Why is my Lavender Dying?

Lavenders are tough, durable plant species that flourish in the Mediterranean area in full sun and well-drained sandy soil that is moderate to low in fertility.

Lavenders are a simple, drought tolerant plants to cultivate if you mimic certain conditions within their natural habitat.

In this article , I have listed the top 8 reasons why lavenders are dying or seem to be dying, and the solutions to each issue. Keep studying to discover the reason the lavender you have is dying and how you can do to stop it.

The main reasons why that your lavender may be dying are:

  1. Overwatering Lavenders (Drooping Appearance ) with Brown Foliage)
  2. The Soil Drains too slowly (Too too much moisture around the Roots)
  3. Insufficient Not Enough Sunlight (Lavenders require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day)
  4. The wrong soil acidity (pH 6.5-7.5 is the ideal pH)
  5. Wrong Lavender for Your Climate
  6. The climate may be too humid for ideal lavender conditions.
  7. Pruning aggressively into woody growth
  8. Foliage Turning Yellow (Excess of Nitrogen in the Soil)

1. Overwatering The Lavenders (Drooping Appears with brown Foliage)

The main reason why the reason your flowering lavender is dying is due to of excessive watering. The lavenders thrive in the hot dry summer temperatures throughout the Mediterranean region of Europe. They are therefore extremely tolerant to droughts and require less water to stay healthy and bloom.

If lavender is exposed to too much water, it can be affected by the root rot disease and exhibit signs of stress, such as the appearance of wilting or drooping and browning of the foliage.

It is quite common to misinterpret the appearance of drooping and the brownish foliage for an overwatered plant. At this the majority of gardens exacerbate the issue by adding more water, and root rot gets more severe and the plant dies rapidly.

The roots of lavender need to be in dry soil, which is able to drain quickly and retains very little moisture around its roots. If you don’t water your lavender as often as other plants in your garden, it will eventually die. plant.

In reality, established lavenders (more than 2 year old) are so robust that in climates with temperate temperatures do not require any additional water, obtaining sufficient water from rain, even in dry periods in summer.

The lavender plant can endure drought in the most dry and hot regions of Europe So when you are growing lavender, it is better to over-water instead of under-watering is the main issue.

If you adhere to the guidelines and limit watering, you will be able to save over stressed and watered lavenders after several weeks.

lavender field with sunlight

The solution.

If your lavender is showing the signs of being over-watered, then it is recommended to stop watering your plant for at least 3 weeks. If you can, keep the lavender safe from rain (move the pots of lavender inside during rain).

This gives the soil time to drain, and the roots the chance to dry out and heal of root rot.

It is necessary to trim the affected areas just below the point where it has turned brown using sterile pruners.

After three weeks of no water, the plant will appear better and you should be able to resume regular watering.

Here’s a table to provide an easy reference to watering lavenders effectively.

The beginning of their development will require watering every two weeks throughout the spring and summer seasons. If you have experienced significant rain and cloudy days in a period of two weeks, then you are able to skip watering for the following two weeks.

Lavenders that are established usually do require no watering, except when the conditions have been dry and hot for longer than two weeks.

The amount of water you need is dependent on the type of soil however if you have fast drainage sandy soil (which lavenders love) then it is possible to give them a long soak to ensure that the water gets to the roots, rather than an occasional watering that may not penetrate deep enough in the soil.

The majority of lavenders can drink all of the water they need during their winter dormancy, resulting from periodic rain, however when you’ve had dry winter, or have kept the lavender indoors to protect it from frost, the lavender will benefit from watering every month.

Potted lavenders require more attention and care in regards to watering, so I wrote another article about on watering lavenders inside pots and how to take care of the lavenders inside pots.

Another thing to think about is the speed at which your soil drains enough since lavenders like sandy soil (more about this in the second section) since these issues are usually connected.

If your lavender is showing an appearance of drooping but has no browning leaves, it could be due to the soil fertility, so look over my article to find the remedy.

If you reduce your the amount of watering and your soil drains fast the lavender will be able to recover within three weeks, and not show any signs of illness by the time you return to the following season.

2. Not Enough Sunlight

In their home Mediterranean region (Italy, Southern France and Spain) lavenders can enjoy the full sun throughout the day. It is not necessary to have to have a Mediterranean climate to cultivate lavenders, but it is important to ensure that they are located in the most sun-friendly area of your garden.

