Lavenders are native to the Mediterranean and parts of Europe that have hot temperatures, sunny days, and minimal rainfall.
In the ideal conditions, English lavender can live for 10 to 15 years and French lavender can live for a maximum of 5 years.
But these age estimates are greatly reduced when lavender plants are left outdoors for the winter season.
French lavender is not at all tolerant to cold and frost while English lavender is somewhat tolerant.
How Long Do Lavender Plants Live?
You must admit that your lavender’s first bloom will be exciting and breathtaking. It won’t be long till you wonder how long this appealing flower will grace your garden.
The truth is there is no fixed answer, the lifespan of a lavender depends on its variant.
English lavenders are the longest-living lavenders while French lavenders are the shortest-living lavenders. But, if given bad conditions, lavender will not live to see such long lifespans.
English lavender can live between 10 and 15 years while French lavender can live for 4 to 5 years. Of course, this is under optimal conditions and with excellent care.
But, not all lavenders will get to see such long full lives! Many conditions can easily decrease the number of years.
Disease, lack of sunlight, overwatering, and winter damage, are the most common factors that decrease how long lavender plants live.
7 Ways To Make Lavender Live Longer
Lavender plants have strict requirements and deviation from these conditions will not end well for your lavender.
If you are serious about caring for your lavender and making it live longer, we have a few tips to help.
Here are some sure ways to increase your lavender’s long life!
Pick The Right Lavender
Before picking any plant to grow in your garden, there are a few factors that should influence your decision. These are
- The country you live in
- The climate and season currently in effect.
Likewise, when selecting a lavender that will grow to its maximum, the climate is a crucial factor to consider.
English Lavender is the only lavender that can survive winters outdoors as they are hardy to cold, frost, and snow. They can even do well in areas that have lower temperatures than most.
If you live in colder regions of the USA and planting lavender in the ground year-round, English lavender should be your choice.
If you have French lavender or Spanish lavender and you want it to live long, you have to bring them indoors. For that, you have to plant it in pots! Instead, these two variants are more suited to growing in Mediterranean conditions.
They cannot tolerate cold frosty winters and need to be sheltered from rainfall. Only select these lavender variants for growing if you live in France, Spain, or some Mediterranean island!
Another climate-related factor to consider that can affect how long your lavender plants live is humidity.
High humidity can greatly decrease a lavender plant’s life since it increases the chances of root rot and acts as an inviting environment for fungal infections.
But, enough sunlight and adequate spacing (2 to 3 feet) should be all it takes to prevent the loss of lavender plants due to high humidity.
Want to know if lavender will be a good Rosemary companion plant?
Soil is essentially the only growing media lavender plants will ever have.
This soil has to sustain the lavender plants and assure that water passes out rapidly. Failure to do both these tasks will lead to a quick death for your lavender plants.
This means you have to take a lot of care when selecting the right lavender soil. There are a few points to take note of when choosing the soil that makes your lavender live longer!
Drainage, pH, and nutrient levels are important features that can affect how long your lavender lives and how well it grows.
Take note of each of these prior to planting your lavender plants. Amending them later could prove to be difficult!
Lavender plants will not have long lives if they are given soils that hold lots of water. Particularly those that have compost materials or clay.
The fine particles of clay form a waterproof layer through which water cannot penetrate. Compost absorbs and holds too much water.
Obviously, your lavender has a breaking point and cannot live out its life in poor draining, wet soil.
Let’s talk about the type of soil your lavender can grow old in!
Porous soil with high content of sand, grit, or anything that facilitates drainage of water is ideal for lavender.
Remember, you do have to mimic the conditions found in its native Mediterranean origin. This means sandy soil with bits of broken-down rock will make lavender last the longest.
Lavenders are intolerant to acidic soils. If unsure about the pH levels of your soil, a simple soil test will shed some light on matters.
Want your lavender plants to have a chance of living out their full lives? You have to monitor pH and amend it if it isn’t satisfactory.
Lavender plants grow best in mildly alkaline soils (pH 6.5-7.5) or at least neutral soils (pH 7).
Managing soil pH is important and an ongoing process if you want your lavender to excel for years and years.
If your soil is borderline acidic, you must amend it to make sure it becomes alkaline and stays that way! You can do so by adding wood ash or garden lime to the soil mix.
Now comes an important factor whose real importance is often masked by the soil’s appearance. We cannot see how much nutrients are in the soil and this is very dangerous!
An excess of nutrients in the soil will lead to leggy growth but an excess of Nitrogen can end your lavender. Low to medium fertility soils are the best for lavender since they have a minimum requirement for lavender.
