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I adore lavender and love the idea of big bays of it round a small patio I have at the bottom of my garden, the last part of my garden to get sun in the evening. I never have much success even though the area is in full sun all day (when we get sun). I planted 4 plants this year that I got for mothers day- three are ok but no flowers and the one plant that did have lovely big bumble need shaped purple flowers has gone black and droopy! Any advice for me?

What is your soil like, do you add grit?

Alina W

I was going to say the same - is the area well drained?


It's too early for lavender to flower - the usual time is from July to September.  

The lavender with  bumble-bee shaped flowers sounds like a French lavender which is less hardy than English lavenders and could have been hit by the sharp frosts we've been having.  It may have been raised in a greenhouse or polytunnel which is why it was in flower, and also why it succumbed to the frost, not having been hardened off.

Engish lavenders are hardier and will be fine during frost, as long as they're on free-draining soil with lots of grit in it;.

No. There is no grit in the soil and after all the rain, my soil in very heavy at the moment. I I'll add some grit nf maybe hod off planting any more plants for a while! Thank you all


Alina W

There's your answer, then. Lavender needs very well-drained, gritty soil - if yours is heavy and wet, it won't thrive. As well as adding lots of grit, you might like to consider raising the soil level a little to give even better drainage.


I always harden plants off before planting them out, no matter where I get them from. Even though my local garden centre displays their plants in an open air courtyard, it gets protection from strong winds and must have a slightly warmer climate dues to the surround of buildings. Also, quite rightly mentioned already, its feels great to buy plants in flower but often they have come straight from polytunnels and nurseries forcing them on to look their best and encourage sales. And it works! I can't resist a flowering plant.

Hardening off just involves bringing plants into the porch or house or sheltered spot each night for a week or ten days to give them time to adjust the cooler more exposed conditions of our back gardens.

Thank you...and what do you mean by 'raise the soil level?' Do you mean literally?
Alina W

Yes - if you add enough grit and dig it in you'll find that this will happen naturally. It doesn't need to be by much - an inch or two will make a difference to the plants.


Lavenders don't like wet feet in the winter, adding grit allows water to drain away faster and planting in a little hump of soil, allows the plant to feel drier. This is often the case of Mediterranean plants.

Should I just give up on the black floppy plant and replace with new? I have a large sun room along the back of my house I can use to bring it in in the evenings?
Alina W

The black floppy plant is dead, I'm afraid, it won't recover.

Sun room - yes, as long as it isn't heated. You want a cool room.


In my experience, black almost certainly means too wet whilst floppy means weakened growth. It may recover if given time and nurtured carefully but check it in daylight. If the discolouration is black spots, rather than die back (when the plant just looks dead and shrivelled) then it might be Shab, a fungal disease and you should bin the plant.


Ops sorry Alina...I keep posting at the same time as you with my impatience to help

Alina W

It's just great minds thinking alike, Wintersong

Anyway, you're saying different things, so we're both useful



It's been forced under cover, so it has flowered early and produced soft green growth that is not ready for our spring weather.  

It really annoys be that you find wonderful looking plants for sale in early spring, such as hellerborus niger with  flowers on tall 6" stems, and you think they must be a new strain. when they flower the following spring they are just like ordinary Christmas roses. It's deceitful trickery by the horticultural trade.  

I bought a lavender last year and keep it in a pot by the back door, it has flower buds, is this too early. Should I remove them?

Alina W

No. If the plant has produced them without being forced under glass they are fine.

Thanks, I was just  a bit confused.

My English Lavender flower stems have split length ways and twisted so the flowers are distorted and are pointing sideways or downwards. Is this caused by the recent heavy rain and temperature changes do you think?