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Unhappy Spanish Lavender – Make It Smile Again

Ask the Expert: Planting Lavender

I received a Spanish lavender plant in the mail as a gift.  It looked great when I got it, but after replanting it in a larger pot, slowly died despite a lot of attention (water, sun, etc.).  I’ve grown lavender before, but never had this much trouble (I live in a warm, Mediterranean climate, and it’s been fairly warm).  I kept the pot inside in a windy at first, then moved it outside thinking it needed more sun.
Could you please explain how best to transplant this replacement so that it  fares better?  I just used a regular potting soil mix before, and a larger terra cotta pot.
One thing that I think might be the culprit– there are some above-soil roots (I think)– should those be planted above or below the soil line in a new pot?

Thanks!  Photos are attached so you can see the roots I am describing.



  1. Kami,

    I didn’t receive the photos, but I will answer the question to the best of my ability.

    There are many factors that could be affecting the Spanish lavender. Over-watering is the number one cause of lavender decline especially Spanish lavender. The first thing I would check is to see if the terracotta pot has a drain hole. If it does make sure that it freely drains water. The soil needs to be one that drains well — a cactus or succulent soil can be used for lavender. When you transplanted the lavender, the level of the lavender plant should have remained the same in the new pot. In other words, the top of the root-ball should still be at the top and the new soil should fill in the gap between the root-ball and the new pot. Don’t place any soil on top of the root-ball. Immediately after transplanting you should have watered the plant; then it shouldn’t have been water again until the soil was slightly dry.

    Moving the plant could have caused some shock as well. Time usually takes care of this kind of shock. I would leave it alone for a little while and let it recover. Sometimes we love our plants to death. Just remember to water only when the soil has become slightly dry. Also, this plant does not like temperature under 25degrees. I hope this helps.