In fact, these resourceful plants gather nutrients from the soil themselves and do not require extra feeding.
But there is an exception. When growing potted lavender indoors, add a small amount of fertilizer since the pot of soil has finite nutrients.
Have trouble finding the right lavender soil mix to grow lavender indoors? Read our guide to the best soil mix for potted lavender.
Lavender Plants Die Without Sunlight
All plants need sun since it is used for photosynthesis (food production). When it comes to lavender plants they need full sun for several hours a day.
Lavender plants need a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. Lavender will eventually die when kept in shade for extended periods of time.
Lavenders will not only live longest with full sunlight, but they will also produce more flowers.
Very small intervals of shade won’t do any harm as long as the lavender is getting its share of bright light. Making sure the plants get their fair share of sunlight is the start of a long life.
Watch Your Watering, It’s Easy To Overwater!
Lavender does not like as much water as most other plants. Actually, this is exactly what can be the leading cause of lavender plant death!
A lavender will live longer when underwatered than when overwatered.
In its native origins, lavenders rarely get water and survive on infrequent rainfall which is common in the Mediterranean.
In fact, rain is so uncommon that lavender earns itself the title of being a drought-resistant plant.
Water your lavender once every 2 weeks to avoid overwatering it. Also, the season will affect watering efforts.
You should water your lavender plants less in winter (once in 4 to 6 weeks). Stick to a watering routine to make sure watering is regular but not too frequent!
Watering lavender more than once every two weeks will be too much and you risk the development of root rot. As a good rule of thumb, test the soil by dipping your finger into the first inch. Only water the plant if this area of soil is dry.
Make sure the soil dries between two watering sessions or else this is a clear sign of excessive watering.
Pruning Lavender Goes A Long Way
People describe lavender as a low-maintenance plant. But that doesn’t mean some maintenance is not good to increase the livelihood of your lavender plant.
Actually, pruning can do a lot to extend the life and strength of your lavender plants. Pruning will fortify the stems of your lavender and increase the plant’s tolerance to cold and winter. It also promotes the flowering of plants.
Besides, it shapes your lavender, making it look more attractive and preventing your plant from falling over due to overgrowth on one side.
Pruning can be done twice a year. In summer after flowering and again in late spring to fall to put it back in a mound-like shape. Only prune ⅓ off the top of the plant (green-growth)!
You must at all costs avoid cutting into the woody stem of your plant as this is basically a death sentence!
Doing this will lead to the weakening of the foundation and can cause splitting if the woody stems develop cracks.
Carefully Pick Companion Plants
Lavender has extreme requirements! Naturally, not every plant will adapt to such conditions. The conditions of lavender may very well endanger or kill other sensitive plants around it.
Most plants like lots of water while lavender is very intolerant to excess water.
However, there are some plants that almost perfectly match the requirements and care conditions of lavender. That is lots of sunlight, minimal water, and low to medium nutrient levels. But with some compromise and exceptions. Lavender can have neighbors.
Growing Roses or Rosemary with lavender is a great match, but take care of their individual needs very carefully. Take a look at these other companion plants for lavender.
Steer Clear of Pests and Diseases
Diseases affect the life expectancy of people and plants and unfortunately, lavender plants are also not exempt.
Although lavender can scare off a few pests, there are some that have a natural affinity towards lavender plants.
Spittlebugs, whiteflies, and aphids are the most invasive insect pests that affect lavender plants and decrease their survival rates. Also, aphids can pass on the Alfalfa Mosaic Virus to lavender plants.
Infection by pests or diseases will stunt and deform lavender plants until they cannot grow or recover. Eventually, the disease will lead to death and severe pest infestations will lead to the death of your plants.
English lavender can live for 10 to 15 years and French lavender can live for 4 to 5 years. But this is only possible if they are cared for properly and provided with their ideal native growing conditions.
As you can see, lavender plants live for a very long time! But it is up to every individual lavender gardener how long their plants will live.
It also depends on the care they are given. With correct care, they can live for years. But with incorrect care, they may only last a few months!
Factors that can affect how long lavender plants live include:
- Lavender variant and its tolerance to different climates
- Soil (drainage, pH levels, nutrient levels)
- Long hours of sunlight (6-8 hours)
- Minimal watering (every 2 weeks)
- Pruning (twice a year)
- Choose a correct companion plant
- Prevent and control pests and disease
How long does English lavender live for?
A well-kept English lavender plant can live for a minimum of 10 years. But it can live for more in excellent growing conditions.