9 Reasons Why Your Lavender isn’t Blooming (And How to Solve it)

9 Reasons Why Your Lavender isn’t Blooming (And How to Solve it)

Every growing season, lavenders should create a lovely bloom and spread their particular scent throughout your yard. However, if you attempt to mimic some of the circumstances seen in its native Mediterranean area, lavenders will only successfully blossom.

Lavenders prefer full sun, sandy soils with medium to low fertility, and nearly dry conditions with little to no irrigation.

However, don’t worry, growing lavender that blooms is very easy once you have made some adjustments. If your lavender has failed to bloom or has produced relatively few flowers, then go through the check list and identify the problem so that you can find out what to do to make your lavender display a spectacular bloom in the next growing season.

The most frequent causes of lavender plants not blooming are…

  1. For lavender, the earth is too fertile.
  2. Fertilizer is added to the soil.
  3. inadequate sunlight (Lavender needs full sun)
  4. improper soil pH
  5. excessive water
  6. Slow soil drainage
  7. excessive leaf trimming of lavender
  8. Not quite mature lavender
  9. The incorrect lavender for your climate

1. Soil is too Fertile for Lavenders

Sandy, low- to medium-fertility soils in Spain, Italy, and France are where lavender grows naturally in the Mediterranean region.

They naturally produce the most flowers and the finest scent in these soil conditions.

The lavender plants tend to grow more foliage and produce few to no blooms when the soil is rich in nutrients.

Since many common garden plants prefer rich, fertile soils with a high organic content, gardeners frequently give lavenders these conditions despite how harsh they may appear to be.

Garden soil with naturally high fertility is excellent for growing plants that require a lot of food, like roses, but it does not reproduce the natural growing circumstances of lavender, so they will not blossom as fully as they could.

What to do in response. Lavenders can either be grown in raised beds or pots as a solution, or their current soil can be improved.

The best lavender blossoms are produced on the rocky or sandy soils of Spain, France, and Italy. In order to replicate these circumstances, you must add a lot of sand or grit to the soil they are in.

Due to its low natural nutrient content, sand and grit will balance out the high fertility of rich soils.

If you are planting in pots, you must amend the soil so that it contains between 30 and 50 percent sand and grit and the remaining 20 to 30 percent soil or well-rotted compost.

Depending on the particulars of your garden, amending soil for lavenders may require some trial and error. However, the more naturally fertile your soil is, the closer to a 50:50 proportion of sand (or grit) to soil you should strive for in order to counteract the effect of high fertility.

Late winter or very early spring are the ideal times of year to transplant or adjust the soil for lavenders. This will lessen transplant shock because this is the time of year when the lavender is waking up from its winter hibernation.

If the lavender plant is already in the ground, you can carefully pry it out of the soil with a fork while making sure all the roots are still attached. Avoid using a shovel or spade since these tools might cut through the roots.

At this stage, you can remove a sizeable portion of the healthy soil and re-distribute it as mulch throughout your garden. Aim for at least a third grit to two thirds soil when replacing portion of the soil with sand or grit (both work well).

Replant the lavender in the modified soil, and then wet the soil thoroughly with water. This should lessen any transplant shock and increase the likelihood that your lavender will blossom in the upcoming spring and summer.

2. Adding Fertilizer to Lavenders

Fertilizer decreases the likelihood of a stunning purple bloom on lavender plants.

This may sound counterintuitive because many garden plants require fertilizer to develop a robust bloom, but lavenders are an exception.

Actually, for lavenders to effectively blossom, relatively low fertility conditions are needed.

Adding fertilizer will promote abundant foliage growth and few blooms, much like high-nutrient soils.

In contrast to the lavender’s naturally preferred conditions, adding extra fertility to the soil can even cause the roots to burn.

What to do in response. Use no fertilizer—this one is so simple! Lavender plants should be allowed to thrive in their sandy soils because they will soon bloom magnificently.

Lavenders don’t require any mulch or fertilizer in terms of fertility, however it’s acceptable to use wood chip mulch or other similar mulches for aesthetic reasons or to control weeds.

You’ll have less work to do in the summer and more time to appreciate your lavenders because lavenders thrive in low fertility sandy soils where weeds are less likely to grow.

In the case of liquid fertilizer, you will have to put up with a season of subpar flowering and remember not to apply any fertilizer the next year. If you have already added fertilizer, attempt to recover it if at all feasible (if it is in granular form and hasn’t yet broken down into the soil).

If the conditions are favorable and there is sufficient sunlight, the lavender should return and blossom the next season.

3. Not Enough Sunlight (Lavenders Need at least 6 Hours of Sun)

Lack of sunshine is a common factor in poor blooming lavender plants.

Lavenders are indigenous to places with lots of sunshine, where they get direct sunlight all day. Make sure to place your lavender plants in the area of your garden that receives the most direct sunshine because they cannot thrive or blossom in the shade and need at least six hours of sunlight each day.

