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Lavender Plant Care: Reasons For Drooping Lavender Plants

Lavender Plant Care: Reasons For Drooping Lavender Plants


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By: Liz Baessler

Whether in the garden or containers, lavender is a fabulous plant to have on hand. You can cook with it, dry it into sachets, or just leave it where it grows to perfume the air. But what do you do when it starts to fail? Keep reading to learn about lavender plant care and how to deal with drooping lavender plants.

Lavender Flowers Drooping

Lavender flowers drooping is a very common problem, and if often comes down to water. Knowing how often to water lavender is usually all it takes to get it fighting fit. Lavender is a Mediterranean plant that prefers sandy, low quality soil that drains very quickly. If you’ve planted it in dense soil or are watering it daily, this might be the cause of your lavender flowers drooping.

The key to lavender plant care is, in a way, keeping yourself from caring too much and killing it with kindness. If you’ve planted it in well fertilized, rich soil, move it to somewhere less forgiving, like a rocky slope that receives full sun. The lavender will thank you.

If you’ve been watering every day, stop it. Young lavender does need considerably more water than usual to get established, but too much will eventually kill it. Always check the soil around the plant before watering – if it’s totally dry, give it a soak. If it’s still wet, leave it alone. Don’t water from above, as extra moisture on the leaves can spread disease.

Fixing Droopy Lavender Plants

While lavender flowers drooping might be the sign of an unhappy plant, it’s not always the case. On hot days, lavender will droop to conserve water, even if it’s not thirsty. It’s just a natural strategy to stay hydrated.

If you notice your plant drooping but don’t think it’s over watered or in the wrong kind of soil, check on it later when the day is cooler. It may very well have perked up on its own.

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How to Fix Drooping Plants (In 5 Easy Steps)

Your lovely collection of houseplants is starting to look a little limp, and you’re ready to get things perked back up again.

Obviously, you’ve thought to give them a drink and that hasn’t solved the problem.

So now you need to figure out what to do next. There are a number of possible solutions to drooping plants, but you need to know the cause first.


How to Plant and Grow Lavender in Your Yard

Lavender in the garden provides rich color and visual interest. It has multiple uses in fresh and dried floral bouquets, sachets, potpourris, wands, sheaves, and other post-harvest display purposes.

Soil Prep

No amount of tender loving care will help if the area where lavender will be planted is choked with weeds. Careful soil prep necessitates the aggressive removal of weeds and weed seeds.

Next, check the soil pH level with a soil pH kit. The optimum pH should be somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5. The reason for this is that lavender will not thrive in overly acidic soil, nor will do well if soil is too alkaline, since all the nutrients will remain in the soil and not go to the plant. Balance out soil pH by adding organic compost.

When to Plant Lavender

Garden experts recommend planting lavender in U.S. hardiness zones 8 and up in spring and fall. In other zones, it’s better to do a spring planting after the last frost. When planting lavender in the fall, however, do so about two months before the first frost so that plants can establish sufficient roots before severe wintery weather conditions.

Where to Plant

Lavender plants like full sun. This holds true whether the lavender is planted in the ground or in pots. In hotter climates, lavender can tolerate some late afternoon shade. Also, according to lavender aficionados, plant lavender near a south-facing wall in a crowded garden.

In hot and humid regions, planting lavender in mounds or raised beds may be a better alternative. This hot, humid condition is not one that lavender tolerates well, however, so expect to deal with fungal problems.

How to Plant

Give lavender plants sufficient space. They need good air circulation. Consider the height of the plants at maturity and space them accordingly. For display purposes, most lavender can be spaced 18 to 36 inches apart, although there are some giant varieties that should be spaced 3 to 4 feet apart. When a hedge effect is desired, lavender can be planted closer together.

Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as lavender in the container. Set the plant in the hole and add soil, tamping down with fingers to eliminate air pockets.

Mulch around the lavender plant, but be careful to avoid mulching right up to the stems. Leave a ring (or collar) of about 2 inches around the plant that’s free of mulch.

Water thoroughly. Subsequent watering can prove tricky, since lavender doesn’t like to be drowned. Allow plants to dry out before another thorough watering.

Pruning

In general, lavender takes about 3 years to reach its full size. But plants require pruning immediately after bloom in order to promote vigorous new growth and to keep the plants healthy. To prune, cut back the flower and a third of the stem. Do not cut so far that only woody stems show with no leaves.