The amount of sunlight your lavender gets is related to the amount of flowers and oils, as well as the aroma that your create with your lavender.

The lavender plant requires at minimum six hours of direct sunlight every day in the summer and spring months to flourish. If they get less than six hours of sunlight, lavenders will experience a slow growth, lack of color in the leaves, and a low fragrance, and could end up dying.

The sun also causes evaporation of the soil around it and may lower humidity, which can reduce the risk of developing diseases like root rot in lavender.

The solution.

If your lavender is showing low growth and absence of flowers, then it is time to relocate the plant to a more sunny spot within your yard.

If your lavender is in pots it is a breeze and merely a matter of finding a spot in your garden that gets than 6 hours of sunlight each day. If your lavender is growing in the ground, then it is necessary to transplant the lavender.

The ideal time to transplant an individual lavender plant is during the late winter or the early spring, as this can reduce the effects of shock from transplants However, lavenders are hardy and can be planted at any time of the year, if needed.

To transfer lavender, remove it gently from the soil using the help of a knife (try not to employ a shovel or spade) Be sure that you don’t damage the roots.

Simply bring the lavender back home in a sunny area (about 2 feet of other flowers) with well-drained sandy soil with moderate or low fertile.

The ground should be firm around the lavender plant to give it some stability, but don’t compress the soil because this could slow the growth of the lavender’s roots.

If you transplanted your lavender in the summer and spring months then you should water it every weekly for 4 weeks, and then you can return to a regular once every two weeks watering schedule.

If you have rehomed the lavender during the winter or fall, then make sure to water it well right after the planting and then water it every week for the next three weeks. In the following three weeks you’ll have to water frequently as the amount of the rainfall tends to be higher in winter and fall, and the soil is prone to retain moisture for a longer period of time.

3. The Soil Drains too slowly (Too too much moisture around the Roots)

Lavenders like soil that is sandy and has friable structures that allow water to flow through easily without retaining the moisture.

Lavender is not a good choice on clay-based soils. It is also not a good choice for soils that are dense and compacted, or with a high concentration of organic matter because they are likely to hold on to water, which can cause root rot disease and the plant will begin to turn brown, and then die slowly.

Stress signs caused by slow draining soils are similar like if your plant was over-watered. A dewy appearance and browning of the leaves will be the first signs and it is imperative to act quickly.

The solution.

The first thing you should do is be required to ensure that you don’t overwater the lavender, as this can rapidly increase the severity of the issue.

What you must do is:

  • Place the lavender in the pot to ensure it drains well.
  • Remove the lavender temporarily from the ground, then amend the soil using sand or grit , and then plant the lavender.

It is always best for a greater amount of sand in the soil for lavender plants than not enough, as sand aids in drainage, and is less fertile than other materials that mimic the lower fertility and natural soils that are native to the Mediterranean.

As for proportions of the plant, plant area for lavender ought to be approximately 30 percent sand or grit, and 70 percent soil. It is recommended to mix it with an depth of at least 18 inches because this is enough room for the lavender’s root system once it has reached its full maturity.

To improve the soil for lavenders that are already in beds, you must gently lift them using a fork, then work or dig the grit and sand into the bed until it is minimum 18 inches, then plant the lavender.

To add to the number of soils that retain water You could:

  • Make raised beds to grow lavender
  • Pots of lavender are a great place to plant them (see my complete guide to cultivating lavender inside pots)
  • You can also mound the soil approximately 6 inches higher than all the other bed, so that it is higher than the soil, which encourages faster drainage.

After you’ve either put the lavender to a pot or altered the soil by adding grit and sand in the area of planting, it will take about three weeks for the roots to fully dry and the appearance of drooping should be reduced.

If you notice that the foliage has become brown, you must cut it off at the level below the affected area . The plant will eventually be back to its original health.

4. The wrong soil acidity (pH 6.5-7.5 is the ideal pH)

Lavenders can thrive in alkaline and mildly acidic soils, ranging between the pH 6.5 up to 7.5.

When the soil’s pH is more acidic than the pH 6.5 it is highly unlikely that the lavender will last much time or reach its full potential in producing flowers, healthy growth and scent.

Lavenders are extremely well-suited to chalk soils that are generally alkaline and draining.