With lavenders, there is a clear relationship between how much sunlight they receive and how much less they will blossom. All lavenders in the neighborhood won’t produce a good flower display if the spring and summer weather is less than perfect with lots of cloudy days; this is the luck of the draw.

However, in the long run, the lavender shouldn’t be impacted by just one unsuccessful growing season, and if the conditions are favorable and the sun is shining, they should be able to blossom the following year.

Steps to take. Lavenders need at least (ideally more) six hours of sun each day to blossom properly.

To avoid depriving your lavender plants of light, keep any tree branches or overhanging plants in check. If your lavender plants aren’t getting enough light, you can relocate them into pots or another location.

If so, you might have to relocate to a home with a garden that gets more sun!

English lavender cultivars may resist winter frosts and grow well in milder, temperate settings, but they still require a lot of sunlight to blossom.

4. The Correct Soil pH for Lavenders

4. The Correct Soil pH for Lavenders

Although lavender can survive modest soil acidity, it prefers a pH of (7) or slightly alkaline soil (up to pH 7.5).

Since most organic matter will be at this pH level once it has fully decomposed, the majority of garden soils are either pH neutral or slightly alkaline.

However, garden soil can become too acidic for lavenders to grow for a variety of reasons.

Steps to take. Fortunately, testing the pH of your garden soil is simple and affordable. All you need is an Amazon soil test. Your soil pH will be displayed in a clear, straightforward manner by the soil test kit.

After testing your soil, you might be able to rule out soil acidity as the root of your poor blooming plants.

You are in the ideal pH range for lavenders if your soil’s rating is between 6.7 and 7.5.

Garden lime must be added to the soil if it has been determined that it is too acidic (has a pH below 6.7). Garden lime can be purchased online or at your neighborhood garden store.

Garden lime is only a soil amendment that, when added, will raise the pH of the soil, converting acidic soil to alkaline soil.

In my experience, it is quite simple and secure to use, but in order to get the intended outcome, you must carefully adhere to the manufacturer’s directions. It can take some time to make a significant difference in the pH of the soil because it is a progressive process.

If it has been determined that your soil is acidic and your lavender plant is exhibiting indications of stress, I would urgently transplant it into a container that has one third sand and two thirds multipurpose compost and water it thoroughly (see my guide to watering lavenders in pots for details).

5. Too Much Water for Lavenders to Bloom

The most frequent error gardens make while taking care of lavenders is overwatering. France, Spain, and Italy—the Mediterranean nations that are the source of lavender—have very hot, dry summers with infrequent rainfall.

If lavender plants receive too much water, the soil will become overly damp for the roots, which will cause root rot.

If exposed to too much water, lavenders will exhibit signs of stress such as a withering appearance and browning of the leaf. This is sometimes interpreted as a sign of underwatering, and a gardener may exacerbate the issue by increasing the frequency of watering.

Overwatering will cause your lavender to show indications of stress, which will prevent it from blooming in the summer.

Steps to take.

In order to effectively grow lavenders in your garden throughout the hot spring and summer months, you should only water them once every two weeks. Lavenders flourish in conditions that seem severe, almost like a drought.

You should wait another two weeks before watering if there has been a lot of rain or numerous cloudy days in the previous two weeks.

Considering the needs of the other plants in your garden, this may seem like neglectful care, but lavenders are drought-tolerant, and their roots favor dry, quick-draining soil.

After roughly two weeks of drier weather, your lavender should recover from overwatering. A problem that is frequently related to soils with slow drainage is overwatering.

6. Soil Drains too Slowly

Lavenders require a soil with a porous texture that drains freely and doesn’t hold onto water for too long. Because lavender loves dry roots, this is the case. Root rot may develop if their roots are left in contact with damp material for any period of time.

The lavenders will become stressed from slow draining soil, which will result in the same symptoms as overwatering (a droopy appearance and either a browning or yellowing of the leaves), and this will either prevent it from blooming or result in a subpar show of flowers.

Clay soils, densely compacted soils, or soils with an excessive amount of organic matter can all result in water or rainfall gathering and retaining an excessive amount of moisture close to the roots of lavender.

With a little attention, you may improve the soil’s drainage and alter its structure to make it better for lavender plants.

Steps to take. The soil is sandy and has a good structure that allows water to drain relatively fast. It is also sufficiently porous to allow roots to develop and establish themselves into the soil with ease in the Mediterranean home range of lavenders (clay or compacted soil can be too slick for roots to establish properly).

You must modify your soil if it drains slowly or remains damp for an extended period of time if you want lavender to grow successfully.

A soil profile that contains around 30% sand or grit to 70% compost is ideal for lavender plants. However, if the soil is extremely sluggish to drain or your garden is located in a region with a lot of rainfall, this ratio may increase to 50:50.

It is best to modify the soil before planting by adding sand or grit to the planting area. However, if your lavender plants are already in the ground (or in pots) and the soil is significantly slow to drain, you can carefully remove them out of the soil with a fork and then replant them after adding your sand or grit.

