The Q&A Archives: Leaves Fell Off My Lavender Topiary

Question: I purchased a lavender topiary plant last summer. I keep it indoors during the cold season and have found that all the leaves and sprouts fell off and now I am left with only brown branches. Can you please tell me when to water, how often, should I spray the limbs with water and feeding information. Is my plant dead?'

Answer: Lavender is native to the Mediterrean, so it prefers warm, dry conditions and thrives in a soil that isn't overly rich and organic. Moving indoors was probably a shock to its system since it prefers full sun! So, a plant's reaction is often to drop leaves when conditions change drastically. It's hard to know if your lavender is dead or not. You can try scratching a piece of its wood with your fingernail. If it shows green, there's still life. Even so, I wouldn't toss it out until spring to see if it sprouts new growth. If its root system is still viable, it may do so once conditions are to its liking. Then you can trim back the dead branches to where the new growth shows. It doesn't require fertilizer once established in the ground, but in a pot you may want to fertilize at the beginning of the growing season with an all-purpose fertilizer and dilute the strength by half. Don't fertilize yours now--wait until new growth shows. Also, be careful not to overwater--lavender is very fussy about its roots sitting in soil that is too wet. Allow soil to just barely dry out between waterings. Lavender prefers dry conditions so I wouldn't mist it. Try to keep it in a sunny or bright location and away from heating sources. I hope this info helps!

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