Why Lavender Turns Brown: Most Often It Is Due To Improper Care

Last updated on October 25th, 2023 at 11:08 am

If the lavender turns brown and dies, there are many possible causes. In most cases, it is care errors, which must be adjusted accordingly. In addition, further treatment of the diseased plant depends on the cause, which you should conscientiously investigate.

Lavender plants can turn brown for various reasons, and while improper care is one common cause, there are other factors to consider as well.

Here are some of the primary reasons why lavender might turn brown:

  1. Improper Care:
    • Overwatering or inadequate drainage can lead to root rot and browning of the plant. Lavender prefers well-draining soil and should be allowed to dry out between waterings.
  2. Soil Type:
    • Lavender thrives in sandy or loamy soil with good drainage. Heavy clay soils can retain too much moisture and cause root problems and browning.
  3. Climate and Location:
    • Lavender is well-suited to sunny, arid climates. Planting it in a location with insufficient sunlight can lead to poor growth and browning.
  4. Pruning:
    • Pruning lavender at the wrong time or too aggressively can stress the plant and lead to browning. Prune after flowering, but not into the woody part of the stems.
  5. Fertilizer:
    • Over-fertilizing can result in excessive leaf growth at the expense of flowers and may cause browning.
  6. Pests and Diseases:
    • Aphids, mealybugs, or fungal diseases can harm lavender plants, leading to brown leaves. Regular inspection and treatment may be necessary.
  7. Winter Damage:
    • In cold climates, lavender can suffer winter damage, which may cause browning. Protect the plant during winter with proper mulching or a covering.
  8. Old Age:
    • Lavender plants may naturally become woody and brown as they age. Pruning or replanting may be necessary to rejuvenate the plant.
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Why Lavender Turns Brown: Most Often It Is Due To Improper Care

To prevent browning and maintain the health of your lavender, ensure you provide the right care, including proper watering, well-draining soil, and sufficient sunlight. Additionally, avoid over-pruning and be vigilant for pests and diseases. By addressing these factors, you can help keep your lavender vibrant and flourishing.

Lavendel wird braun

Waterlogging makes lavender turn brown
Most often, lavender turns brown and withers because it has been watered too often or incorrectly. Waterlogging due to excess water in the root zone not draining also causes brown leaves. Lavender is extremely sensitive to moisture and humidity, so waterlogging quickly causes root rot. As a result, the damaged roots can no longer transport sufficient water to the upper parts of the plant, and the plant dries up. By the way, a damp and cool summer can also cause root rot.

What to do in case of root rot?

If the lavender is in danger of dying due to root rot, with a little luck it can still be saved. To do this, however, you will need to dig it up and transplant it or, in the case of potted lavender, move it to fresh substrate. When choosing a new location, pay attention to the soil conditions, because lavender loves sandy and dry soil. If necessary, you can cut the rotten roots.

Too much drought can also lead to brown leaves.
More rare, but also not uncommon, is the withering of lavender due to lack of water. This is especially the case in winter when the weather is sunny and frosty at the same time. The winter sun causes any moisture present to evaporate before the plant can absorb it. With little winter precipitation and plenty of sun, water your lavender moderately if it shows signs of drought. The evergreen plant is dependent on moisture.

See also  Should You Reuse Old Potted Plant Soil?

Brown spots on Phorma Lavandula.
If you first observe brown, then blackish spots on the leaves of your lavender, it is most likely what is known as lavender death, or lavender dieback. This is a fungal disease caused by the fungus Phorma Lavandula. The disease can be treated only by early removal of the affected areas, otherwise there is no remedy. On the other hand, if the leaves of the lavender turn yellow, then it could be the leaf spot disease.

Tips & Tricks
If the lavender turns brown only on the lower parts of the stems, but not in the higher parts – for example, on the leaves – then it is neither a disease nor care errors. The lavender lignifies, which is a completely normal process for the plant.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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