Lavender plant turning gray is rarely a welcome sign for any hobbyist, in fact, it is almost always a sign from your plant that you are not taking good enough care of it. We have compiled a comprehensive list of all the possible reasons behind this graying, along with a list of how to treat them.
- Why Is Your Lavender Turning Gray?
- How To Save it
Why Is Your Lavender Turning Gray?
Your lavender plant might be turning gray due to fungal infections, frost damage, an incorrectly-sized pot or lack of pruning, in addition to over and underwatering. Lavender plant turning gray is a problem often faced by lavender carers.
The stem and leaves of this beautiful plant might turn gray and sickly-looking due to a varied number of reasons ranging from fungal infections to their cultural needs not being catered to properly.
Continue reading to find out more.
– Fungal Infection
A fungal infection is a rather common lavender disease. The fungus species botrytis is usually the root cause of this infection and the leaves on the lower aspect of the plant are most commonly affected.
Learn why your plant might be suffering from a fungal infection:
- Compact, poorly-draining soil
- Watering excessively
- Poorly-draining pot
– Damage From Frost
The lavender plant is a native of the warmer Mediterranean regions and needs a minimum temperature range of 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit to live. It will turn grey if exposed to temperatures lower than this.
This mostly happens when the plant is left outdoors throughout the duration of winters. Even when kept indoors, if the lavender plant is at the receiving end of cold drafts of air from an air-conditioner or an open window, you will begin to see it turn grey.
An overwatered lavender plant will most definitely turn grey around the base. This is because too much water retention suppresses the production of chlorophyll in the plant.
Moreover, overwatering also predisposes your plant to develop fungal infections such as root rot. In case of root rot, the grey patches will eventually turn brown and black and then begin to fall off. The whole plant might die within weeks if left untreated.
– How To Tell if Your Plant Is Overwatered
Here are some tell-tale signs and symptoms that your plant is bering overwatered:
- It will begin to turn gray around the base of the stem.
- It will have runny or soggy soil all the time.
- The pot will feel heavy.
- The leaves of the lavender plant will turn yellow and mushy.
Yes, prolonged underwatering will also turn the lavender plant gray. Not having adequate water leads to stunted root formation and the branches will begin to droop. Leaves will also begin to turn yellow and dry.
– How To Tell if Your Plant Is Underwatered
Here are some tell-tale signs and symptoms that your plant is bering underwatered:
- Just stick a pencil or stick in the soil. If it comes out dry all the way through, then your soil is severely dehydrated.
- A moisture meter is a fancy tool that comes in very handy in situations like this. When you stick its probe in the soil, it will tell you exactly how much moisture your soil currently has so that you can schedule your next watering.
– Incorrect Pot Size
Yes, the size of the pot is important too. Using a pot that is too small will cause cramping of the roots as the lavender grows. A too-large pot will make access to water and nutrients a struggle. If the pot isn’t 12 to 16 inches wide and deep, then it’s time to repot the plant.
– Not Pruning Enough
Your gray lavender plant can be an indication of a lack of pruning and deadheading. Unless you are pruning your plant at least twice a year, its stem and foliage will begin to turn grey. Eventually, the stem starts turning wooden and then splintering.
Pruning is extremely healthy for the plants. It frees up nutrients for more growth to occur. It also declutters the plant and promotes air circulation.
How To Save it
You can save a lavender plant from turning gray by treating fungal infections, maintaining a regular watering schedule, and regularly pruning them.
Want to learn more? Continue reading for the in-depth details.
– Treat Fungal Infections
It is possible to save a dying lavender plant by treating its fungal infection. If caught and treated early on, your plant might recover soon enough. The gray foliage will also turn green the next season. Learn how to treat fungal infections turning lavender plant gray below.
– Remove the Plant From the Ground
The first step is to remove the whole plant from the soil wherever it is planted. Carefully loosen the soil around the plant using a shovel so that the roots are not affected.
– Debride the Infected Parts
Shake loose the soil around the roots of the lavender. Carefully inspect the roots of the plant then remove the infected parts of the roots as well as the gray foliage.
