Subject: Sick French Lavender
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from; Sharron Jones

I have two types of French lavender that appear to have yellowing leaves. Lavandula ‘St Wine’ in large plastic tubs and Lavandula ‘P. Pukehou’ in raised vegetable beds, the problem is in both sites.

The plants are approximately two years old, and looked well enough until about two/three months ago. I have on two occasions, around this time (2-4 months), fed the tub plants with a watered down pony poo brew and a market plant food called Bounty (Watkins) with trace elements -- sulphur, magnesium, calcium, cobalt, copper, boron, molybdenum, iron, manganese and zinc. Phew! The plants directly in the soil have had lime to alleviate a low pH and blood & bone as a general garden fertiliser.

Parasites do not appear to be a problem, watering is consistent and there have been no extremes of weather, as our Taranaki, New Zealand winter was relatively mild (by our standards) and spring saw only a few mild frosts -- though above average rainfall.

I would very much appreciate an thoughts you might have and hopefully a solution. Have I been over zealous in feeding the plants?

Lavender rests in winter and does not need any fertilizer when it does so. So for this reason I would guess that you over-fertilized at this time. You also said that you had a lot of rain, another thing that lavenders do not like at any time and not at all in winter. Maybe you have to move the tubs under eaves to keep them drier. Or if this is not possible, use the English method of keeping plants drier during the typically wet English winters, by propping a pane of glass over the pots. Keep the panes at a slant to allow air into the pot and make the rain sheet off.

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