Monek Marie
Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited January 2021 in Growing Medicinals

In a few weeks I will start Rosemary seeds.

But until then I bought a Rosemary plant. I usually have a talent for killing them in no time flat.

Does anyone have suggestions for how to care for this plant? I know I have to repot it. It's in one of those pressed pots and I never have success with plants in those containers.


  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    For sure mist your rosemary plant often. It doesn't like soggy soil at all, but it does like frequent misting of its leaves. Rosemary doesn't overwinter for me outside, so I try to keep a pot going on the windowsill through the winter. It will forgive me forgetting to water it for a while and carry on. But as soon as I get lazy or forgetful about the daily misting it starts curling up and then shedding its leaves.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe I knew it did not like soggy soil. (I killed my first seedlings from overwatering)

    I believe Rosemary is more of a desert type plant? Definitely a warmer climate than I am. I am surprised though, one of my friends neary managed to have one overwinter. Must have been a miracle plant!

    I use rosemary in a herbal tea in the morning so wanted fresh leaves if I could.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    Back in the mid-'70's I lived in southern Oregon, in the Rogue River Valley, which has its own micro-climate and the winters are much milder there than in the surrounding region. Several older homes around me had massive rosemary bushes in their yards that turned into great waves of blue flowers when the plant bloomed--I've been jealous of those rosemary bushes ever since! Here in Missouri I have never been able to keep one alive outside through the winter.

    I've had slightly better luck indoors over the years, but four years is the longest I've ever been able to keep one alive, Frequent misting seems to be the key. Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant, so you'd think it would like hot, dry conditions, but it surely doesn't seem to like dry indoor winter air. What limited success I've had seems to depend on conservative watering of the soil combined with frequent and generous misting of the leaves.

    Right now I'm trying a simple humidifier with my current rosemary plant. It's a porous, hollow clay ball, three-and-a-half inches diameter, that sits in a dish of water, and I have it right beside the pot of rosemary. That seems to be helping a bit, but I still have to mist every couple days at least, or the leaves star curling up.

    I like fresh rosemary for cooking and teas too. My current plant is on its second winter, and so far so good, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and the spray bottle handy!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think the problem I had after reading your comments @MaryRowe was not misting! I would see the leaves wilt and water and water... then plan a funeral.

    I'll figure out a higher humidity area and get out the mister

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I bought my house with an existing trailing rosemary plant located between two garage doors with western desert sun exposure. It is currently in bloom even though we have had overnight temperatures in the mid 20s. It has a sprinkler head, gets lots of sun and no misting. This is a very large, healthy plant.

    I would use it in food, except that it is exposed to auto exhaust. On the other hand, I have a small rosemary volunteer coming up elsewhere in my desert landscaping. The volunteer should be far enough from the street that I could harvest it, plus should cover some open dirt nicely. I am keeping my eye on it.😏

    I will probably start seed for an in-house version too.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl what's your soil like? I'm wondering how picky rosemary is about soil. I have tried planting it outside here a couple times in sheltered spots, and while it survived and grew through the summer months, and even survived a frost or two before it gave up the ghost, it never really thrives here. I'll never forget those massive bushes in southern Oregon, and I wonder if there is some particular soil component{s} that rosemary needs to be happy.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    I concur with @MaryRowe about the misting. I have killed a number of rosemary plants bringing them in for the winter. Despite our winter snows, we live in a dry climate and I have wood heat so it is very dry in my house. I tried to keep them watered cause they just seemed to dry up and die within a month or so of coming inside. I couldn't understand why because they are Mediterranean. But it is the misting. They can stand a drier soil but not dry air. Which makes sense. Rosmarinus. Dew of the Sea.

    It survives the winter outside in the south coast of BC and the biggest ones I have seen are very close to the ocean. So pretty constant humidity.

    I am not good with house plants and they don't get the mistings that they should so I still don't have much success even though I figured out what the problem was.

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 968 ✭✭✭✭

    I have never tried to grow it indoors. I usually just plant it outside in the spring and it grows until late fall. It doesn't seem to require much that way but occassional watering. I love the smell of Rosemary!

  • Momma Mo
    Momma Mo Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    In our area, I have found that overwatering kills it faster than anything! I have never misted it. It grows in my herb garden outside. We freeze, but not all the time. We are zone 8.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is great! Maybe I'll be able to keep my rosemary alive for more than two years. Thanks for all the good information.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks, maybe my Rosemary has a chance yet!

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe I'm pretty sure the previous owners did nothing to amend the soil in that planting area.The native soil here is primarily dissolved red sandstone.

    Based on comments above, it looks like rosemary prefers full sun, fast draining soil and misting, especially if indoors.

    I plan to mist future indoor rosemary.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl Yes, it seems like rosemary will tolerate poor soil, but fast-draining is the key. It hates soggy roots even more than it hates dry leaves. I have a hard time growing rosemary and lavender both outside, and I think the heavy clay soil here is the problem.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    We bought a rosemary plant a few years back, I believe at the farmers market. Planted it out in the garden. That garden has been somewhat neglected for a couple of years. The rosemary keeps on keeping on. It even gets trampled and the deer love (for some unknown reason) to lie down on it. It has had a pretty hard life, but it is still there.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can't grow most plants indoors b/c I either kill them or my cat eats them! I have rosemary growing outside and it grows all year round. I have to keep it in check b/c it can become invasive. I live in Georgia. It's gets cold here in the winter and rarely snows. If we do have a few flakes people go nuts. Just to say it's not warm here in the winter. Maybe grow yours in a pot on your patio or front porch if you can.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe The misting is doing the trick. Thank you!

    I still need to repot it and I place it on a tray with pebbles to help retain humidity around the plant but it is looking good!

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I tried rosemary for the first time last spring. It did ok, but was not very vigorous or large for sure. Maybe needed more humidity than we have. Just planted it in my herb bed outside. Zone 3b Don't think it would ever survive a winter here (-30 or so) but will definitely try again this year and add a way to keep the leaves a bit moister.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant Great! Good luck and long life to your rosemary. I think the tray with pebbles is a good idea. I used to do that, but had to find another option when I adopted three kittens--they love stealing the pebbles, even if it means getting their paws wet...

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    For some reason I had not thought of this before, but because rosemary is technically a shrub...did you know that you could root cuttings?

    Invasive? I can't imagine! That was interesting!

    ...and of course misting would be the solution to a healthy Rosemary plant. I didn't know this before...and it's so simple! I will have to try one again.

    I had an indoor rosemary plant die last winter. Anyway, I was disappointed because it almost made it through its second winter. Which reminds me that the winter where it did barely make it through, it was very humid throughout the winter, which is very unusual here. I could certainly notice the drop in indoor/outdoor humidity though. My plants were extra thirsty it seemed & didn't look as fantastic as they had in those humid years.

  • DurwardPless
    DurwardPless Posts: 162 ✭✭✭

    Thank you all for the great information.