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I am trying to grow a lavender plant on the windowsill of my apartment in Brooklyn. I got this more succulent lavender after some more delicate french lavender had died on the same sill. This plant has lasted longer, but some of the leaves have gone silver and wizened.

I am trying to water it quite infrequently, as I believe the last lavenders died from overwatering. We've oscillated between very hot dry weather and cooler damp weather in Brooklyn over the past month.

I have three questions about it:

  • What is causing the leaf damage?
  • How can I mitigate it?
  • Should I remove the wizened leaves? (By cutting them off at the stalk, I assume?)

most withering at the bottom of the plant wizened leaves curl back in on themselves some leaves are only partially wizened

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    Erm, how sure are you this is lavender, because it certainly doesn't look like lavender of any description that I know of. It reminds of something, but I can't think what - does it have the typical lavender smell, or does it smell quite different (I'm thinking another herb of some description) – Bamboo Aug 4 '13 at 19:28
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    I agree, Bamboo. It looks like Russian Sage to me. I think your first step should be to move it to a larger container with good drainage. It is quite a large plant with large roots, and I'm guessing yours is getting a little crowded. – michelle Aug 5 '13 at 19:44
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    It certainly may not be lavender. It does smell a bit like lavender, but like you say it looks very different. The man I bought it from at the market was very distracted when I asked so he may not have given me the correct info. I'll try a larger pot. – Dave Cameron Aug 13 '13 at 22:54
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First of all, this is definitely not a lavender, but the related Russian Sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia secondly, this is a cold-hardy perennial plant, not suitable for growing indoors. The growing points on your plant are extremely etiolated, and the plant is showing signs of overwatering. Plant it in the ground as quickly as possible, in a sunny patch of rich garden soil.

These are supposed to be large plants, and if you keep it in a pot, especially a tiny one like that, You'll have no end of health issues. You don't need to chop off the leaves, if you plant it outside.

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I am agronomist working as nursery manager and I have experienced similar problems with lavenders with lower leaves turning necrotic. This picture indicates that there can be overwatering but can be Botrytis spp that is a fungus attacking most of plants in cold wet conditions. It can also be other internal fungus. I would first get that dry and potted in a bigger pot and I would apply some fungicide against botrytis. If it doesn't recover we are having a bigger problem with phytoptora or rhizoctonia that are both fungus attacking from roots

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This is a lavender known as LAVANDULA X GINGINSII - Goodwin Creek Grey Lavender. Wanted to clarify that it is not Russian sage from a previous answer.

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  • The OP already knows that it's a lavender. The question is about what is causing the leaf damage, how to mitigate it, and if the damaged leaves should be removed. – Niall C. Jun 14 '16 at 14:58
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    Right. I was clarifying that it is in fact a lavender. – Chelsea Jun 14 '16 at 15:01
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    Please take the five-minute tour for an overview of how this site works and see How to Answer for what we expect in an answer, then re-read my earlier comment. The OP is asking how to care for the plant, not what the plant is. – Niall C. Jun 14 '16 at 15:15
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    I think point of this "answer" was to clarify that the plant is truly a Lavedula and not Perovskia which might have an impact on the correctness of the answer in regards to culture. I wholeheartedly agree that this truly is a Lavender and deeming the accepted answer as correct (for reason of the care instructions) is not enough and should be amended to remove any identification (or misidentification). – Brenn Jun 14 '16 at 15:20
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    @Brenn I had found Niall's comment confusing, as it stated that the OP knows that it's a lavender, when the accepted answer stated otherwise. I think you did a nice job of helping explain the purpose of this answer, so thanks! Chelsea, being new here isn't easy, so don't worry if your answer isn't perfect, or doesn't have all the information. People here will help and you'll learn as you go. We appreciate you and look forward to getting to know you better! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jun 14 '16 at 22:34
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If anybody was wondering, it was a lavendar, and the problem was a fungus. I had the same issue and fixed it by creating airflow for the plant (using small computer fans), then ultimately potted the thing in a bigger pot outside. Great plant!

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  • Thanks! I have since had other lavender fail in a similar way and never considered airflow as a possible remedy. – Dave Cameron Mar 13 '19 at 14:15

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