The extraordinary and universally pleasant smell of lavender is produced by the plant’s leaves and beautiful flowers. Known for its soothing properties, lavender has been used for centuries by people across the world as a calming and healing fragrance.

However, Lavender plants can sometimes develop a bad smell. When this happens it can be highly disconcerting, and outright frustrating for the plant’s owner.

If you’ve noticed an uncharacteristic odor coming from your lavender plant, you are likely asking yourself,

Why Does My Lavender Smell Bad?

Your lavender may smell bad for a few different reasons: your plant is not getting enough sunlight, you are overwatering the soil, or the plant is not getting watered regularly.

Another potential reason why your lavender smells bad is the presence of a disease or infection.

To prevent your lavender from developing a disagreeably strong smell, make sure that you give it plenty of sunlight, water it regularly, and make sure the soil drains well.

Look for signs of disease or infection, and take the necessary measures to eliminate the problem, such as repotting, or using a fungicide or other specialized treatment until the plant has recovered fully.

Healthy lavender growing in a field

Your Lavender Should Smell Sweet & Floral

Lavender is known far and wide for having a sweet, floral aroma that can best be described as bright, cleansing, and relaxing. This is the reason lavender is commonly used as a fragrance in cleaning products, perfumes, candles, soaps, lotions, and lavender oil.

However, lavender plants can sometimes develop a bad smell. When this happens, and the plant develops a distinctly moldy or rotten smell like mildew, owners are left feeling frustrated and upset. Thankfully, the reasons why this happens in the first place are well-understood and easily remedied.

Under Watering

One of the most common reasons why lavender loses its normally pleasant smell and develops a bad odor is that the plant does not get enough water.

Lavender needs to be watered regularly to be able to absorb nutrients from the soil and transport them to its leaves and flowers. Water is also required for the production of essential oils which are responsible for the plant’s characteristic scent.

A lavender plant that is not watered regularly will dry up and lose important cellular structures, resulting in a diminished “lavender” aroma.

Over Watering

On the other hand, overwatering your lavender is a quick way to suffocate its roots, which can lead to rot setting in and a bad-smelling plant.

Lack Of Sunlight

Another common cause behind bad-smelling lavender is a lack of sun. Lavender plants originated in the sunny Mediterranean countries of Spain, Italy, and France. Therefore, lavender thrives when it receives regular sunlight and struggles when kept in the shade.

Make sure to give your lavender plants at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to avoid funky smells.

Lack Of Nutrients

If your lavender is not getting enough nutrients it becomes stressed, and stressed lavender plants can easily lose their pleasant aroma and develop bad smells. To ensure that your lavender plants get their quota of necessary nutrients, plant them in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Making sure to add fertilizer or plant food regularly.

These Miracle-Gro Plant Food Spikes (from Amazon) are a great, set-it-and-forget-it method to ensure your plants get their essential nutrients consistently.

More Causes Of Foul Lavender Scent

Sometimes pests, parasites, diseases, or fungi can be responsible for the weird smell coming from your lavender plants. In these cases, it is important to identify the offending organism and treat the lavender plant with the most appropriate pesticide or applicable treatment.

Finally, there are a few plants out there that can be easily confused with lavender due to their similarly shaped leaves and similarly colored blooms.

For example, Russian Sage, Hyssop, Catmint, and Rosemary are often mistaken for lavender. So, if your lavender doesn’t smell particularly lavender-like, make sure that you have a genuine lavender plant before attempting to tackle its bad smell.

Lavender used in essential oils

Keeping Your Lavender Smelling Fresh

Loved for its soothing, pleasant fragrance, lavender is frequently used in aromatherapy, in the manufacture of perfumes, soaps, lotions, lavender essential oil, candles, etc. It can even be used in baking and cooking, as well as to enhance a variety of beverages.

But if its characteristic rich fragrance and its relaxing aroma are spoiled by an unpleasant smell, you know why and what you can do to remedy it.

Last update on 2023-12-02 at 20:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API