‘Most likely reason’ your lavender plant has a ‘lack of flowers’ – ‘best course of action’08/27/2022
Gardening tips: Expert on how to grow lavender at home
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Lavender is one of the most resilient garden shrubs that can be grown. It’s drought-resistant, cold-hardy, and doesn’t need any fertiliser. In fact, the only tending lavender truly requires is a twice-yearly pruning and special attention to the soil preparation at the time of planting. However, if this aromatic herb isn’t growing how you expected, you may need to take a closer look at what’s making it unhappy. A lack of flowers, wilted foliage, slow growth, or an unruly growth habit are common issues that gardeners face when growing lavender.
Gardening expert and former organic lavender farmer Logan Hailey at All About Gardening has commented on the most common lavender problems and their solutions.
A lack of flowers
Lavender foliage is nice, but most gardeners are growing this fragrant herb for its dazzling spike-shaped blooms.
The elegant flowers typically appear in late spring and continue bursting forth until autumn (depending on the variety).
Logan explained: “The most likely reason for your lavender’s lack of flowers is plant stress.
“Your best course of action is to check your watering schedule, ensure that the soil is properly prepared, and check for any diseases.”
Also, gardeners should consider what variety they have planted and the age of the transplant.
To get a greater quantity and quality of lavender blooms in the future, remember to:
- Prune after the first spring bloom.
- Plant in a very well-drained soil.
- Avoid overwatering, regardless of location.
- Don’t use fertiliser.
Contrary to the appearance, droopy plants are most often a “symptom of overwatering”, according to the expert.
Although these plants can wilt when they’re thirsty, it’s far more likely that this drought-tolerant shrub is feeling weighed down by soggy soil.
Logan said: “Beginner lavender growers may show their plants a little too much love with excess water.
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“Alternatively, you may have an unusually high rainfall growing season. Either way, too much moisture combined with poorly drained soil is a recipe for disaster.”
Droopy foliage can also be a symptom of root rot or crown rot, both of which are also linked to overwatering.
To solve this, the expert advised: “First things first, cut back on the watering. Lavender typically only needs irrigation during its initial four to six months of establishment.
“After establishing their roots, these plants are some of the most drought-hardy plants around.
“Next, check that your soil has enough drainage. When it’s planted in waterlogged, heavy, or clay soils, its roots can start to rot and lead to wilted, droopy leaves.
“The easiest way to fix this is to use a broad-fork to loosen the soil around the plant and generously mix in well-draining materials like pea gravel, sand, or peat moss.”
In really waterlogged situations, gardeners may consider digging up the lavender and replanting it in a better-drained location (such as on a mound amended with gravel) or in a container.
Plant becomes woody
If gardeners notice that their plant has a lot of hard, brown growth rather than lush fragrant foliage, their plant may be getting woody.
This barren appearance can look pretty ugly in the garden and leads to less of those coveted purple blooms.
Logan warned: “When you don’t prune regularly, it tends to produce unsightly rigid stems that can splay out, grow spindly, or even collapse. This is most common in older plants that haven’t had a haircut in a long while.”
While a moderate amount of woodier growth near the base crown is normal, excessive woody growth can cause congestion and a lack of airflow in the plants. It also prevents them from growing in a tidy mounded shape.
For those who have a woody or overgrown plant, they may have to take “harsher measures”, says the gardening pro.
She said: “Although cutting into the wood is not typically recommended, it is sometimes necessary in order to revitalise an old woody lavender plant.
“As long as you don’t prune off huge portions of the plant’s woody core, you can cut back slightly into the hardwood one year at a time.
“Begin by removing one-third of the ‘bad’ sections each year until you restore the herbaceous growth. You can also use the woody stems as hardwood cuttings to root into new plants.”
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