Ask The Gardener: I recently planted some Lavender, but it is dying?

Question

I recently planted some Lavender, but it is dying! What am I doing wrong?

I thought lavender did well in drier soil, it is on the west side of the yard planted in front of the house, and I know it does well here because the municipalities plant it all over the place. I have two French lavender plants and 2 of a different variety.

Answer

Without seeing your plants is a little hard to say. So, we will take the general approach. If I were going to solve this problem sight unseen, I would do the following:

  • Make sure you are watering the plants enough.  While it is true that lavender, once established, is hearty and hot dry weather tolerant, the first year they need extra care. I would deep water them with drip irrigation or by building a mound of dirt around them and filling it as much as possible creating a basin. During the hottest weather, you may need to do this daily really hot weather. If you put your finger in the soil near the plants, the soil should feel moist (not sopping wet) and slightly cool.
  • Just in case of disease or fungus, I would treat my plants for disease and fungus. Perhaps, a good brand of  3-in-1 Insect & Disease Control Plus Fertilizer.
  • If your soil is poor quality:
    • side dress your plants with half an inch to an inch of composted manure, which is normally available at your local yard and garden supply store.
    • Consider adding fertilizer stakes near the plants.
    • Mulch your plants; you will want to put down 2 to 4 inches of mulch and you will want to mulch out a couple of feet from the plants to make sure you cover all the root base.

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