Is Erysimum Dying? Can You Revive it?

So, you’ve noticed that your erysinum bowles mauve is dying, right?

There might be many causes of this, so in this article, I listed all of them so you can recognize it, and take action to revive your wallflower.

Why is Erysimum Bowles Mauve Dying?

Your erysimum might be dying because of many reasons. However, the most popular are natural life cycle, overwatering, fungus, or too much fertilization.

Erysinym bowles mauve tends to die pretty quickly, and after 4 years it finishes its life cycle. But it might be also dying because you water it too often. Fungus or too much nitrogen, might also be the cause.

There are more of them, so keep reading to find out why your erysimum is dying, and learn if you can do something about it.

Natural Life Cycle

Erysimum is often treated as a biennial plant or short-lived perennial. Thus, its lifespan is relatively short.

Wallflower flower continuously for many months, and as a result, it basically blooms to death after a couple of years.

Erysimum bowles mauve usually lives 3 or 4 years. In the first years, the plant looks good and tidy. However, at the end of its life cycle, erysimum becomes leggy and eventually dies.

Trimming tightly after flowering should prevent the plant from being leggy, but it will die anyway. Because wallflowers establish and grow quickly, it makes most sense to replace wallflowers that are past their prime.

Inadequate Watering

Erysimum bowles mauve has average needs when it comes to watering. The plant should be watered only when its soil dried completely.

If your wallflower is watered more than enough, it will develop root rot over time, and you’ll notice the stems start to wilt to droop. Some of the lower foliage may also turn brown.

Overwatering may not be caused by your watering habits, but by rainy periods in summer or poorly draining soil.

To revive your erysimum, keep the soil as dry as possible for several weeks before watering again. Or, aerate the soil around the plants and add sand and gravel to improve drainage.

If your erysimum bowles mauve has root rot, pull the plant from the soil and trim off the affected roots. Improve drainage in the area and replant, or move the plant to a more suitable space protected from excessive rain and compacted soil.


Erysimum is susceptible to many kinds of fungi. Usually, the fungus is the effect of high humidity, too much watering, and poor air circulation.

Downy Mildew

An infection of downy mildew includes a fuzzy, soft-looking growth that can be white, gray, brown, or purple. This growth is most commonly seen on the lower leaves of the plant. Other symptoms of downy mildew include mottling or spots on the leaves. The spotting will be yellow, light green, brown, black, or purple. Plants that are affected by downy mildew may be stunted or have leaf loss.

There is no chemical treatment for downy mildew. You can only control it to save your erysimum. Things like watering the plant from below, and removing dead plant material from your yard in the fall, will prevent the further spread of this disease.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is one of the most popular fungi. It occurs when air circulation is poor, plants are overcrowded and watered from above. It creates powdery white spots, mostly on the leaves, but also on flowers, and stems. The white spots are sometimes fluffy.

Later, there might be black spots appearing on the black spots. If powdery mildew isn’t treated soon enough, the leaves might become twisted, and get yellow.

If you suspect that the powdery mildew is the problem, there is a way to treat this disease. The most important thing is spraying the plant with neem oil (buy on Amazon here). To prevent the spread of disease, water your erysimum from below, provide good air circulation, and don’t overcrowd your plants.

Botytris Blight

Botytris blight usually occurs after an extended period of rain or drizzle in spring and summer. You may first notice it on dead and dying foliage and flowers.

Botrytis blight on plants is caused by a fungus that attacks tender parts of the plant in the presence of high humidity. Botrytis blight symptoms on plants include spotting, discoloration, and wilting. Buds often fail to open. It may look as though the flowers are old and fading.

To treat your wallflower, pick up and destroy the debris that falls to the ground under the plant. Then prune off and destroy infected parts of the plant. Destroy infected plant material by burning the debris.

Make sure the plant receives the proper amount of sunlight. Keep the foliage as dry as possible by applying water directly to the soil. Prune as necessary to allow good air circulation. Fungicides can help reduce the damage to valuable landscape plants.

Nutrient Excess

Erysimum doesn’t need fertilizing. It can thrive in nutrient-poor soil. However, if you fertilize this shrub, it might have some negative consequences.

If you fertilize this plant with nitrogen, it will cause the leaves to turn yellow. Growth may be spotty, and the plant may stop flowering altogether. This could also be the result of excessive nitrogen in the soil before planting.

If you’ve recently fertilized, stop fertilizing and the plant should return to normal over time.

If you haven’t added any fertilizers, transplant the lavender to an area with poorer soil. Alternatively, you can amend the soil with large amounts of river sand to decrease the concentration of nutrients.


The most common insects that attack erysimum are spider mites, aphids, and thrips.

Spider Mites

Spider mite damage will appear as small yellow or brown spots on the leaves of the plant. If the plant is badly infested, the plant’s health will suffer, it may develop completely yellow leaves and it may stop growing. Symptoms also include a telltale spider web-type webbing on the plant.

To get rid of spider mites, you can release natural predators like ladybugs, and apply neem oil.


Symptoms of aphids include yellowing and distorted leaves, stunted growth, and an unsightly black and sticky substance on the plant. In severe cases, the plant fails to thrive. As they feed, they secrete a sticky substance, called honeydew, which quickly becomes infested with black sooty mold. They also spread viruses, many of which are incurable.

Again, the best way to reduce aphids’ number is releasing ladybugs, and applying neem oil.


Thrips are little, slender insects with fringed wings that feed on other insects by puncturing them and sucking out their insides. Some of them also feed on the buds and leaves of a plant. This causes distorted parts of the plant or black specks, which is actually the feces from the thrips. Stippled leaves or blossoms that die before opening are also a sign that you may have thrips.

Prune and get rid of any injured areas on the plant to control thrips. Thrips on flowers can be eliminated as soon as you see signs of damage by using a mild insecticide like insecticidal soap or neem oil, or by pruning the flowers.

Other Diseases

These are less common, but also possible causes of dying erysimum, if you haven’t found the right cause yet.

Clubroot: The primary symptoms of clubroot include enlarged, deformed, club-shaped roots and stunted growth. Eventually, the swollen roots turn black and develop a rotten aroma. The best way to control its spread is to rotate crops, which means not planting cruciferous plants in the same area more than once every three or four years.

Rust Diseases: The disease can be characterized by a rust color on plant leaves and stems. The rust will start out as flecks and will eventually grow into bumps. Do not overwater your erysimum. Also, make sure your plants have good air circulation inside the branches and around the plant itself. If rust affects your plant, remove affected leaves at the first sign of rust color on plant leaves.

Bacterial Leaf Blight: Symptoms of bacterial leaf spot may include black-edged lesions, brown spots with yellow halos, or just light and dark areas on the foliage. You should remove the affected leaves at the first sign to prevent the bacteria from jumping onto adjacent leaves. Also, you can use a copper fungicide.

Caterpillars: Caterpillars show up in the yard around late summer and early fall. They chew leaves, stems, or roots of erysimum, leaving holes in them. Some caterpillars are tiny, some can be as big as 4 inches (10 cm) You can pluck the caterpillars off your plants and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. You can read more about it in this article. You can also buy natural predators like ladybugs. In many cases, caterpillars can be eaten by natural predators like parasitic flies, wasps or spiders. Avoid insecticides that might kill beneficial insects and pollinators