Lavender plants provide a spectacular backdrop of colour to the home garden. Lavender also is highly sought after for the pleasant aroma produced by the flowers. While generally hardy, lavender does suffer from a few diseases and pests of which growers should be aware.
Alfalfa Mosaic Virus - Alfalfa mosaic virus is spread to lavender from the saliva of aphids, which eat the leaves. It can also be passed to healthy plants by tainted cutting shears. Alpha mosaic virus is characterised by yellow areas on the leaves and can kill an entire lavender patch if the infected plants are not removed.
Shab - Lavender plants are susceptible to a fungal infection called shab. The spores float through the air and infect the plant, causing the stems to turn brown and the stem of the plant to turn black. Infected plants should be dug up (including all roots) and burnt.
Root Rot - Lavender prefers sandy, well-aerated soil. If the soil has too much clay and retains water, root rot can set in. Plants can rebound from root rot if the soil is allowed to dry out and the roots have not been seriously damaged.
Considerations - Lavender loves bright sun. Plants in partial shade or those that do not get enough sun often have stunted growth and weak immune systems, making them a prime target for disease. Keep your plants healthy by planting them in a sunny spot.
Fun Fact - Lavender makes a delicious tea. Try steeping one teaspoon of dried lavender in one cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.