Ask a Question forum: Why is my Lavender dying?

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(Zone 9a)
Jun 16, 2016 3:49 PM CST
Some of my Spanish lavender plants looked shriveled up, pale and dry couple of days ago. Now they are completely gray and brittle, and look dead, with black tiny dots on the dry leaves. Same lavender plants next to them look great and are setting buds. They all came from the same nursery and were planted at the same time, 6 mo ago. A month ago all looked great and growing strong. I'm bummed because I planted all in a row for a continuous effect. Did not find any bugs other than ants. I live in Florida.
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jun 16, 2016 9:43 PM CST
Hey, welcome to I'm also in Florida and have tried year after year to grow lavender here. Sadly, in 15 years I have twice succeeded in growing a plant through the summer. They really don't like our high humidity and heavy rains. Most of the Mediterranean herbs have the same problem here - sage, thyme, oregano etc. also peter out for me. I think if I had a sunny window I could grow them indoors through the summer with the lower humidity in the house. But the sun is too high to get in the windows. Shrug! Rosemary is the only one that seems to survive pretty well.

Even though the native soil is fast draining sand, the roots still stay too wet, and most of the plants will peter out due to root rot. The only successes I had were by growing them in pots of cactus mix, and keeping them under an overhang of the house so they didn't get drenched with rain. I could more or less control the amount of water they got this way and allow the roots to get air, and dry out a bit between waterings.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
Organic Gardener Herbs Vegetable Grower Permaculture Xeriscape
Jun 17, 2016 10:52 AM CST
I agree The problem is almost certainly moisture related. You may even want to revise your planting to save your other plants. At a glance, I'd say the culprit is that mulch: in humid, high rainfall areas, organic mulch will hold too much moisture and rot the roots of dry loving plants. If your soil is fast draining, you could simply rake away that mulch and replace it with a bit of gravel or stone; light colored will reflect light and dry the foliage off. If your soil is too heavy, your best bet is to create a slightly raised bed with edging and ammend that soil with large grit.

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