Last updated on January 10th, 2022
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Why is my Lavatera wilting? This is a common question that most people who are growing Lavatera ask at some point. Lavatera plants grow well without issues but sometimes problems like wilting arise.
Wilting has various causes in a Lavatera and I will cover these in detail below. When you finish reading through the article, you will have an inkling of what is affecting your plants and how to solve it or if you need to completely replace your Lavatera. Take your time to avoid making the wrong diagnosis and causing more damage to your plants.
Before I get into what can cause Lavatera to wilt, I want to point out that a Lavatera is generally considered to be a short-lived plant, and one of the symptoms that the plant is coming to a natural end is that it starts to wilt, often in spring just as it is supposed to come to life again. In general, they usually last around 4 years before needing to be replaced.
Periods of drought and lack of water is the main cause of Lavatera wilt
Lavatera plants take up a lot of water. It is probably one of the most common causes of Lavatera with wilting leaves. This is usually a problem during times of drought on extremely hot days. This is even worst for pot grown Lavatera shrubs as they quickly dry out and usually require watering daily.
You can help the soil retain moisture by watering regularly and applying mulch around the base of the plant every spring. If you are growing Lavatera in pots, consider using John Innes potting compost as this is soil-based and retains moisture more effectively than a general multi-purpose compost.
Fungal and bacterial infections
It is hard to avoid infections in plants, especially fungal infections because spores are available in the soil and air. Fungal infections such as root rot, powdery mildew, leaf spot, rust, mallow disease and others will come around.
If you notice your Lavatera wilting, look at the plant to find any physical symptoms of the disease. Each disease manifests different characteristics, so if you know the symptoms, the diagnosis will be easier.
Whether it is a bacterial infection like leafy gall or fungal infection, you need to act fast. By identifying the problem early, you can help your plants recover or dispose of them before they infect the other plants you have in the garden.
In the case of root rot, the chances of rescuing the plant are small because there are no working chemical controls available.
Overwatering and poor draining soil
They say too much of everything is bad and that includes water. Watering your Lavatera is necessary for its growth and in general, they need regular watering as previously mentioned. However, too much of it can cause irreparable damage. Plants sitting in waterlogged soils have higher chances of suffering from fungal infections found in the soil. Apart from the risk of disease, plants in waterlogged soil are unable to take up enough oxygen for them to function optimally.
To avoid these issues, plant your Lavatera in well-drained soil, in a sunny position. Also, make sure to give them time in between watering sessions. This gives the plant enough time to absorb the available water in the environment.
You can add grit and organic matter to the soil to improve drainage before planting to avoid issues with water-logged soil. You can also consider growing Lavatera in pots and one variety I particularly recommend for growing in pots is the Lavatera Barnsley Baby.
Poor quality soil that lacks essential nutrients
Good soil is an advantage because you are sure your plants will not suffer from any nutrient deficiencies. If you plant Lavatera in soil deficient of nutrients, the plant won’t have enough resources to grow optimally; therefore, sometimes wilting can occur but it’s not very common as they usually suffer from yellowing leaves first.
You should always consider the type of soil you have before planting. This way, you can make up for any nutritional deficiencies through fertiliser or well-rotted manure.
The best way to know if your soil has any deficiency in minerals and other nutrients is to conduct a soil test. If you don’t want to go through all that trouble, then just buy quality soil and grow your Lavatera in a pot.
Pests causing wilting leaves
Another reason why your Lavatera is wilting could be down to pests. Insects such as spider mites, aphids and thrips are some of the common pests that attack these plants. These insects usually consume the cellular content of plants thus weakening the plant.
Just like checking for symptoms of diseases, look for symptoms of pest activity. Take note of any changes in the leaves, stems or buds and apply treatment accordingly. I recommend treating with a general garden pesticide and treating as instructed in the label at first signs of pest attacks.
Lack of root space
For Lavatera that are being grown in pots, spacing issues can result in wilting. When plants have congested roots, they have a hard time taking in adequate nutrients thus leading to wilting. If you choose to grow Lavatera in pots, be careful with the sizing of the pot. This is especially important for the taller varieties of Lavatera because dwarf varieties do not need large spaces to thrive.
If you notice that your Lavatera needs more space, transplant it to the ground or a bigger pot. Whilst transplanting your Lavatera take care not to harm the roots to avoid transplant shock.
Learn more about how to grow Lavatera in pots
To much fertiliser can burn the roots causing the leaves to wilt
Wilting can also be the result of too many chemicals in the soil and this is, for the most part, concerns herbicides and fertilisers. Absorbing excessive chemicals can weaken the plant; therefore, one needs to be careful when using fertilisers or herbicides.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overloading the plant with too much fertiliser. When planting new plants make sure you mix in a fertiliser such as bone meal through the soil well, too much fertiliser touching the roots can cause the plant to wilt as it can burn the root.
From the information above, you can see that Lavatera can incur a lot of damage if left unattended. Even when you find the root cause, monitor your plants until you are sure they are fully recovered. Half treatments may leave the plant in an even more vulnerable state so apply treatments as prescribed.