How to Revive a Lavender Plant

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A perennial herb hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, lavender (Lavendula spp.) is known for its strongly scented flowers and grayish-green foliage that forms a 1- to 3-foot-tall and 1- to 5-foot-wide, shrub-like mound. Because it is sometimes a short-lived plant, lavender can need replacing every five to six years. However, before you jump to this conclusion when your lavender plant stops thriving or appears leggy or woody, make some cultural changes or conduct a heavy pruning to see if you can you revive or rejuvenate it.

Spread 1/4 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 25 square feet around your lavender plants and water it in with 1 inch of water. Apply fertilizer only if your lavender plants are growing slowly and it is before flowering in summer.

Improve air circulation and sunlight by pruning nearby plants and trees and by removing debris around your lavender plants, which require air circulation and full sunlight to thrive.

Apply 2 to 3 inches of chopped leaves or compost around your lavender in spring and fall to help improve soil conditions. Lavender plants need well-drained soil to grow well.

Limit your watering because well-established lavender plants can grow well in drought-like conditions but they do not tolerate wet feet.

Prune lavender plants hard in late fall, cutting back into the woody, harder stems, pruning no lower than where the green buds are located. Make clean cuts through the wood with a pair of sterilized, sharp pruning shears. In subsequent years, prune plants to remove up to one-half of their foliage.


Lavender Flowers Drooping - Fixing Droopy Lavender Plants In The Garden - garden

Actually, I think it is planted to close to the wall in the first place. Lavender is a large plant, it makes a 3 ft round mound. In zone 12a I do plant it in full sun, but on the east side of the house where it gets morning sun but shade in the afternoon. I plant it on my sloping driveway because it needs to have good drainage.

Lavender likes a slightly more akaline soil. You can do that by adding compost, chicken manure and more grit, sand, cinder,or rock dust. Not too much compost since it will hold on to more water unless the problem is very dry soil. You can also add mulch on top to conserve moisture if the soil is simply drying out too fast.

It is best not to water on a schedule, lavender is a drought resistant plant and it droops when it is too dry and also when it is too wet. Check the soil moisture with your finger and feel the soil a couple of inches down. If you feel that is it dry and the plant is droopy, give it a good deep drink. If the soil is moist and the plant is droopy, it is too much water and your roots may be in trouble. Watering needs will change at different times of the year. In summer, you may need to water more and in the rainy season, it may get too much unless you can get it under cover. I make sure my soil drains well with a lot of perlite in my potting mix and planting lavender on a slope so I can water everyday or when it rains (everyday) the plant can survive that. Lavender in the ground, once established can handle drought better than too much rain. In a pot, you need to pay attention to watering, in a well drained mix you may have to water every day. Lavender needs to be potted up frequently so pay attention to the roots and pot up before it gets root bound. I prefer a pot that breathes like terra cotta. I can water that every day with a peat lite mix (with dolomite lime added) + osmocote and the plant is fine. It is best to double pot the terra cotta or surround the pot with other pots in summer as insulation so the pot does not heat up as much. The large pots are hard to move so dollies help. In the rainy season I move the pots under the house eaves so most of the rain does not fall directly on the plant. The lavender I have in the ground will usually bite the dust in a year when it rains for weeks at a time but will survive after cutting back if there are enough breaks between the rain for the plant to dry out.

Lavender should be trimmed often to keep the plant bushy and keep it from getting woody too soon. Lavender does not like being cut into old wood, so trim only the green wood. I have killed lavender by cutting back too hard. I trim my lavender in the rainy season, too many leaves then will just turn black and rot any way. You can take cutting from young stems that do not have blooms. This is challenging with multifida since it is alway in bloom. When I do rejuvenate my plant, I only cut half at a time and wait for new growth to start on the old stems that I have cut back and opened up to the light. Once the new growth has a good start, then I cut back the other side. I usually do this in the rainy season around January.

Lavender is not a happy houseplant but if winters are very cold you can get the varieties that are more cold tolerant and they can be protected outdoors.

Purple haze changed their site significantly, but it is where I first learned to successfully grow lavender and to choose the right ones for zone 12a

Re: Help! Young potted lavender is drooping heavily

It is a new baby lavender plant. I agree that it is planted too close to the wall, so the wall is shading it. If you weren't in Florida I would say that east facing, meaning morning sun only, isn't enough sun, but maybe where you are it is, southern sun being more intense and your days not being as short. Still something to check on. It should be getting at least six hours of sun a day.

The flower heads browning is just because they are finishing blooming and are setting seed. I wouldn't let it go to seed. Lavender does much better if kept trimmed. And why waste the lavender which is a wonderful tea/cooking herb and for sachets, etc.?

