I have an Olive tree that I keep indoors and potted (lots of sunlight in room and let it breath outdoors occasionally), I went away for a few weeks and the leaves on the bottom few branches have completely dried out. I want to bring these lower branches back to life, because if I cut off the branches completely I'm worried it will look too top heavy. Is there a way to trim these lower branches to promote growth without completely removing them? Thanks!enter image description here

  • Do you keep this indoors because its too cold outside where you are, or because you just want it indoors as a houseplant? what part of the world are you in? The tree looks etiolated and probably needs hard pruning, and definitely a lot more light (or preferably, being outdoors)...but depends where you are.....
    – Bamboo
    Jan 7, 2020 at 12:45

2 Answers 2


Hello Nicole & Welcome,

It looks like there is one branch on the right side of the picture and two or three on the left. Other than that the tree appears to be in very good health. If you are lucky those branches will drop the dried brown leaves and push out new leaves. If they don't it's okay. It will not be too top heavy.

You can test to see if these branches are still alive. Scratch the bark off the surface in a small spot near the ends of the branches. If below the bark is green the limb is still alive. If it is brown, then scratch off another spot closer to the main trunk, check again. Slowly work your way toward the main trunk. Once you reach a spot that is still green you can prune the tree at that spot. Its best you first do a test scratch on a limb that you know is alive so you know what you are looking for.


Get the lower branches (and trunk) more sun. The branches could eventually growth up again (with new leaves) or just new branches could come out from trunk.

Maybe a pruning on some top branches will get a better balance.

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