What To Do With Dried Lavender Stems?

Lavender plants are hardy plants that effortlessly spruce up patios, front entryways, and backyard gardens. Although generally easy to grow outdoors, lavender can present several problems, including stems drying out. While it may sound contradictory, dried lavender stems are usually from overly moist conditions.

Lavender stems primarily dry out due to root rot from overwatering, slow-draining soil, excess humidity, and pests. So, try to provide an arid environment, well-draining sandy soil, and allow the soil to dry out completely between watering to prevent the lavender stem from turning dry and brittle.

Fortunately, with the proper knowledge of lavender culture, you will be able to identify the cause and cure to prevent dried lavender stems and ensure future growth success. So, let’s identify the culprit behind dried lavender stems while providing straightforward solutions.

What To Do With Dried Lavender Stems?

Dried Lavender Stems

With hundreds of lavender cultivars available, there’s a lavender plant perfectly suited for almost every garden! However, true to its Mediterranean origin, lavender plants typically enjoy warm, sunny locations with infrequent rainfall, arid climates, and perfectly draining soil.

These hardy plants prefer cramped, rocky spaces and nutrition-poor soil over the loose, rich, nutrient-dense ground. Additionally, lavender prefers arid conditions underwatering to high humidity and overwatering as it rapidly increases the risk of contracting common fungal diseases.

Dried lavender stems tend to be a tell-tale sign that the plant is unhappy with its current location or care regimen, be it excess humidity, slow-draining soil, overwatering, or the onset of a common disease.

If you notice your lavender plant drying out, typically from the bottom to the top, you’ll want to take the appropriate steps to ensure that your plant recovers.

First, dig up the lavender or remove it from its pot to inspect the roots for any indications of root rot or fungal diseases.

Next, use a sterile pruning shear to snip away any mushy or rotten-looking roots. Also, cut out the dried-up stems off the lavender plant, leaving the healthy branches and foliage. Be sure to wipe the pruning shear with a cloth and sterilizer to prevent the fungal infection from spreading to the healthy roots of the plant.

Then, replant the lavender into the ground or a pot with ample drainage and a potting mixture consisting of horticultural sand, grit, and regular potting soil to increase drainage and ensure the roots stay dry between watering sessions.

Ensure that you plant the lavender in a spacious location with bright direct sunlight and a light breeze to help reduce the humidity and mimic its breezy coastal native area.

Lastly, water the lavender less frequently; about once every second or third week is enough to encourage healthy stems and foliage.

If the lavender plant has too many dried stems and rotting roots, it’s best to remove the plant altogether. Instead, consider taking a healthy cutting from the plant and propagating it to form a new, robust lavender plant.

Here are the four most prevalent reasons for dried lavender stems and how to save the plant:

Overwatering Lavender Can Cause Dried Lavender Stems

Watering jug

Lavenders are native to Southern Europe, thriving in arid conditions with few rainfall spells. So, lavender prefers dry soil and infrequent watering to thrive.

A mature or established lavender plant typically does not require additional water if you live in a temperate or somewhat humid climate. As a rule, only provide water every two to three weeks in scorching weather or if the lavender plants grow in pots.

More so, be sure to plant the lavender in a spot where it has protection from frequent rainfall.

If you water lavender plants too frequently, overwatering will lead to soggy soil conditions that cause root rot and fungal diseases. In addition, the lavender stems turn dry and brittle, typically from the bottom upwards.

So, consider slacking down on your watering schedule to allow the plant’s root to dry correctly and prevent dried lavender stems. More so, lavender does not only prefer dry roots but dry foliage too, so when watering the plant, be sure to water the base of the plant instead of overhead watering.

Related: Lavender Fertilizer: Important Considerations & Best Options

Soil With Poor Drainage Can Cause Dried Lavender Stems

Lavender plants are specifically well-adapted to poor quality, low nutrient, and sandy soils like their native Mediterranean. More so, all lavender varieties thrive in perfectly well-draining soil that stays on the drier side.

Slow-draining soil causes similar problems to overwater; moist or soggy soil conditions tend to lead to fungal diseases, root rot, and dried lavender stems.

Clay or nutrient-rich soil either drains too slowly or retains too much moisture for lavender roots to stay healthy as they will encourage fungal diseases and root rot.

So, opt for well-draining sandy soil and be sure to go slow on organic matter or fertilizer. More so, try to stay away from mulch as it will help retain moisture for longer – ultimately, we are looking for the opposite environment- arid, less fertile soil will ensure the roots stay dry and healthy.

If you plan on using a traditional potting mixture for your pot-planted lavender plants, be sure to add additional sand and grit to ensure porous soil with proper drainage that allows the roots to stay dry between watering sessions.

Lastly, note that over-fertilizing the lavender plant also detracts the plant from overall health and can cause more harm than good. So, be sure to add a handful of compost to a juvenile lavender plant and stop fertilizing altogether once the plant matures or becomes fully established.

High Humidity Can Cause Dried Lavender Stems

Lavender prefers growing in areas with low moisture due to its native climate with blazing sunshine, breezy weather, and arid conditions.

While lavender typically withstands a wide range of temperatures, damp and humid conditions tend to contribute to the development of fungal diseases and root rot that cause the stems to dry up and die.

Keep an eye out for wet, soggy roots for additional dampness in the winter and high humidity in the summertime. If you stay in a humid climate, be sure to plant your lavender in a sunny location and leave plenty of space between your plants to ensure adequate airflow, mimicking the plant’s native breezy home.

Tip: plant lavender close to stone or brick walls to protect it from harsh winters as the walls will provide additional warmth and protection.

Drying lavender

Pests And Diseases Can Cause Dried Lavender Stems

Although lavender plants are generally trouble-free if you grow them in a Mediterranean-like climate with well-draining soil, they aren’t entirely invulnerable to pests.

The most common pests that lavender is susceptible to include spittlebugs, aphids, gnats, and whiteflies. These insects can spread fungal spores that cause dried lavender stems.

More so, lavender plants are vulnerable to fungal diseases in overly wet or humid areas. Black root rot is the most common fungal disease that affects lavender; it ultimately causes unhealthy, dried lavender stems and can kill the plant if left untreated.

So, ensure that you provide similar conditions to the plant’s native region to ensure a robust and healthy plant resistant to common pests and fungal diseases. More importantly, be sure not to overwater lavender as soggy and slow-draining is the primary culprit that makes the plant susceptible to root rot and dried stems.

Also Check: Lavender Leaves Turning Yellow: 3 Likely Culprits & Effective Solutions

Conclusion: What To Do With Dried Lavender Stems

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, dried lavender stems generally indicate overwatering, soggy soil, or too humid conditions.

To grow healthy lavender plants, try to mimic the plant’s Southern European conditions by ensuring warm temperatures and low humidity, nutrient-poor soil with ample drainage, infrequent watering, and keep an eye out for common pests and fungal infections.

If your stems are already dried out, prune them with a sterile pruning shear and repot the plant in soil with ample drainage and water it less frequently.