I can't keep lavender alive... help!


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Hello, I've bought what I suspect is English lavender not once, not twice, but four times! And each time it has turned black and died like this (my 3rd plant)
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I've read how they like gritty, well draining soil, little water and lots of sun, but no matter what, I can't keep them alive! This is my 4th and quite possibly my last lavender. It's turning black at the bottoms and I can't figure out why! It gets plenty of sun, and I bring it in during rain storms. Can anyone help identify the problem here? Thank you for your help!
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Welcome :)

Do you always grow lavender in a pot? Have you tried growing it out in the garden in a really sunny spot? What kind of compost are you using - is it fresh compost each time that hasn't had anything else growing in it? Very importantly, how often do you water it?
It would be a good idea to inspect the roots on the dead/dying plants.
 
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I usually do well with college exams that are multiple choice . as there never are "Always", never are "Nevers". or never are "ALL". So in the choices, I will rule out any answers with the words in them, Always, Never, or All.
 
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Welcome :)

Do you always grow lavender in a pot? Have you tried growing it out in the garden in a really sunny spot? What kind of compost are you using - is it fresh compost each time that hasn't had anything else growing in it? Very importantly, how often do you water it?
It would be a good idea to inspect the roots on the dead/dying plants.


I haven't had it long, I'd say about 2 weeks. I've tried planting it in the ground but it dies within a week. I switched over to a pot that contains potting soil and sand mixture, since I read that lavender likes well draining and gritty soil. I've watered the plant very lightly only once, and it's starting to turn black like that.
 
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@Verycherry, it seems to me that you have done absolutely everything right, and so I decided to do bit of research. Although we usually assume that lavender is almost always a disease free plant, I found this information, which might throw some light on your problem.

Lavender Shab Disease - Phomopsis lavandula: This is a fungus that kills the stems of the lavender. The clearest sign of it is when all the shoots wilt suddenly, even though there has been no drought. There was a lavender shab epidemic about 40 years ago that killed vast amounts of commercially grown lavender (where the wind could easily spread fungal spores along the rows of plants) and although it seems to have since disappeared, anyone who grows, sells or maintains large amounts of lavender is on the lookout for this microscopic killer. Close inspection of the affected plants (you may need a magnifying glass) will reveal very small black shapes called pycnidia emerging from the bark. If you saw them under a powerful microscope, you would see that they are cup shaped and full of spores. Again, do your best to try and burn the affected plants.

I'm wondering if you might have brought this inadvertently in with your first effort at growing lavender, and maybe it has remained to keep attacking the plants.
Just in case, I think I might be tempted to burn the lot as suggested and continue without lavender for a while.
I haven't yet found out what other plants could be affected if this IS the case, but maybe you could disinfect the area thoroughly and try growing something else :unsure:
 
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@Verycherry, it seems to me that you have done absolutely everything right, and so I decided to do bit of research. Although we usually assume that lavender is almost always a disease free plant, I found this information, which might throw some light on your problem.

Lavender Shab Disease - Phomopsis lavandula: This is a fungus that kills the stems of the lavender. The clearest sign of it is when all the shoots wilt suddenly, even though there has been no drought. There was a lavender shab epidemic about 40 years ago that killed vast amounts of commercially grown lavender (where the wind could easily spread fungal spores along the rows of plants) and although it seems to have since disappeared, anyone who grows, sells or maintains large amounts of lavender is on the lookout for this microscopic killer. Close inspection of the affected plants (you may need a magnifying glass) will reveal very small black shapes called pycnidia emerging from the bark. If you saw them under a powerful microscope, you would see that they are cup shaped and full of spores. Again, do your best to try and burn the affected plants.

I'm wondering if you might have brought this inadvertently in with your first effort at growing lavender, and maybe it has remained to keep attacking the plants.
Just in case, I think I might be tempted to burn the lot as suggested and continue without lavender for a while.
I haven't yet found out what other plants could be affected if this IS the case, but maybe you could disinfect the area thoroughly and try growing something else :unsure:

This could be it, but I've bought the plants after one another, so I don't think it spread from plant to plant. However I did purchase all four of these plants from Home Depot, and most of them did have the black, wilted bases. I think I'd be better off trying to grow my own from seeds indoors.
 
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If the fungal spores have been spread about, this is something that will spread like crazy. It doesn't just go away. We are possibly talking about fungal spores that are microscopic and ubiquitous by their very nature. There is a good chance then that you will do all the work for no reward and even more disappointment.

At the moment, my best advice would be to disinfect as much soil, tools, boots etc as possible, and try a different plant, maybe Rosemary, or Thymus, or the curry plant .... just something else for now.


Whatever you decide, I wish you good luck.

Do let us know how things turn out please, it would be very interesting to know ........ learning all the time (y)
 
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I am interested as well, but as usual its my tummy driving my interest. One of the best lamb dishes I have ever eaten used lavender as an aromatic and I have been in pursuit of lavender for culinary reasons ever since. I was dismayed to see how many types there are to complicate this very lame search. I would not think that many choices would be common for cooking, but then maybe they all could be used for the purpose.
 
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The ''Augustifolia'' varieties are probably best for flavouring food. The others might be a bit too strong. I'm pretty sure that ''Stoechas'' is rather strong, and I can't remember the name of the other one :oops: because I'm going doo-lally!
''Augustifolia'' is, of course, known also as ''English Lavender'' - I grow the varieties ''Hidcote'' and ''Munstead''
 
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Update: the lavender died unfortunately. Nothing I did could save it and it turned black and withered away! It's so bizarre!
 
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Lavender farm across the street from me. this is a copy /paste from their web site of the ones they use. In zone 6 . seems to work for them.
At Windy Hill Farm (yes it is always windy) we produce several specialty crops.

First and foremost is the lavender. We grow several varieties including Grosso, Provance and Phenomenal. The Provance is our culinary lavender. Read more about our lavender in that section.
 
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It's not easy to grow lavender. My first advice would be to pick a variety that is suitable for your climate. There are 450 varieties including many hybrids, here is a list of some popular ones for you to see which one works: https://herbamedicine.com/type-of-lavender/
Most lavenders prefer mild winters and dry, hot summers. They also need a lot of sun since they are native to the Mediterranean, here is a guide on how to grow https://herbamedicine.com/grow-lavender/
 
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Hello, I've bought what I suspect is English lavender not once, not twice, but four times! And each time it has turned black and died like this (my 3rd plant)
View attachment 83014
I've read how they like gritty, well draining soil, little water and lots of sun, but no matter what, I can't keep them alive! This is my 4th and quite possibly my last lavender. It's turning black at the bottoms and I can't figure out why! It gets plenty of sun, and I bring it in during rain storms. Can anyone help identify the problem here? Thank you for your help!
View attachment 83015
View attachment 83016View attachment 83018
I'm thinking maybe it is not doing well because there is some sort of mold or pest or something in the pot/soil you are using. Have you tried using a new pot with new soil or growing the lavender in a completely new spot?
 
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NigelJ

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They need good drainage, as said above. I would start again in a fresh pot with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom, then mix the compost/soil 50:50 with grit. When you plant loosen the roots from the root ball and spread out in the pot; this reduces any problems with the compost from the grower holding water around the roots. Consider feet under the pot so any water can drain from under it.
My lavender grows well in a raised bed, in stoney, poor soil and a sunny spot.
Lavender comes from a Mediterranean climate, growing on stoney poorish hillsides, plenty of sun and heat, low humidity. Grows with plants like rosemary and thymes.
Select an English lavender as these are hardier than the French variety.
 

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