The majority of garden soils are mildly acidic or neutral, as this is the pH at which that organic matter will reach after it has been fully decomposed. Most pots are at pH 7. (neutral) which means they are suitable for the cultivation of lavenders in pots, but it is important to read the instructions of the manufacturer.

If you’re not sure of the pH of your soil then I suggest you buy an inexpensive soil test kit from Amazon that is simple to use and are available at a reasonable price!

If you discover that your soil is acidic, then you’ll need to amend your soil using lime or wood ash in order to prevent the flowering lavender.

The solution.

If you’ve tested your soil and found that it is acidic for lavender (less than the pH 6.5) then I’d suggest moving the lavender into an area with fresh soil (use 70 percent potting soil with 30% sand to aid in drainage) as urgently as possible.

The transplant of a lavender plant from the ground can be accepted by the plant any time of the year, if. There are a few actions you can take that can help reduce the risk of the shock of transplant. Check out my post on cultivating the lavender plant in pots to get the complete care guide.

After you’ve transferred your lavender into an appropriate pot and it is content as lavenders of all kinds thrive in pots. You can also put it in pots temporarily while amending the soil, later plant the lavender on the original location.

To increase the soil’s pH from being too acidic’ to the appropriate level for lavenders, you can include a lime amendment. Lime can be purchased on the internet or at garden stores and then added to the soil to increase the pH until it is neutral or alkaline, based on the amount you apply.

The installation is fairly easy All you need to do is till or dig the lime in the soil to a depth of about 18 inches. The ideal time to do this is during the autumn. Improving the pH of your soil in long-term use requires patience and regular testing of the soil to make sure you’ve made an effective change in the soil that lasts.

Lime is fairly inexpensive, and you must always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines about how much lime you need to apply to your soil, as you do not want to add too much and have soil that is too acidic.

In nearly all cases, when there is an issue with the soil’s pH in relation to lavenders, it is caused by soils that are too acidic instead of soil that is too alkaline.

5. Wrong Lavender for Your Climate

As mentioned previously Lavenders are a native of the Mediterranean region of Europe where they thrive in high temperatures and full sun throughout the day, with very little rain.

It is believed that the Spanish, French and Italian lavender species as well as their diverse hybrids are not as tolerant of cold winter weather and frequently experienced frosts that die in the winter months if exposed to cold conditions.

But the English lavender plant requires full sun, but it can develop, grow and produce scents and flowers in cooler climates, and can even withstand regular frosts in winter period of dormancy.

If you’re growing lavenders from Spanish, French and Italian lavenders in cold climates, you’ll likely have to replenish your lavenders each season.

However, there are a few ways to prevent the problem…

The solution.

If you are planning to grow lavenders in areas with cold winters, I suggest you go for the English lavender plant as it can take cooler winters with ease.

If you do have one species of southern European varieties and live located in a warmer climate, you could re-home the plants in pots and then place them in a warm green house, or bring them inside during winter to keep them safe from frosts.

In the absence of that the fact that lavender is extremely easy to grow and you can create an entire line of lavenders every year to replace those which have been destroyed by frost.

6. The Climate may be Too Humid For Lavenders

The humid climates that have slow rate of evaporation aren’t suitable for lavenders since the soil is too wet for their roots, which could cause fungal or rotting diseases.

Lavenders in areas that are humid exhibit the same signs as when they were watered too much or in soil that drains slowly with a drooping appearance as well as the leaves turning brown.

Lavenders prefer to grow in dry climates that have less humidity in the air However, they can tolerate of sea spray, and if you alter their environment, they’ll be able to handle some humidity.

The solution.

To help lavenders cope with humidity, you must place the plant at least 3 feet from all other plants or the edges of your garden.

The more exposed the area and the more airflow they get, the better for the lavender.

The idea of planting lavenders in pots could be a great idea since they can be placed in the most open or windy area of your garden, and ensure they are kept away from stagnant air.

Naturally, well-drained soil and frequent watering are essential for lavenders growing in humid climates, so think about lifting the lavender using a fork, and then amending the soil with sand or grit to ensure faster drainage and healthier roots.

Another excellent tip I learned from commercial lavender cultivators can be to utilize white stones as a mulch around the lavender plant. Stone can be purchased in small quantities at an affordable price at garden stores or construction suppliers.

The white stone or gravel not just looks beautiful, but also keeps weeds at bay and also reflects light beautifully.

