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As I was shopping in a big grocery store yesterday, I found this sad little lavender pot (picture below) in the flower aisle, it is in an awful condition and the price was reduced to cents. So I immediately decided I wanted to save it and now I'm here looking for advice, since everything I read confused me even more. The tag says it's Lavandula angust. "Blue scent".

I read that lavender likes a lot of sun, but also on some threads they advised against putting it directly in the sun after buying it from a store where it was kept in the dark, but rather give it time to adapt at put it in the shadow at first. Since mine is in a really bad state and I got it from a super dark place in the store (that's probably why it's dying), should I put it in the sun, or adapt it gradually?

The soil it's planted in right now looks very, very wet and as I read, lavender doesn't like that. But I also know repotting can be quite stressful even for a healthy plant. So which is worse: keeping it in the ultra wet soil or risking repotting?

And, at last, maybe what I should've started with: is there hope at all? There's only one branch that looks healthy, all of the others are down and withering. Thanks in advance for any tips!

Dying lavender

Here's the plant just before repotting:

Before repotting

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Lavender can be tough plants, and since you don't have much money in this one, I think you can be aggressive in its treatment. You are correct that lavenders don't like wet feet, and I think you're also correct in that the over-drenched soil plus low light is causing the plant stress.

I recommend that you first cut off all of the dead leaves and stems and then repot the plant into a pot with drainage holes, using a decent potting mix that contains a lot of perlite. Do NOT put gravel or any other substance in the bottom of the pot: this causes a perched water table, which makes drainage worse not better (yes, this is counter-intuitive, but it's also science fact).

Water well, removing any water left in the saucer after thirty minutes, then follow a one-week hardening-off process:

Days 1 and 2: place the plant only in indirect light.

Day 3: Give the plant maybe an hour of direct sun (morning light is probably best if you're in a hot climate)

Day 4: Two hours in direct sun

Day 5: Three to four hours in direct sun

Day 6: Six hours in direct sun

Day 7 and ongoing: Direct sun as much as possible.

Water the pot when the pot is light when you pick it up. Depending on pot size, rain, sun, and temperature, this could be daily or every other day.

The hardening off process can be tricky if you're working away from home; in that case, you might try placing the plant in the shadow line of a building or taller plant so that it gets shaded as the sun moves behind the obstruction.

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  • Fascinating point about adding gravel to the bottom of the pot. I added a link to a supporting source.
    – csk
    Jun 4 at 15:38
  • I would be inclined to use the one "fairly normal looking" shoot as a softwood cutting. If the rest of the plant isn't already dead, it will grow again from the roots.
    – alephzero
    Jun 4 at 15:43
  • Wow, thank you so much! I'll follow your plan and hope for the best! I repotted the plant, no gravel at the bottom. Sadly, the last "fairly normal looking" part (as @alephzero said) withered as well, so I've missed the chance to take a cutting. I've cut out almost everything and hope that it will grow from the roots. Jun 7 at 11:22
  • I also edited the original post with a picture of the plant just before repotting it, the roots visible. After repotting there's almost nothing to see above the soil. Jun 7 at 11:39
  • The roots look to be healthy, so don't let the soil dry out completely and place in indirect but bright light, if possible. Give the plant a few weeks and it may reward you with new growth.-
    – Jurp
    Jun 7 at 12:24

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