Late winter or very early spring are the optimum times to accomplish this because they will lessen transplant shock. Sand and grit will boost drainage, improve soil texture, and are ideal for lavender because they won’t blossom in nutrient-rich soils. Sand is also relatively low in fertility.

Every garden will have its own unique requirements to follow when amending the soil to increase drainage, therefore it’s not an exact science. Lavenders will be able to thrive and, most importantly, create the best display of flowers as long as there is a healthy amount of sand or grit added to the soil and it doesn’t feel too wet or too moist.

Check out my article What Soil do Lavenders Like for additional details on the ideal soil for lavender plants.

7. Over Pruning Lavender Foliage

The golden rule of trimming lavenders is to avoid cutting into the old wood stems because doing so would probably kill the plant or have a significant negative impact on flowers. The lavender won’t produce a good bloom if it is left uncut down to the wood. When pruning lavenders, always leave a few inches of soft wood.

The optimal time to prune is in the late summer after the flowers have blossomed. A tidy-up prune should also be done in the spring to encourage new growth.

Steps to take.

The easiest way to explain pruning lavenders is with a visual aid, so watch this YouTube video to learn how.

8. Lavender Not Mature Enough to Fully Bloom

It may not be totally mature if you have gone through the list and checked every box but your lavender has nonetheless produced a good bloom this year.

In their second year of growth, lavender plants always produce their best blooms, and they should continue to bloom nicely for a few more years.

It should be noted that lavender has a short lifespan, with some hybrids only blooming for four years on average.

A manufacturing line of fresh lavenders can be created to replace any that are past their prime thanks to lavenders’ durability and enjoyment of uncomplicated environments.

This video demonstrates how simple it is to propagate lavender and exactly what to do.

Steps to take. There is no further work needed for this answer. Simply adhere to the recommended methods for producing lavender, and if the following growth season features a wonderful summer with lots of sunshine, you will be able to take pleasure in the look and scent of lavender in bloom.

According to my observations, the second and third years always result in the most voluminous blooms.

Even though it goes against your natural gardening impulses, keep in mind that there is no need to improve the soil or add fertilizer. The more you neglect lavender, the better.

9. Wrong Lavender for Your Climate

9. Wrong Lavender for Your Climate

This holds true regardless of the variety of lavender grown for garden centers—French, English, Italian, Spanish, or any of the many hybrids.

There is, nevertheless, a clear distinction. The only cultivars of lavender that can withstand frosts are English lavender and its variations. In comparison to the French, Spanish, and Italian lavenders, they perform better in conditions that are more moderate.

The popularity of French, Spanish, and Italian lavenders in California and other desert regions that rarely see substantial winter frosts can be attributed to their superior performance in arid settings with mild winters.

Steps to take. Make sure to plant English lavenders in your garden if you live somewhere with chilly winters.

With gardens that experience winter frost, it is more crucial than ever to have well-draining soil so that water can drain away from the roots and not build up in the soil and lead to root rot as temperatures change at the point of frost.

While continental European types of lavender tend to suffer in the cold and either show indications of stress or even die as the temperature comes up for the growth season, English lavender cultivars continue to produce stunning blooms and fragrance despite cool winters.

You have a wider selection of lavender kinds to plant in your garden if it is in a region with moderate winters because all varieties ought to thrive and yield a good bloom.

It is recommended to continue planting English lavenders if your garden gets winter frosts.

Conclusion

Placement in full sun, sparing watering, and soil with low nitrogen levels are the three most crucial elements for a superb lavender bloom.

Because they really thrive when not subjected to overly careful care, lavenders are incredibly simple to maintain.

Simply go through each step like a checklist if you are having problems with your lavender plants to make sure all of their requirements are being satisfied.

By making the necessary adjustments, you can guarantee that your lavender will bear blooms and have a potent scent by the following growing season and for many years to come.

FAQ

Do all lavender plants bloom?

Types of lavender, varieties of lavender, and lavender blooming seasons. Depending on where you live, you can have lavender blossoms in your garden for practically the entire year. Why? Because some lavender plants bloom continually throughout the spring and summer, while others only bloom occasionally.

Why is my lavender plant not doing well?

If your lavender plants are dying in pots, there are a number of potential causes, including over- or underwatering, unsuitable soil, insufficient water or sunlight, and fertilizer demands. Once more, lavender in pots may suffer from chilly weather.

How long does it take lavender to flower?

Although lavender plants require three years to grow, they may blossom in their first year. The blooms will thereafter be plentiful and can be used for a variety of purposes. When mature plants bloom, harvest the spikes as soon as possible. Just cut a few leaves above.

Why is my lavender plant not blooming?

The location of your lavender in the garden is incorrect. Lavender is native to the warm Mediterranean and requires at least six hours of sunlight each day to blossom. Your lavender won’t bloom if you grow it under a tree. A place with a lot of wind is also not ideal because lavender prefers tranquil, hot summers.

Does lavender flower the first year?

The first year after the lavenders are planted, they will develop slowly, but the majority of them will bloom. By the next year, you will have a wonderful supply of lavender to plant into a hedge or use as a vibrant border for your perennial bed.

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