The reflected light is beneficial to those who love lavender (as they are a fan of the full sunlight) and can also make a micro-climate when sun is shining . The intense light can cause evaporate from the leaves, resulting in dry conditions.

The larger the area of white stone that is spread over the lavender, the more noticeable the effect therefore, be generous.

A few minor adjustments such as these lavenders can result in stunning flowers even in hot climates.

7. Pruning aggressively into woody growth

The most important rule in pruning lavenders is to cut back into the green foliage and not cut back to the growth of wood. Cutting back through the growth could result in the lavender splitting and developing a bad shape or even dying due to shock.

The solution.

To get the best results, reduce the flowers that have been sucked out in the summer months and trim the lavenders in spring.

Lavenders are well-suited to pruning because they only produce flowers when new growth is established.

Pruning should be done at the time that new leaves begin to develop at the base , which is typically very early in spring. It is possible to trim as much as a third of growth at the top , with the aim to shape the lavender in a way that it has a smooth form that prevents the plant from breaking.

How to prune your trees is best explained with an illustrated guide So, check out the following YouTube video for a thorough explanation.

8. Foliage Turning Yellow (Excess of Nitrogen in the Soil)

If the leaves of your lavender is turning yellow, and may even have an appearance of leggy, it is could be a sign of an excess amount of nitrogen in your soil.

Potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen are the three most important nutrients each plant requires to thrive and having a higher amount of nitrogen in the soil could be a beneficial option for certain plants.

But lavenders thrive in the absence of care . They actually grow and bloom more in soils that are moderate to low fertility.

The soil of their home in the Mediterranean is comparatively poor and sandy , but it is under the conditions of these that lavenders thrive most effectively and create the most intense aromas..

A high level of nitrogen may result from the concentration of nutrients in the soil, or due to the addition of chemical or organic fertilizers.

Established lavenders don’t require any fertilizer addition. This is confirmed through the English Royal Horticultural society and also from personal conversations to commercial lavender farmers in California and direct experience.

Fertilizers and the soil itself that naturally is rich can cause a leggy appearance, with less, if any, flowers and less scent and thus should be not used.

The solution.

The answer is dependent on the cause of the excess nitrogen source is.

If you’ve used fertilizers to your lavenders, then it is best to stop fertilizing immediately, and your lavender will show better the next time.

If you’ve not applied any fertilizer and your lavender is yellow , it could be that your soil is rich in nutrients to support lavender.

In this case, you could transfer the lavender to pots that contain 70 percent potting soil and 30 percent of sand or grit. You can also dig into the plant and then add lots of sand and grit the area of planting before planting again.

It’s not a perfect scientific method, but keep in mind that the soils from which lavenders grow may contain a high percentage of gravel or sand therefore adding a lot of sand won’t be detrimental to lavenders and can actually help to recreate the natural environment.

If you’re modifying an existing flower garden, you’ll need modify the soil up to an 18-inch depth using grit or sand (either is suitable). Sand is not a source of nutrients to the soil, which can counteract soil that is naturally rich in nitrogen.

In these instances, I’ve personally observed soils that were altered to be approximately 50% sand 50 percent soil, and the lavender had fully recovered the following year (after an annual late spring and early summer prune) and produced a huge flower.

(Read my article on on how you can take care of lavender inside pots).

Key Takeaway

The lavender plants will flourish when you recreate a small portion of the natural conditions they enjoy in the Mediterranean habitat (France, Spain and Italy). Full sun, fast drainage soil, and frequent irrigation are essential for anyone who wants to grow lavender.

While you have to recreate some of the conditions that they prefer in their habitat, you don’t have to be living in the Mediterranean climate.

Lavenders are grown in a variety of US states as well as other countries all over the world, despite difficult conditions like more humid or colder temperatures.

All you have be able to make a couple of adjustments and you’ll be able to take pleasure in lavenders that create stunning blooms and emit an amazing scent throughout your garden in the summer.

If you take action quickly the majority of lavenders that appear like they’re dying can be saved by altering conditions like drainage of the soil and watering, sun exposure and soil pH, as well as refraining from fertilizing.

In nearly every instance, I can see that the reason for the lavender is dying is due to excessive watering or soil which is not moist enough. Whatever the reason why a lavender is dying , there is a solution. So simply follow the steps provided in this article. You will not just save the lavender, but also produce scents, flowers and oils abundantly in the coming season of growth.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)