Problems Growing Tarragon and Lavender in South Carolina
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Carol Custer
Posted on: April 5, 1998

The Web service you offer is great! My question has to do with Lavendar and Tarragon. I am able to grow everything I wish but these two. The plants that I bought were in good condition. They lasted a few weeks but I had no blooms on the lavender and it died in a few weeks. The soil here is acid and must be amended to grow anything. I have creeping thyme, rosemary, lemon verbena, chives, sage, mexican sage, yarrow and purple coneflower. The tarragon lasted one summer but died out as our August became very hot (105 degrees Fahrenheit). Any suggestions would be appreciated. I use herbs and flowers together and have very few pests.

From our database I was able to extract that tarragon survives at pH 6.3-7.8, but one reference claims it can even tolerate a pH of 4.9. However, the average maximum temperature it survives is supposed to be 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit). I think that the heat was probably the limiting factor. I suggest a heavy mulch for the plant at all times to keep the soil cooler. Planting it in half shade may also be necessary.

Lavender can take a pH from 6.4-8.2 and survives an average maximum yearly temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). In other words the heat is not likely to bother it but your low pH may be the culprit there. Except for Lady lavender you will have to wait for flowers until the second year. You may require a raised bed with alkaline soil to stop the rain from washing in acidity.

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