Drooping after watering sounds like either you are over-watering and/or it is developing root problems (could be both, since over-watering will lead to root rot). Lavender likes to stay pretty dry and it likes very well draining sandy soil. Personally, I would carefully dig it up, taking the whole root ball and replant it. Move it farther away from the wall (or to a better spot, if it isn't getting six hours of sun there). Before you replant, mix some sand or perlite into the soil for better drainage. Then don't water until the soil is starting to dry.

Re: Help! Young potted lavender is drooping heavily

This is all so helpful! Thank you rainbowgardener and imafan!

So if the brown heads are normal (setting seed), then I think the plant on the right is just fine. I've attached another photo where you can better see the difference between the two. Would you agree?

If that's the case, why would one be dying and not the other? Not enough room for both? I measured the size of the planted area and it is 2.5' by 4'.

As far as the sun goes, I think it's getting enough but I'll be able to tell better when I'm off work on Saturday morning.

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

Re: Help! Young potted lavender is drooping heavily

Re: Help! Young potted lavender is drooping heavily

Re: Help! Young potted lavender is drooping heavily

Just want to say this thread saved my indoor plant, had exact issue as OP and registered to thank everyone here for all the advice.
Thank you!

While I'm here, cement vs terracotta pot? Only reason I'm considering cement pot for my lavender is because we've come across some pots and would only pick them for aesthetic reasons.

Re: Help! Young potted lavender is drooping heavily

It doesn't matter. I use cement pots mostly for orchids that are top heavy. Cement pot holes are small but the pots themselves do breathe. I use a knife or scraper to expand the drain holes on cement pots. I also will use a piece of hardware cloth or old window screen over the drain hole to keep snails out and it helps keep soil in.
Terra cotta are heavy but not nearly as heavy as cement. Both are breakable but terra cotta is easier to break.

If you are keeping your lavender in a pot, you will need to keep up potting it as it grows. It has a large root system. You will need to fertilize the lavender in a pot, but do so very sparingly. I only use slow release osmocote or nutricote that will last about 6 -8 months (type 200) in my climate. Lavender does not like a lot of fertilizer, but any potted plant will need some.

Re: Help! Young potted lavender is drooping heavily

Thank you so much for the reply.

I've never grown lavender before, how often will repotting need to be done, as it grows? I live in zone 6b and would love to eventually plant it out front since my house is South facing.


Growing Tips for Herbs: Why is My Lavender Dying?

Q: Why are my herbs dying?

A: Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is a versatile herb used in cooking, used medicinally and used decoratively throughout the home. When I think about lavender, the romantic purple fields of Provence, France, and endless products come to mind. This dreamy herb is a warm-season perennial plant that is durable to frosts and mild freezes.

English lavender blooms in early summer. Compared to other types of lavender it is darker in color and taller with longer flowers. French lavender (Lavendula dentana) is a medium-sized plant that is gray in color and capable of blooming year round (depending on location). There are many types of lavender but English lavender and French lavender are the most common.

The native Mediterranean herb prospers in sunlight—we recommend anywhere between six to eight hours of warm sunlight. Create a growing space that offers the appropriate amount of light. You can plant lavender in the ground or in a pot for easy transportation during cold months.

Another important aspect is proper soil drainage too much rain and humidity can lead to mildew or root-rot, which is a common reason why this otherwise resilient herb dies.

Lavender is a long-lasting herb that likes well-drained soil and can withstand minor drought conditions. If you are growing lavender in humid conditions, avoid dark mulches as they encourage fungus growth. The soil should be between neutral to slightly alkaline and have a pH of 6.5 to 8.2. Testing the quality of your soil is easy with a pH kit from your local gardening store. Although there are many types of lavender, most can handle Zone 5 growing conditions.


Photo by _setev/Courtesy Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/downunderphotos/

Tips for Keeping Your Lavender Alive:

• If you are going to take clippings of the herb, take them when the stems break easily. (This usually happens in June.) Clippings promote a healthy, bush-like growth.

• Make sure your plants have a good drainage system to reduce root-rot and fungus growth. To achieve this you might add sand or perlite to your soil, but keep in mind that too much will dry the plant out. If you live in a wet climate and want to add sand or perlite, add no more then 1/5 of the pot’s container, if growing in a pot.

• If planting in the ground, place lavender 2-3 feet apart lavender can have an expansive root system and can be tall and bushy.

• Keep an eye out for weather conditions, such as overnight frosts, that could damage your plants adapt water and fertilizer amounts accordingly.

• Find an appropriate watering balance for you climate and plant size—lavender needs lots of watering, especially in the first season of growth. You can start with 3 cups of water and adjust from there.

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Watch the video: 5 Tips to Growing Lavender Perfectly No Matter Where You Live