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Dear All, We have five lavender bushes all about four years old. I deadhead and use the flowers daily and the bushes flower all year round (we are in the middle of the Atlantic Rainforest outside Rio). After temps of up to 40deg and torrential rains they are mostly brown and grey and toppling over after the weight of the rain (and bad drainage-system on the house). Any advice or is all lost? They are very dear to me and my grandmother back in England! Many thanks. ps i don't know how to attach a pic as i am new to this. Happy gardening!
Lavender likes hot dry conditions with sharp drainage so it sounds as if your plants are struggling with the wet. What can you do to improve the drainage? If there are any live plants you could take some cuttings as an insurance policy should you lose any plants. My lavenders also seed readily ... have you any seeds or seedlings at the base of the plants, which you could pot up and bring on for the future. Your climate is so different from ours that it is difficult to know what to do. Good luck with them.
Thanks WW. I think you are right re. the water.The house drainage is a major problem to be fixed one fine day!!! I will endeavour to take cuttings this weekend, do you know what soil mix is the best as when i tried before none of them sprouted roots. The climate here and the Ps&Ds that come with it are a challenge but part of the life long lessons i guess. Thanks again and Happy Gardening!
Again you want sharp drainage. Try a mix of potting compost and grit . Place cuttings around edge of pot which is supposed to increase chance of striking. Do several pots with about 6 cuttings in each. Water then put in shade. I wouldn't put plastic bags over them in your circumstances since they should have fresh/dry air to avoid rotting off. Water about once a week. Stand pots on sand/gravel. Good potting.
Thank you so very much for your detailed advice. I will do just that this weekend, suprised about the watering just once a week. many many thanks for the expert tips.
Some years ago I was asked to help with the garden design for a hotel in the Carribean; after talking to experts I learnt that plants like Pelagoniums would not do well in that climate as they need a 'down' season, which they get in their native South Africa and the South of France, but not in Barbados where the winter temperatures are too high. The only roses that seem to survive there are some special ones from Thailand I believe. You may need to do some research on the exact conditions that lavender enjoy and change the type of lavender to suit
Thanks Artjak but this type of lavender (Angustifolia) thrives in the mountains here, it was the pride of the garden before the rainfall this summer which was 7 times the usual volume on just one day. We are 900m up and really do have cool temps at night. Think it really is a case of sorting the drainage ready for next year and the sharp drainage as per WW. We have many roses too, the land is very fertile clay based so much work is needed introuducing more well drained soil. Just wish we had more time as we are in Rio mon-thurs and im too stubborn to employ somebody to help!! You work in the Carribean must have been a joy. Many thanks for the advice however and good luck on your next ventures!
Pean, I really hope your Lavenders survive. If you want an under gardener I'm available, have loved hols in Caribbean. Bet you grow some wonderful statuesque plants. Would be great if at some time you could post some pictures.
What a lovely, kind offer! I have probably 23561 questions to be honest! I have many pictures of some very statuesque plants of which many are suffering due to climate change and me being an amateur! Do you know how i post pics? It's proven to be a lifeline and my great passion here but there is so much to do!
Pena I'm not good at posting pics,but I'm sure one of the forum members will tell you how. Smart bunch on here.
I can see that now, so glad i joined. Thanks again
Pena, click on the little tree logo just above where you type, then browse your collection of pics, double click on the one you want, select, and save. The photo takes a little time to upload so be patient. Look forward to seeing them
Lovely Artjak! Big thanks, will do when i have some free time later!
Poor lavender bushes. This was taken in March, they are much worse now poor lovies
Oh well done! Shame about all that rain.
Pena, I can see why you are so upset, and desperate to find a solution. Remember that lavendar is a mediterranean plant. The med. climate is "hot dry summers, cool wet winters". That's what you should try to emulate, along with the drainage we talked about earlier.
Do you trim them back after flowering?
3\4 years ago when they were still v young we had a local chap to help out and water on days of the week we were not there and he chopped them back severly in the first year - taking all the under sections away. after that they have slowly buckled under the weight of the rain and lack of drainage!! (said chap is now gone after he was noted not turning up for work during many weeks when we couldnt be there). I take the flowers off when they are in their prime to use for various ointments, potions and pillows for my beloved nan in england but to be honest do not trim back as they Never stop flowering. I\we now realise our biggest mistakes were to not prune in the first couple of years - and i mean every plant and tree through pure fear. I am v forward in the garden and instinctive but have a fear of pruning. i read that in tropical climates we should prune twice or even three times a year but as i said the flowers never stop producing. of course they have their hayday but....the more i know about gardening the more i realise how much i really don't know!! I am relatively new to gardening and to be honest its mostly a case of getting on with the urgent. with the amount of very hot sun and plenty of moutain rain the plants grow at astonishing rates and im trying to concentrate on being self-sufficient. Prices here are turning into England too!!
The standard advice is to trim them back after flowering, which in the UK would mean late summer although it doesn't make much difference if you leave this to the spring. If yours keep growing all year then I think that it would be up to you to decide when.Two or three times could be OK too.The absolutely essential rule that you must follow is that you must not trim them back so far that you are cutting into the brown stems at the base of the plant. If you do this the plant will not grow again on that stem. You should trim down only so far that you have left some green growth on each stem. Leave about 2-4 cms. of green and you should keep a nicely shaped shrub, and have stimulated flower formation. To keep up your supply of flowers for your Nan you could trim different plants at different times. I know pruning can be a bit frightening when you first start gardening but we have a saying that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Except that for lavender you must not not be too cruel!
I am thinking that you might be overwatering too. Lavendar is a drought tolerant plant that might wilt a bit if you let it go for over a week with no water, but overwatering is a sure killer for this one.