Why Does My Lavender Bush Not Smell?

Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by Stephanie

The reason that lavender isnt fragrant is typically due to the fact that its not getting enough sunlight or is the soil it is planted in that is not fertile. The lavender needs full sun and low to moderate fertility soil for the production of the oil the reason for their distinctive aroma.

Other factors can trigger the stress that will stop it from producing scent. It is important to note that certain varieties of lavender possess a stronger scent than others, and the best time to enjoy the lavenders scent is during the season of growth (spring and summer).).

Continue reading to find out the answers to determine what makes lavender difficult to smell and the best way to fix the issue.

Lack of Sunlight Reduces Lavender Aroma

Lavenders are indigenous to in the Mediterranean area of Europe which is cultivated for its aroma and oil especially throughout France, Italy and Spain. Lavender is particularly successful here due to the hot temperatures throughout the year and the blazing sun.

The less sunlight lavender gets, the less flower oils and scent it produces. The suns light is the primary element in the production of oils and, consequently, the intensity of the scent of lavender.

It doesnt mean that you require or Mediterranean climate to cultivate lavender, as the English lavender plant is cold-hardy and can endure frost, snow, and ice during winter.

But all lavender needs to be planted in full sun as much as possible, with at minimum 6 hours of sunshine each day during the time of growth (preferably the morning sun).

The oil of lavender will be more intense in the early morning, therefore, it is best to pick lavender in the early hours of the morning.

If your lavender isnt getting enough sunlight, then consider moving it to an area with more sun (this is best done in spring) or trim back any overhanging trees or plants that could be hindering sunlight.

Lavender with Bee

There are some best methods to consider while moving lavender especially in reducing transplant shock , which Ive described in this article.

An ideal solution is to move your lavender into the pot in case there isnt enough space in your gardens planting areas. You can then place it on the patio, or another space around your home which receives more sunlight.

For more details, read my article about cultivating the lavender plant in pots.

Different varieties in Lavender with a strong scent

If youre Lavender seems to be healthy and has been producing flowers, but does not emit a strong scent, then it could be due to the particular lavender variety. Certain varieties of lavender smell more than other varieties.

Some examples of English lavenders that emit an intense scent include Hidcoteand Munsteadvariety that are both commercially grown.

English lavenders can be cold hardy and can last as long as fifteen years when properly cared for.

If you reside in a warmer climate , French as well as Spanish lavenders can also give off an aroma that is pleasant and are commercially grown in certain regions to produce their oil. Some varieties grown commercially and coveted for their scent include Lavandula penduculata as well as Lavandula Ballerina .

There are a myriad of lavender varieties grown from every species, and they all have scents that vary in terms of intensity. However, if you are looking for a consistently strong and smoky scent of lavender, I suggest the English lavender variety.

Fertile Soils prevent the smell of lavender from forming

Lavenders that are in fertile soil or soils that have added fertilizer wont develop as well or emit as much scent like lavenders that are in fertile mediums to poor soils.

It may sound counterintuitive however lavenders are native in the Mediterranean in which they thrive naturally in soils that are sandy and poor.

The lavender plants have been specifically evolved to live in soils that are less fertile that have an abundance of minerals (sand or gravel) and create more blooms and a better scent when they live in these soils.

The more fertile the soil, will be, the less blooms and scent are produced. Instead, lavender will become untidy and sloppy and may change color if theres excessive nitrogen present in soil. If this is the case with your lavender check out my article to find the remedy.

Established lavenders dont require any fertilizers or supplements. To enhance the scent of your lavender, make sure that the lavender plant is in soil that is similar to the natural habitat of the plant.

Do not plant lavender in very fertile organic soils with lots of fertility, as this can end up affecting the scent that your flowers emit. The best thing to do is to plant lavender in soil which has been amended with gravel or sand since this can recreate lavenders preferred soil conditions.

Lavenders are the longest-lived plants and have the strongest scent when theyre in soil with at minimum 30% sand or gravel. The sand or the gravel also improves the soils structure to allow water to be absorbed more effectively. This lets the lavender roots dry between periods of watering , which helps prevent root decay.

Sand and gravel do not provide a substantial amount of nutrients to the soil, so they are able to balance soils that are more fertile, and therefore are better suited for the cultivation of lavender.

It is in these conditions of soil that lavender plants can release the greatest fragrance and show off a stunning bloom during the summer and spring.

For more information, check out my article about what lavender soil looks like for more details.

Insufficient sunlight or fertile soils are two of the most commonly cited reasons that lavenders dont smell as strong as they ought to, however there are other facts that you need to know about…

Other Factors:

Lavenders prefer soil that is alkaline, but they can thrive in soils that range from 6.5 up to 7.5 pH. (This is a range from moderately acidic to somewhat alkaline).

If the lavender you are growing is growing on soil which is too acidic (less than the pH 6.5) it wont be able to create its scent or oil in the same way because of stress.

If your lavender garden is growing in full sun and has proper soil conditions for drainage and fertility, then is worth checking whether your soils pH is high enough. The most efficient method to accomplish this is to use a product purchased from Amazon that is available at an affordable cost.

The soil that is acidic can be modified with agriculture lime, or Ash (which can both be alkaline) to raise the pH to a suitable level for lavender cultivation. This will reduces stress on the plant and enhances conditions. This allows it to create fragrance and oil.

The change in pH of the soil is not a quick process therefore it is recommended to take out the lavender plant if it is located in soil that is acidic and then transplant it to the pot with fresh soil until the soils pH in the area of planting is between the pH range of 6.5-7.5.


The most common problems with lavenders result from excessive watering instead of under watering, as lavenders are drought-resistant plants that prefer dry roots in between periods of watering.

A lot of moisture in the soil could strain the lavender and lead to root rot that will stop it from smelling or producing flowers..

The plants are drought-tolerant which do not require frequent watering. Established lavenders require watering once every two weeks during the growing season, if there isnt any significant rainfall. They also dont require water during the winter months if kept in the shade.

Check out my article for more details on how often lavender plants should be kept hydrated to prevent this issue.

Key Takeaways

  • The reason that lavenders dont smell is typically due with the lack of sunlight or soil that isnt fertile. The less sunlight a lavender gets more oils and flowers will be produced, which in turn reduces the scent of lavenders.
  • Lavenders require full sun and soils with low or medium fertility for the most fragrant scent.
  • Lavenders who are stressed because of excessive the amount of water and soils which are too acidic (Lavenders prefer soil that is alkaline) may also prevent lavender from smell.
  • Certain varieties of lavender do not have a strong scent as other varieties. English lavenders consistently possess a strong scent. Hidcoteand Munsteadin particularly being admired for their scent and are commercially grown.
  • The scent of lavender is strongest during the growing season (during the summer and spring) and the scent of lavenders is most strongly in the morning.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)