Make sure that the gardening scissors or the shears that you use are well-sterilized afterward. Otherwise, you risk spreading the infection to all your other plants.
– Replace the Old Potting Soil
Discard the old potting soil. This soil is infected and should not be used for any other purpose. If your lavenders were planted in a garden, then spray fungicide in the soil and don’t place anything in it for some time.
The new soil should have about one-third of sand or grit in it. This will improve drainage and not encourage water retention. The rest two-thirds should be an ordinary potting mix.
– Replant Lavender in New Soil
Now carefully replant the lavender in new soil. For the next couple of weeks, your plant will be at risk of developing transplant shock and will need extra care.
– Keep It Away From Frost
Whenever the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to ensure that your lavender plants are well-protected from the cold and frost.
If the plant has already begun to turn grey, no need to sweat. Simply move the plant someplace warmer and prune off the parts that have already turned gray. Eventually, the rest of the plant will recover too.
– Prevent Frost Shock
Here are some steps you can take to prevent frost shock:
- It is best to simply plant the lavender in a pot. This way, you can transfer it indoors when fall begins.
- If your lavenders are planted in a garden outdoors, then covering them with plastic wrap throughout the winters will somewhat protect them.
- Even when placed indoors, make sure no cold drafts of air pass through this plant through air-conditioning, open windows or vents.
– Change Your Watering Schedule
As soon as you notice grey patches developing on the lavender plant due to overwatering or underwatering, know that it’s time to change your watering schedule.
– How Much To Water Lavender Plant?
The newly-planted baby lavender plant needs to be watered once or twice a week to help it take up roots and grow. A grown lavender plant with established roots needs to be watered once every two or three weeks. It mostly depends on the weather conditions in your area.
During the flowering season, start watering once every week again until flowers emerge.
– Change Your Pot
If your lavender plant is turning gray because of an incorrectly-sized pot, then repot the whole plant in a better one. Continue reading to find out the specifications you should look for in a pot.
- It should have 12 to 16 inches in depth and width to allow the roots to grow properly.
- It’s best to use pots made of clay or terracotta. These are breathable and allow natural air exchange that is quite healthy.
- Make sure there is a proper drainage hole at the bottom of your pot.
- Also, keep a tray below the pot to collect water, but remove it and drain it as soon as water accumulates in it.
– Prune and Deadhead Your Plant
The lavender plant must be pruned at least twice a year; Once before the fall in order to save nutrients and energy for surviving upcoming winters, and the second pruning should take place right before the weather gets warm.
Deadheading is the process of cutting off dead, old and dying flowers once the blooming season is over. It opens up air circulation within your plant. Don’t forget to constantly carry out deadheading of the lavender plant along with pruning.
Does winter cause Lavender to gray?
Yes, winter can cause Lavender to gray due to cold weather stress. The plant may also become dormant during winter, which can cause the foliage to appear dull or grayish.
Can pest infestation result in graying Lavender?
Yes, pest infestations can cause Lavender to gray. Pests such as spider mites and aphids can cause stress and damage to the plant, leading to graying of the foliage.
Will deadheading gray Lavender get it healthy?
Deadheading won’t necessarily make gray Lavender healthy, but it can promote new growth and improve appearance.
We discussed the various reasons why your lavender plants are turning gray and what to do about it. Below is a quick summary of this whole article:
- The lavender plant often turns gray due to fungal infections. Make sure to not overwater them.
- This Mediterranean plant grows best in warm conditions. During winter when it is exposed to cold weather, it turns gray as a result of frost damage. That’s why you should maintain a temperature range of 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Underwatering is another cause behind this plant graying. Make sure to water at least once every two weeks.
- The pot you use for this plant should be 12 to 16 inches in diameter and depth. A pot that is smaller or larger than this will turn the plant gray.
- Another reason behind graying is not pruning and deadheading lavender at least twice a year, once before fall and once before summer starts.
With this information at hand, a graying lavender plant shouldn’t be a problem at all. You simply need to make sure that their cultural needs are being properly met.
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