. Improper Watering Practices For Your Lavender
  4. Improper Nutrient Levels In The Lavenders Soil

These problems can greatly affect the life span of your lavender plant and may even outright kill your plant. Let’s look at these issues in greater detail and see what their solutions are, so you can help your plant get back to full health.

Causes Of Lavender Turning Gray

There is nothing worse than seeing your beloved lavender plant taking a turn for the worse, especially if you have provided all the care it requires. And even if you have been lacking a bit in the care department, it’s still not a nice thing to see.

A few problems can arise with your lavender plant that can cause the plant to turn gray. A few of these causes are in your control, and a few of them are not your fault and are natural.

We will cover all of them and give you the solutions to these problems to help ensure the health and survival of your lavender plant. So, let’s look at the main causes of your lavender plant turning gray, which include:

  • Damage from frost
  • Different fungal diseases
  • Improper watering
  • Improper nutrient levels in the lavenders soil

All these issues mentioned above should be fixed as soon as possible, so let’s go through these issues more in-depth to understand them better and what you can do to fix them.

1. Damage From Frost Cause Lavender To Turn Gray

Lavender in frost

Frost damage could be why your lavender is turning gray, but for you to pinpoint this as the problem, you need to take the type of lavender you are growing into account first.

If your lavender is English lavender, then you are less likely to have this problem as this type of lavender is cold hardy. This means that they can survive through cold winters with snow and ice, with little care and help from you.

However, if your lavender is a French, Spanish, or Portuguese lavender, then frost damage is more likely to occur, as these lavender types are not cold-hardy.

If these lavender types are left out in cold weather, their leaves and stems, and sometimes their roots, can get frostbite, which will start turning them gray.

The Solution

If you are growing a French, Spanish, or Portuguese lavender plant and live in a location where the winters become cold and icy, you need to do one of the following two things. If your lavender plant is growing in a pot, you should bring your lavender inside your home to over-winter indoors.

This will ensure your lavender is safe and warm through the winter. If your lavender is planted outside in your garden, then you need to prepare it for winter and cold weather as best you can.

You should give your lavender a light trim to ensure it is kept in good shape; this will help protect the woody parts of the plant that are more sensitive to cold temperatures.

Is you live in a climate that gets exceptionally cold, then it would be best to cover the plant for the winter to help protect it from the cold.

Read more: Woody Lavender: Likely Causes And 3 Salvage Tips

2. Fungal Diseases That Cause Gray Lavender

Fungal diseases can also cause your lavender plant to turn gray. The most common fungal infection that affects lavender plants in this way is botrytis spp. This type of fungus will mainly affect the foliage of the plant near the plant’s base.

This fungal disease usually develops on lavender plants kept in conditions that are too moist for the plant. This fungus will develop and grow on all lavender types, so it is extremely important to keep your lavender in the ideal conditions.

Lavender plants require well-draining soil, mostly sandy soils, that have a medium nutrient level. If you want your lavender to avoid any fungal diseases, you must ensure these conditions are met. If your lavender develops a fungal infection, you can treat it, so hope is not lost.

The Solution

If your lavender has developed a fungal disease, you need to treat it as soon as you spot it, as you must not let the fungus take over the plant’s roots. If this happens, your plant may not survive.

So, the first step is to remove your lavender from the soil it’s in and inspect the plant’s roots carefully. If you notice any of the roots are infected by the fungus, you need to trim them off with a pair of scissors or garden shears that have been disinfected.

Sterilize the scissors after every cut to ensure the fungus does not spread. Then examine the plant’s leaves and stems and trim off any infected areas while sterilizing the scissors as you go. Place your lavender plant somewhere safe, as you will deal with the soil the plant was in.

If your lavender was in a pot, discard the soil in its entirety. If your lavender plant was in the ground, you would need to dig up the soil and completely replace it where the lavender was planted, as the fungus can live in the soil and spread to other plants.

Once you have discarded the affected soil, you can replant your lavender. It would be best if you sheltered the plant from rain and not water it for two weeks while the plant recovers.

3. Improper Watering Practices For Your Lavender

Your watering practices could be what is making your lavender turn gray. Overwatering your lavender plant can cause a fungal infection to develop on your lavender plant, which, as we have seen, is pretty dangerous for your lavender.

Underwatering your lavender plant can also cause the plant to start turning gray as the plant cannot form a deep root system, affecting its nutrient intake, causing discoloration in the plant.

The Solution

You must know how much water your lavender plant requires to stay healthy and happy. When you first become a lavender owner, you need to water your new lavender plant once per week while the plant establishes itself.

Once your lavender plant is mature, you can slow the watering down to once every two or three weeks, depending on how hot your climate is. If your lavender is in a pot, water it until the water starts to drip out the drainage holes. If it’s planted in the ground, water it until the soil is moist to the touch.

4. Improper Nutrient Levels In The Lavenders Soil

Improper watering

Something you need to look t if your lavender begins to turn gray is the nutrient levels in your plant’s soil. The best way to determine what is happening in your lavender’s soil is to do a soil test.

This will let you know if there is a lack of nutrients or a build-up of nutrients in the soil, both of which can cause your lavender to turn gray. The main aspects of the soil that you need to watch are the potassium leaves, nitrogen levels, and the pH of the soil.

If there is a build-up of nitrogen, this could be the cause of the problem. If the potassium level in the soil is low or the pH is alkaline, this could also cause the problem. These causes need to be addressed as soon as you are aware of them; otherwise, your plant may die or have a shorter life span.

The Solution

To help fix your lavender’s soil, if the soil is alkaline, add in some lime. This will help the soil become more acidic, which is the condition that lavender needs for its soil. If your soil’s potassium level is low, you can add a fertilizer with a high potassium concentration to the soil.

If your soil has a build-up of nitrogen, you can do a few things to reduce the nitrogen. You can add some hardwood ash to the soil or some sawdust to absorb the excess nitrogen.

If your lavender is planted in your garden, you can plant nitrogen-loving plants around it to absorb the nitrogen. Some of these plants include broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and cabbage.

Also Check: Is Lavender Plant Good For Bedroom? 6 Important Benefits & More Tips

Conclusion on Lavender Turning Gray

You need to keep in mind several factors when you are growing lavender, some of which can cause your lavender to turn gray. Some of these aspects you are in control of, while others can happen to any plant at any time, as a part of nature.

However, there will always be something you can do to help your plant survive, recover, and stay healthy after the problem that caused it to turn gray. Good luck with your lavender!