My precious lavender!

raistlynNovember 17, 2012

Hi everyone! I've brought in my fern leaf lavender for the winter as it doesnt take the cold well. It's been indoors for about 3 weeks. At first it seemed to be adjusting well and its still blooming away. This week ive opened the window at night to let in some air for better circulation and so it doesnt get too warm indoors, but it is now withering! All the buds are flopping to one side and the leaves are soft and wilty!

Does anyone know why? Is it the because its now indoors (it spent last winter indoors too but it was only smaller plant then with no blooms), the cold air from outside, or what?? I water it once a week. Outdoors it would receive more water of course because of the rain.

Any help much appreciated. Im quite fond of this particular plant as i grew it from seeds unlike my other lavenders that i just bought from stores.THANKS

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

google says.. under your common name.. hardy to z5.. do you have a latin name to prove its not winter hardy???

why in the world is it in the house????

you say you water it once a week.. ??? you should water it when it needs water .... perhaps once a week is too much.. or too little.. who knows ...

did you dig it up and pot it?? .. transplant shock ...

is that small plant from last spring.. still in a small pot?? ... root bound ...

did you take it from full sun.. into a house which is probably the equivalent of full shade...

is it a south window ... is it sunburned ???

how cold did it get when you opened the window???

how cold did soggy roots get.. when you opened the window????

my point.. you really havent given us any information upon which to hazard a guess ... nor a picture. ...

but my gut tells me.. that you are trying to love it to death.. its not really a house plant ... and though you may have gotten lucky last winter.. you might be pushing the envelop ....

there have a been a few lavender posts .. about what they need in the ground ... you might want to try the GW search function.. or look down a page or two ... in fact.. for some reason.. there is one on the shrub forum right now ...

more facts please ...


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 6:43PM
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mistascott(7A VA)

Several species are called "Fern Leaf Lavender" including Lavandula multifida, Lavandula pinnata, and Lavandula minutoli. They are all tender species, only hardy to zone 9 (maybe 8 if you are lucky). Hard to say without seeing it what is going on with your plant. I have never grown lavender indoors, but I do know that they need full sun at all times, including the winter so I don't know how well they could be expected to do indoors without supplemental light.

One option is to bury the pot in the ground and bring it in during only the coldest part of the winter (when lows get into the low 20s or below).

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:29PM
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I'd be surprised if your lavender isn't plenty hardy for you in zone 7. I've overwintered potted lavender (which is borderline hardy for me) by tipping the pot onto its side outdoors so that rain can't get into the pot to create the cold wet soil conditions that lavender can't tolerate.

Has it been in the same pot for two years? If so, potting soil breaks down and looses some of its ability to drain and isn't as well aerated over time, so that would be difficult for the lavender which likes it on the dry side and needs excellent drainage.

I wouldn't water it on a regular schedule, but rather stick your finger into the pot and see if the soil is dry & then water.

It probably should be in a cooler place than it is. Right now you are alternating cold nights and warm days, and unless your house is way cooler than normal, it probably isn't getting enough light to match the daytime temperatures.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I cross-posted with Mistacott and assume that s/he knows more about the relevent hardiness.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Thanks Mistacottt and nhbabs. My lavender is indeed a multifada, so i could take a chance and leave it outside, tipping it on its side, or hope that it acclimatises to being indoors. It is in a pot because my garden has no soil but gravel instead so i grow most things in pots, unfortunately. Its always been in pots- last autumn i transplanted it from a small one to a larger one (terracotta) that it is in now, so the soil is a year old at most.

I highly doubt the problem is being potbound, more rather an issue with humidity and temperature. My house has huge french windows rather than walls so it does get a lot of light even if not always direct sunlight. Its somewhat like a warmed conservatory. The temperature inside is about 22 degrees, maybe 21. But there isnt much difference between night and day in winter.

The flowers have all bent over, a bit like cut flowers that you leave in a vase for a few days. The leaves are curling up and soft instead of firm like before. I will feel the soil and water if needed today, wait a few more days and then see if it improves. If it doesnt, i will bring it back out and try to fit it with in my coldframe.... Does that make sense? I am in switzerland and although the winters arent the worst, we get very strong chilling winds that sometimes bring the temps down to -20! I hope he makes it! Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 1:45PM
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mistascott(7A VA)

I did not know you were not in the U.S. (sorry!) so my temps were in Fahrenheit degrees.

I know lavender doesn't need a ton of humidity (like tropicals do) as its native Mediterranean climate's air is relatively dry. Lavender gets most of its moisture in winter in the Mediterranean, so as long as your soil is sharply drained, I would water fairly often (at least once, maybe twice a week) indoors. I also don't think your plant is potbound as lavender tend to enjoy being somewhat cramped in a pot.

All plants that are moved inside from outside tend to go through a shock period where the plant appears to be suffering but really all it is doing is getting adjusted to the new conditions inside. Hopefully, that is all you are experiencing. Please keep us updated.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:21AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I have overwintered lavender under lights in my basement, keeping the soil just damp. It did well and was planted in a large pot the next spring.

Occasionally I water all my plants by dunking in a large pail to be sure they are completely watered and to remove any salts that have accumulated.

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Thanks everyone! Good news! I watered the little fella on Sunday evening and the next morning it had visibly perked up! The flowers are now just tilted instead of bent over, and the leaves have uncurled - yay! i dont think its very happy in general, but i think he might just make it through winter after all. And its still flowering! Now i know - doesnt mean its a lavender that it likes being all dry... lesson learnt! Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Hi Raistlyn
When I transplant or bring a plant in to over-winter
I cut off all the blooms. They seem to recover faster.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 11:05AM
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