Ideally, a lavender plant can live for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 15 years!
Creating an environment similar to their natural habitat is key to keeping your lavender alive. But when you don’t keep the conditions right, you need to know how to revive dying lavender.
Reasons, why lavender may need revival, is excessive water, poor soil, not enough sunlight, excess nutrients in the soil, inadequate growing pot/container, aphids, climate, etc.
Leading Reasons Why Lavender Die
Lavender appears to be a low-maintenance plant.
But, keeping them healthy and happy enough to produce lots of flowers can be tough! In some cases, deviation from their ideal environment can leave them droopy and almost dead.
As a result, you need to know how to revive dying lavender and rectify the growing conditions available to them.
1. Root Rot
The condition ‘root rot’ is perhaps the leading cause of dying lavender plants.
Symptoms of root rot include wilting and drooping plants. Also, the foliage will appear to be turning brown or yellow in color, mostly from the bottom-most stems.
If you look at the roots, they may be soft, discolored, and even dead!
Causes of root rot include overwatering, non-porous soil, high humidity, high rainfall, etc.
Lavender thrives in hot sunny conditions with dry air and sparse watering. Areas that fit this profile are the Mediterranean coast and Southern Europe.
How To Revive Lavender With Root Rot?
- If you suspect your lavender plant has root rot, stop watering it immediately. If your lavender is in a pot, shelter it from rainfall and humid air till the soil begins to dry. Do not water it during this time!
- Immediately remove any mulch or organic matter (dead leaves, grass) from the plant. Materials such as these retain moisture and create an overly wet lay of soil beneath them.
- Using a fork, remove the lavender plant gently from the ground. Assess the roots. Remove any soft or overly wet roots using a sterilized pair of pruning scissors.
- Select a location with full sun and transplant the lavender. Make sure to customize the soil to the liking of lavender (high sand or gravel composition to give high porosity).
- Strictly water the plant at an interval of two weeks and the lavender should revive
2. Bushy Lavender With Yellow Foliage
Notice your lavender plant getting bushy and leggy?
Other characteristics you may also notice are fewer flowers and foliage that is turning color.
A common cause for this type of growth could be the soil. Soil that has a high nutrient value or fertilizer will promote this ‘leggy’ growth.
Lavender prefers low or medium soil fertility. Growing lavender in excessively rich soil will lead to the overgrowth of foliage.
At the expense of flowers! Lavender soil should be in the ratio of 30:70 (sand/gravel: compost).
How To Revive Leggy and Yellow Lavender?
- In case you are giving your lavender fertilizer, supplements, or organic compost, stop immediately!
- If you think your soil is the culprit, remove the lavender from that area. Instead, you can choose to transplant it into a pot. This way you can ensure the soil is not nutrient-rich and you can amend it to your lavender’s requirements.
- You must prune your lavender in Spring or late Fall. Do not cut off more than the topmost third of foliage. Avoid pruning your way to the woody base as it does not grow back easily.
- Keep note of the soil richness and continue caring for your lavender plant. Be patient as it will take a while for the plant to fully revive and produce a good bloom of flowers.
- Another point to look out for is that the soil pH should be right. Lavender prefers higher soil pH in the range of 6 to 8. Acidic pH of 5 or less will ultimately kill your lavender.
3. Woody Growth
A woody lavender plant looks untidy and does not produce many flowers.
This defeats the purpose if you have grown lavender to add color and fragrance to your garden! This is exactly why you would want to revive a woody lavender bush.
Symptoms of woody lavender are a decrease in flowers, splitting of woody parts, and possible inability to support the plant.
Lavender plants turn woody naturally with age. But, constant pruning at the right time can slow the process.
Year-round pruning is crucial to delay woodiness and to increase the longevity of a lavender plant.
How To Revive Woody Lavender?
- Tackling woody lavender is not the easiest of tasks. By no means is it an overnight recovery when dealing with woody lavender plants! The only option is to get into a routine and prune it back to good health.
- Avoid cutting into or pruning the woody stem portions as this supports the entire plant. Doing so would avert flowering and can possibly even kill the plant.
- When pruning a woody lavender, start at the top. Prune the top third of foliage (it should be green to indicate new growth). Be sure to prune in such a way that the plant looks like a mound shape. This helps the plant weather the elements.
- Prune only in early Spring (March to April) or late Fall (September to October). These are either before or after the Lavender flowering season.
Alternatively, you can opt for the propagation of cuttings if you feel your lavender bush can’t be revived.
Take cuttings in early Spring, you can grow them easily without the need for rooting hormone powder.
