How to Revive a Struggling Lavender Plant: 10 Tips to Try

Is your lavender plant showing signs of distress? Don’t give up just yet! There are several measures you can take to revive a struggling lavender plant and bring it back to its former glory. In this article, we will explore how to save a dying lavender plant by diagnosing its problems and implementing effective solutions.

The Ideal Growing Conditions for Lavender

Before diving into the troubleshooting process, it’s important to understand the optimal conditions for growing lavender. Native to the Mediterranean region, lavender thrives in environments that mimic its natural habitat. Here are the key factors to consider:

  • Full sun: Lavender requires plenty of sunlight to flourish.
  • Well-drained soil: Lavender prefers poor soil that allows water to pass through easily.
  • Infrequent watering: Overwatering can be detrimental to lavender plants, so it’s best to water them sparingly, ideally once every two weeks.

If your lavender plant is not experiencing these conditions, it is likely struggling. Focus on addressing these factors to give your plant the best chance of recovery.

How to Bring a Dying Lavender Plant Back to Life

To revive a dying lavender plant, it’s crucial to identify the underlying issue. Begin by looking for common reasons behind its decline, and if those don’t apply, explore less common problems. Here are ten tips to help you save your struggling lavender plant:

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1. Adjust your watering schedule

If you’ve been watering your lavender plant more than twice a week, it may be receiving too much water. Overwatering can lead to root rot, causing the roots to decay. Look for signs of overwatering, such as yellow leaves and consistently damp soil. Allow the plant to dry out, and with some patience, it should recover. On the other hand, if your lavender is turning brown or drooping, it may need more water. Start by watering it 1-2 times per week, gradually transitioning to once every two weeks.

2. Improve soil drainage

If your lavender plant is experiencing excessively moist soil despite infrequent watering, it’s crucial to improve drainage or change the soil altogether. Lavender dislikes having wet roots, so this step is vital. For container-grown lavender, consider adding more drainage holes or incorporating pea gravel into the soil. If your lavender is planted in the ground and the soil is clay-heavy, try adding pea gravel or vermiculite to enhance drainage.

3. Reduce soil fertility

Although it may seem counterintuitive, lavender plants thrive in nutrient-poor soil. If you’ve been using conventional potting mix or compost that is too rich in nutrients, it could be affecting your lavender’s health. Consider using a sterile planting medium, like the propagation mixes used by professional nurseries. Alternatively, create a lavender potting soil mix or use our recommended mix (link below) to replant your lavender.

4. Adjust soil acidity

While lavender can tolerate acidic soil, it prefers a slightly alkaline environment. If you notice diminished flower production and stunted growth, the soil acidity may be the culprit. Adding a pinch of pelleted lime to your container can help resolve this issue.

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5. Provide sufficient sunlight

All lavender varieties thrive in full sun. Ensure your plant is located in the sunniest part of your garden to promote its growth. If you are growing lavender indoors, place it near a bright window or consider using a grow light during the winter months.

6. Repot into a larger container

If your mature lavender plant seems cramped in its current container, it may benefit from being repotted into a larger one. Choose a container that provides ample space for the plant’s roots to spread out, and use a lavender-specific soil mix for optimal results. If you notice minimal growth and roots protruding from the drainage holes, your plant may be root-bound.

7. Stimulate new growth

For woody lavender plants, pruning a few inches of green growth at the top of the branches can revitalize the plant. Although the woody stems won’t generate new growth, the trimmed areas will receive an energy boost.

8. Protect from frost

In colder regions, lavender is often grown as a container plant. During the winter, it’s crucial to bring the plants indoors to protect them from frost and snow. In more temperate areas, lavender can be planted outside or left outdoors year-round.

9. Combat fungal infections

Various pests and diseases can affect lavender plants, manifesting in different discolorations. Gray leaves, for example, may indicate a fungal infection in the root system. Trim away any dead sections, treat the plant with a suitable fungicide, and replant it in fresh soil. If you observe yellowing and curling leaves, it could be a symptom of the alfalfa mosaic virus, which spreads via insects and contaminated tools. To prevent the virus from spreading to other plants, sanitize your gardening tools and remove the infected lavender plant entirely.

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10. Prune regularly

Regular pruning is essential for maintaining healthy lavender plants. It promotes robust root development and removes old growth. Prune your lavender in early spring before flowering and again in late summer or early fall after the summer bloom.

Remember, despite the numerous potential issues lavender plants may face, simplicity is key. By recreating their preferred conditions of sun, infrequent watering, and rocky soil, you can enjoy fragrant blooms from your lavender plants for years to come.

Conclusion

A dying lavender plant can be revived with the right care and attention. By adjusting watering schedules, improving soil drainage, reducing soil fertility, optimizing sunlight exposure, repotting when necessary, stimulating new growth through pruning, protecting from frost, tackling fungal infections, and regular pruning, you can give your lavender plant the best chance of recovery. Remember to provide the ideal growing conditions and address any issues promptly. Before you know it, your struggling lavender plant will be thriving once again.

If you need further guidance on growing lavender, visit Ames Farm Center.

How to save a dying lavender plant