Tons of rain yet lavender drying up and dying?

cammonroJuly 9, 2009

I don't understand. It has been nothing but rain here in CT and yet several of my newly planted Munstead Lavender, planted in full sun, appear to be drying up and dying. Not wilting like too much water but defoliating down to stems and turning white. Other lavender planted at the same time in the same bed but shaded somewhat during the day by taller growing perennials seem fine. It is too much water? Not enough? How can you tell?

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It could be the dampness that is harming your lavender. Lavender plants do not like excess humidity nor dampness. With all that rain a good drying out may be what they need.

Here is a link that might be useful: Buy Lavender On Sale

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:27PM
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Maybe there were some microrganisms in the soil from the other perennials that are helping the healthy lavender; or possibly the other perennials are taking up the moisture more quickly, protecting the lavender roots nearest to them.

I have never had any luck with lavender. When my DH recently planted some, he followed directions we obtained from the Willow Pond lavender farm in Fairfield (near Gettysburg). He mixed topsoil with sand to plant them in, with a bit of lime, and topdressed them with ground oyster shells. It's too soon to know yet if he has been successful.

Willow Pind printed up a little brochure with helpful tips on planting lavender in our area, which is for the most part heavy clay.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:44PM
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If at all possible try growing lavender in a raised bed. My house faces South and I piled up a couple of rows of dis- guarded paving stone--making a square gardening area for lavender and rosemary plants (must have taken all of half an hour). I then added a generous quantity of coarse sand to the soil for extra drainage. The lavender growing there looks great and is flowering abundantly despite this ridiculous summer of ours. Lavender and rosemary are drought-loving!! If your lavender looks sad this year, blame all the rain (and humidity) of recent weeks/months. Hopefully, things will start drying out now.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 7:01AM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Defoliating sounds like another problem from too much dampness- fungus. If the leaves turned black before falling off, then it is a foliar disease problem and the roots may still be ok. Lavender can take more moisture during very cool periods than during high heat and humidity, especially when the night-time temperatures remain relatively high. When the temperatures don't regularly cool off at night after hot days, the plant continues to use more carbohydrates than it can produce and basically starves itself to death or becomes too weak to fight pathogens. Many L. angustifolia cultivars are very prone to sudden wilts (death). True 'Munstead' is one that is quite susceptible. I doubt that you have the true 'Munstead' since it probably doesn't exist anymore-certainly not in the U.S. It has been virtually lost due to irresponsible growers propagating from seed since its introduction in 1916. Most, if not all, plants grown as 'Munstead' in this country should be renamed 'Compacta'.

As long as your plant's roots are still healthy you have a shot at saving them. Remove any organic mulch you have from around the plant, at least 16 inches in diameter for 'Compacta'. Add white pebbles, coarse white sand (not the fine stuff used in sand boxes etc), or crushed oyster shells around the plant as a mulch. This will help to dry out the interior of the plant more quickly. If the plants die, then follow the advice of raising the planting bed as mentioned earlier before replanting. You can also plant each plant on a mound if you are not able to raise the entire bed. Be sure to mulch as I described above, if at all. White mulch (sand was used in the experiment) has been shown to increase both oil and flower production in lavender. Organic mulch can be a problem for lavender in wet, humid areas.

F. DeBaggio

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 12:00PM
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Thanks everyone for your valuable input. I did mound the plants when I planted and the plants also get like 8-10 hours of sunlight. Our nights have been very cool so I'm surprised that the moisture is doing so much damage. However, I'll take your advice especially about the white mu1ch - very interesting factoid.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 1:37PM
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