Watering Rosemary For Rosemary Plant Care

watered rosemary
Image by JudiParkinson

By Heather Rhoades

Rosemary is a popular culinary herb in the home garden. It can be planted either in the ground or in containers. But, depending on how you grow this herb, how you water your rosemary plant differs.

How to Water a Rosemary Plant in the Ground

Rosemary is a plant that is easy to grow in the ground, mostly because it rather drought tolerant. A newly planted rosemary plant needs to be watered frequently for the first week or two to help it become established, but after it has been established, it needs little in the way of watering other than rainfall. Rosemary is drought tolerant and can go quite some time without being watered when planted in the ground.

In fact, often what will kill a rosemary plant that is growing in the ground is too much water. Rosemary is very sensitive to drainage. It does not like to grow in soil that does not drain well and can succumb to root rot if left in soil that stays too wet. Because of this, you should make sure to plant your rosemary in well draining soil and after it is established, only water in times of severe drought.

Watering Rosemary Plants in Containers

While rosemary grown in the ground needs little water from the gardener, rosemary grown in containers is another matter. A rosemary plant in a container does not have the chance to grow the extensive root system to seek out water like the plants in the ground do. Because of this, they are far less drought tolerant and need to be watered frequently. But, like a ground planted rosemary, those grown in containers are also sensitive to drainage.

With container grown rosemary, water the plant when the soil is just dry to the touch on the top. It is very important that you do not let the soil dry out completely as rosemary plants do not have any signals like droopy leaves or wilted stems to let you know that they are dangerously low on water.  They can actually die before you realize there was ever a problem. Therefore, to avoid this, always keep the soil of your potted rosemary at least a little moist.

On the flip side, make sure that the pot you plant your rosemary in has excellent drainage. If the soil becomes too wet, the plant can easily develop root rot and die.

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