With about 47 species, Lavenders are low maintenance, hardy plants that bloom for several years. The oil produced from the lavender flowers has medicinal and cosmetic uses.
Sometimes this fragrant plant starts wilting despite proper care.
This article explains why your Lavender is wilting and how to solve this issue.
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What Causes Lavender to Wilt?
Both young and established Lavender plants start wilting due to stress caused by inadequate environmental conditions. They are stressed by several factors, including transplanting, overwatering, improper pot size, and soil issues that lead to wilting. In some cases, the wilting is temporary and does not require special attention. Overly fertilized soil can also create issues for Lavenders because they are accustomed to growing in poor soils.
Top Reasons Why Your Lavender is Wilting
Lavenders are considered hardy, but a change in climate can result in transplant shock. The plant will wilt temporarily, which in other words is the period of adjustment.
When you first replant your Lavender after bringing it from the garden center, several conditions like humidity level, soil, frequency of water, temperature differ. Lavenders struggle after planting because it takes some time to adjust to the new climate.
If you practice good plant care with proper water, drainage and nutrients, your plant will return to normal within a week or so.
Newly transplanted Lavenders also wilt due to overwatering or too hot temperature. In summer, you should water the plant every 2-3 days for the first few weeks. Later you can reduce the watering to once a week.
Spring is the appropriate season to transplant Lavenders because the cooler temperatures help the roots adjust to new soil.
Lavenders are drought tolerant, but they require plenty of water after transfer. But too much water can cause problems and force your Lavender plant to wilt. There is a simple rule about watering a Lavender; less is more.
Overwatering your Lavender leads to soggy soil, which results in root rot or fungal disease, another reason for wilting. If the foliage is turning brown or black, a fungal disease has attacked your plant because of the damp soil.
A simple indication for overwatering is wilting and brown leaves on a Lavender, which is sometimes mistaken for underwatering.
In cooler spring temperatures, the roots can easily draw moisture without struggling with harsh temperatures and sunlight.
Once your Lavender is established, it can survive on neglect as it prefers dry but well-draining sandy soil with irregular watering.
In temperate climates with frequent rainfall and overcast days, you should give little or no water to your established plant.
In hot areas, an established Lavender needs water once every two weeks if there is no rainfall. Potted plants can be watered more frequently because they have drainage.
The type of soil you use for your Lavender can also cause the plant to wilt. Lavenders thrive in soils with low to medium nutrient content, but if you use a rich soil mix, your plant is most likely to wilt.
In their native areas, Lavenders grow in stoney or sandy soils. Therefore they bloom and grow better in poor soil. Clayey or compost soils are not great for a Lavender plant because they stay damp for long.
An over-fertilized or rich soil mix forces leggy growth with wilting and yellow leaves. If your plant was growing in rich soil and you recently added fertilizers, you should immediately replace the soil with horticulture sand or grit.
A good soil mixture can be created using 1/3 volume sand and 2/3 volume potting soil/compost. Sand helps in recreating the native soil for this plant.
The sand does not add or retain nutrients in the soil. This way, it can compensate for an overly nutrient-rich soil mixture. Another advantage of using sand is improved drainage. You can avoid wilting due to soggy soil.
The roots of this plant function better in dry soil for a healthy plant, and to prevent wilting, you can improve the soil in the following ways
- Replant your Lavenders growing outdoors in a raised garden bed with fresh soil.
- Amend the garden soil with sand or grit.
- Instead of growing them in the garden, plant them in containers with a suitable soil mixture.
In my opinion, the best time to improve the soil condition for your plant is late winter or early spring. But if your plant is wilting badly, you can replant any time of the year with extra care.
If the temperature in your area is inconsistent, one day is moderate and the next day is extremely hot, the Lavender wilts due to heat. If your plant looks normal in the evening when the temperature cools down, you do not have to worry much about this wilting.
Remember, your plant is not underwatered or stressed in this case, so avoid increasing the frequency of watering because this temporary wilting is a reaction to heat, not drought.
You cannot do much about this wilting because your plant will naturally recover after the temperature gets normal.
Pot Size and Material
Potted lavenders face some additional issues compared to those planted in garden soil. They can wilt due to the pot size and material.
The ideal pot size for a Lavender is 12-16 inches. This ensures the roots have enough room to expand and access water or nutrients. Proper pot size is also necessary to insulate the roots in cold weather.
Lavenders thrive under full sun. This means if you use a small pot, the soil will dry quicker at a hot temperature.
Although these plants are drought tolerant and need dry conditions, a small pot will leave the roots pot bound. Your plant will wilt as a sign of stress.
Watering more frequently is not an ideal solution for this problem because the roots are still bound. You should transfer your plant to a bigger pot.
The pot material affects the rate at which the soil dries. Metal or plastic pots heat up faster than clay, ceramic, or terracotta pots. Therefore choose the right pot to help your Lavender recover from wilting.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wilting Lavender Plants
How can I avoid wilting on my Lavender due to transplant stress?
Transplant your Lavender in the spring season as it will have plenty of time to adjust and recover from any damage. If you plant in summer, the weather can be too hot, which causes the flowers to wilt.
What are the most common mistakes gardeners make that lead to a wilted Lavender?
The most common mistakes that can cause wilting on a Lavender are watering too frequently (overwatering), growing them in overly fertile soil, adding fertilizers regularly, growing in clay or compost that retain plenty of moisture.
How long will my Lavender plant take to recover from the wilting once I fix the soil and other conditions?
Once you create an ideal environment for your plant, it will recover from the wilting in 1-3 weeks.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.