4. Dying Potted Lavender
It is not completely true that lavender does better in pots than in the ground. Sometimes even a potted lavender plant needs some saving! A potted lavender plant needs revival in two main cases:
- When the lavender is in a pot of insufficient size
- There are no drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, or there are but a dripping tray is beneath the pot
These two issues can create a range of problems for your lavender plant.
How To Revive Lavender In A Pot?
- Source a pot that is ideally 16 inches wide and deep. A pot this large will carry enough soil that can insulate the lavender roots during the cold season. With the right soil mix, water will pass out and not accumulate in the pot.
- Make sure the pot/container has adequate drainage holes at the bottom. Do not place a dripping tray underneath a lavender pot plant. This keeps the soil wet and as a result, roots may develop root rot. Also, loose porous soil allows roots to breathe.
- Even when planting a smaller lavender variant, supply them with a larger pot to ensure fruitful blooms.
5. Lavender In The Shade
All types of lavender should be grown in full sun to stimulate flower production.
Failing to provide full sun will greatly reduce flower output. In fact, a lavender plant that sees less than 6 hours of daily sun in the growing period will die.
How To Revive Lavender In The Shade?
- Suppose you have planted a lavender bush in a sunny area. But over the course of time, the area has been turned into a shady spot due to other plant growth. As a result, your lavender bush will suffer from poor health and no flowers.
- The only way to revive a lavender from shade is to transfer it to a sunny spot. When lavender is put under cold and shady conditions it could die or be in a state of dormancy.
- There is no guarantee that a lavender plant that has been kept in the shade for too long can be revived! So, this is one mistake you don’t want to make with your lavender plants.
6. Winter Lavender
Lavender is a dry-climate plant that does best with the year-round sun. Unfortunately, not all areas can guarantee these conditions.
Winters are especially tough for lavender and they survive by becoming dormant. But still, some variants like English Lavender are frost-hardy but not the others.
French Lavender is sensitive to temperature and will perish in frosty weather.
How To Revive Winter Lavender?
- If you have a lavender pot plant and winter is approaching, bring it indoors or in an enclosed area.
- But, if you can’t bring your lavender indoors you may not be able to revive them. Instead, be open to replacing them.
- Don’t get rid of them just yet. Winter is a dormant stage for lavender and they may just show signs of growth in Spring.
- English Lavender is very likely to survive winters even if there is snow and frost. Wait till Spring to see it revive by itself but make sure you care for it properly.
Unfortunately, aphids are a problem that lavender growers will have to deal with. A serious infestation of aphids will affect your lavender’s growth because they carry a disease called alfalfa mosaic virus.
Alfalfa mosaic virus leads to stunted growth in lavender.
Deterring aphids will prevent your lavender from catching the disease. But be careful on what prevention method you use as not all are safe.
How To Revive Aphid Infested Lavender?
- Although the aphids will not really affect the lavender, they could pass on disease which will affect your lavender plant.
- Use Neem oil, and horticultural oil and apply it to the stems affected. Aphids will not be able to grip the stem properly after this.
- Avoid using commercial pesticides since these will also kill beneficial insects, including natural aphid predators.
- Also, you can use diatomaceous earth (DE) to ward off aphids.
8. Climate and Suitable Lavender Variant
Sometimes no matter how hard you try to grow lavender you just can’t. Even if all the soil, care, and location are suitable. In this case, there is not much to put to blame!
Unfortunately, it could be the climate or country you live in and the variant you are growing is just incompatible!
This is quite unfortunate and you could try to get another lavender variant and grow it.
Additionally, if you live in a colder area, English lavender would be better suited to the conditions than French lavender.
Lavender may have simple requirements but it is not always easy to provide them when the slightest change can affect the plants.
Knowing how to revive dying lavender is important to having a healthy and colorful lavender plant.
Usually, a lavender plant needs revival for one of these reasons:
- It has too much water and the soil is not porous enough
- Not enough sunlight
- Soil is too fertile and pH is not ideal
- The pot is too small
With lavender, you have to make sure that all the conditions are suitable year-round. Lots of sunlight, bi-weekly watering, and porous soil make the best combination for lavender plants.
A lavender plant that has too much water will be browning and have yellow leaves that fall off. Also, the roots will have root rot due to too much water or poor drainage. The plant will appear to wilt even though it is obviously not dry!
Many people think that lavender is short-lived like a weed. This is not true at all! English lavender can live for up to 15 years when given excellent care! French lavender variants can live for 3 to 4 years on average.