The lavender plant is a fantastic addition to any garden. It perfumes the air, or adds flavour and aroma to your cooking. When dried, you can use it in sachets or as potpourri. Even its foliage growth is stunning, with a grey-green colour.
However, what should you do when your lavender is drooping? It’s a common issue with several possible causes. The most likely culprit is over-watering your lavender plant, although it could also be suffering from transplant shock or have poor soil mix.
Why is your lavender drooping, and what to do? We’ve got you on that – here are a few reasons for wilting lavender, and how you can fix up your plant.
Why Is My Lavender Wilting?
Drooping lavender (especially lavender flowers) is a sign of stress. There are several reasons for why your lavender plant may be wilting – and understanding why will help you treat it.
#1 – Transplant shock
A change in environment and conditions when you transplant lavender can cause your plants to wilt. Don’t worry – this is normal as your plant adjusts to the new soil, moisture, and temperature.
#2 – Overwatering
Lavender plants – especially potted lavender plants – don’t need a lot of water. They’re drought-resistant plants, so you can go long periods without watering them, and they really only need damp soil.
Soggy soil leads to root rot, which can cause droopy lavender plants.
#3 – Overly-fertile soil
Over-fertile soil will stress your plant. It seems counter-productive, but lavender does not need nutrient-rich soil to thrive. Lavenders grow in sandy soils, which are soils with low to moderate nourishment.
#4 – Small pot
Young lavender plants need plenty of room to grow and spread their roots. If your pot is too small, your plant will become rootbound, which can lead to drooping.
Additionally, sandy soils in small pots dry out more quickly, leaving your plant with less moisture to draw up when it needs it. Soil also acts as insulation.
#5 – Extreme heat
Lavender likes full sun and warm – not temperate – climates, but too much heat can cause your plants to wilt a bit. This is especially true during a sudden rise in temperature, which causes some stress.
#6 – Poor soil
Lavender plants come from the Mediterranean, which means they thrive in sandy soil. If your soil is too acidic, or if you have moisture-retaining soils, this will cause lavender plant drooping.
Wilting due to poor earth can occur in both garden soil and potting soil.
How To Fix Drooping Lavender
All right – you’ve got a wilted lavender plant. These may be tough plants, but lavender isn’t invincible. Here’s how to revive drooping lavender depending on the underlying cause.
CAUSE: Transplant Shock
SOLUTION: Water after transplanting – and then simply let your plant adjust. You’ll also want to choose the right season for transplanting lavender: either spring or fall. Summer is a bad idea since it’s very warm and dry, which means your plant may not cope well with a transfer.
SOLUTION: Ensure you’re watering just enough to keep the soil moist – but not so much that the soil becomes waterlogged. Then only refresh your plant when the soil has dried out.
You’ll water more frequently in the summer than in spring or fall, since the water will evaporate faster. Always check to see if the top few inches of soil are dry before giving your plant a drink.
CAUSE: Overly-fertilised soil
SOLUTION: Do not use too much fertiliser, if you use any at all. Moreover, avoid fertilisers that are high in nitrogen, which could lead to nutrient-dense soil mix.
CAUSE: Small pot
SOLUTION: There’s no avoiding it – you need to move your plant to a bigger pot. An ideal pot size for lavender is 30–40cm; anything smaller will mean the roots can’t spread out and the soil will dry quicker.
Avoid clay and ceramic pots; plastic and eco-friendly materials are better choices. They’ll conduct heat better in the long run.
CAUSE: Extreme heat
SOLUTION: Your instinct will be to give your plant a drink immediately. Don’t – the water will just evaporate. Wait until the temperature cools, from late afternoon to night time.
Note that young plants need partial shade to protect the tender shoots from harsh sunlight. On the other hand, mature lavender needs a sunny spot that receives 6–8 hours of morning light a day.
CAUSE: Acidic soil
SOLUTION: Lavender plants like alkaline soil, so keep the pH of your garden soil fairly high. You can use garden limestone to add some alkalinity by spreading it around your garden, or consult professional gardeners on how to raise the pH of your soil.
CAUSE: Poor soils
SOLUTION: Get porous soil by mixing in sand or grit to improve drainage. Well-draining soil prevents excess water retention and therefore lavender drooping. Avoid using clay soils or compost sand, which do not drain well.
If you’re growing lavender outdoors, try a raised garden bed so the water drains away from the plant’s roots.
About the Lavender Plant
Lavender (Lavandula spp.) is a low-maintenance plant – or specifically, a semi-shrub. The common belief is that it originated from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, since it’s very hard-wearing and prefers sandy soil with full sun. There are several types of lavender, such as English lavender or hybrid plants.
Growing lavender is fairly straightforward, whether you’re propagating or planting lavender from seed. Young plants need regular watering while they establish themselves, but mature plants will tolerate drought.
The lavender plant flowers from early spring to late summer, although most lavender varieties bloom in late summer.
Caring for Lavender Plants
Besides mindful watering, you’ll also need to prune lavender regularly to encourage its growth and health. If you’re not sure when and how to give your plant a trim, just leave it in the hands of gardening professionals!
You can use a modest layer or organic mulch on lavender growing outdoors, to help your plants retain moisture and keep their roots cool. Ensure you’re using organic materials that aren’t high in nitrogen.
Lavender drooping may be an issue, but it’s very easy to fix depending on why your plant is wilting. Don’t kill your plant with kindness and let it thrive on its own – then just enjoy the heavenly scent as a pleasant reward.