Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that needs very little water. This drought-resistant plant requires only 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water every 7 to 14 days. It is particularly important to pay attention to rainfall because natural rain is often enough to keep your rosemary plant healthy. If you’re growing rosemary indoors, give the plants a good soak every 7 days. Make sure the pots drain well and let the soil completely dry out before watering again. This is also true when growing rosemary outdoors. If the ground still feels moist, don’t provide any more water. Watering when the ground is still moist can cause root rot, which kills rosemary quickly.
How Much Water Does Rosemary Need Per Day?
Don’t water rosemary daily. If you do, you’ll probably end up killing your plant via root rot! Rosemary thrives best in habitats that allow complete drying of the soil in between waterings. Therefore, if you water this herb daily, the soil will essentially never dry out. This can quickly lead to the plant’s demise.
- Rosemary doesn’t need daily watering
- Watering rosemary every day causes constantly moist soil.
- If the surrounding soil never dries out, rosemary will be killed by root rot.
- Rosemary only needs water once every 1–2 weeks.
Because the tiny needles on rosemary plants often have a rough, dry appearance, many people make the mistake of overwatering them to moisten them. This is not necessary, though, so make sure you stick to an every 7–14 day watering schedule. When your plant thrives, make sure to follow our guide to safely harvest your rosemary for cooking.
How Do You Water Rosemary?
When first planted, water rosemary frequently until the roots are established. After this, make sure you only give it water when the soil is dry. Water potted rosemary weekly but make sure the containers drain well. Rosemary grown in pots will not develop the same extensive root system as outdoor rosemary. This means that root rot may take hold even quicker, making it vital to ensure containers drain appropriately.
- Newly planted rosemary can be watered frequently until the root system has fully developed.
- Water potted rosemary once a week and outdoor rosemary every 7–14 days.
- Water rosemary until the ground is moist to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm).
- Rosemary needs water when the top 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of soil are dry.
- Don’t water rosemary during winter.
For rosemary grown outdoors, watering every 7–14 days is usually sufficient. Don’t soak the ground to a depth of more than 6 inches (15 cm). After watering—or rainfall has occurred—don’t water your rosemary until the top 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of soil has dried out again. Although watering from the top won’t damage it, it’s best to water rosemary at the base. Don’t water rosemary during the winter months. Extra moisture during this time will cause root rot.
Does Rosemary Like Wet or Dry Soil?
Rosemary prefers dry, well-draining soil. Sandy, loamy or rocky soil are all conditions where rosemary will thrive. Although rosemary does need moisture, it needs much less than many other plants. Because rosemary is a Mediterranean herb, it is drought tolerant and is used to going long periods of time without water. If it rains approximately every 10 days where you live, the soil condition will be ideal for your rosemary plant.
- Rosemary prefers dry soil that drains well.
- Rosemary should only be planted in containers that offer good drainage.
- Rosemary is likely to die if the soil is too wet.
If you’re growing rosemary in pots, it is important to choose containers that drain well, since root rot is always a major concern with rosemary. The same is true for rosemary grown outdoors—make sure the soil drains well. If your rosemary is trying to grow in wet ground, it usually leads to root rot and the plant’s demise.
Can You Overwater Rosemary?
It is definitely possible to overwater rosemary. This is not an herb that prefers a lot of moisture, and it is more susceptible to root rot than many other plants. It is also difficult to nurse rosemary back to health after it has been given excess water. So, it’s best to give it a little water and gradually increase watering. This will cause your plant less harm than providing too much water.
- Rosemary can be overwatered.
- Root rot will quickly set in if conditions are too moist.
- Overwatered rosemary is susceptible to fungal diseases.
Sometimes, a rosemary plant can’t be saved, depending on how long it is left in soggy soil. Rosemary may also develop fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, if excess water is present. In many instances, root rot will occur before there are overt signs of overwatering. This is why you should err on the side of caution and provide less water if you are in doubt.
How Do You Know If Rosemary Needs Water?
Testing the soil is the only foolproof way to determine if rosemary needs water. This is because signs of overwatering can look very much like signs that the plant is in need of water. Leaves may look dry and yellow, which may tempt you to provide water. However, these are usually signs of too much moisture. If the top 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of soil are dry when you poke your finger into the earth, your plant needs water.
- Poke your finger into the soil—if the top 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) feel dry, your rosemary needs water.
- Dry, yellow leaves do not indicate water is needed.
- Wilting rosemary may need water.
- Follow the 7–14 day rule and keep an eye on rainfall to avoid overwatering
If rosemary is deprived of water for long periods of time, it is more likely to wilt than to develop discoloration. Excessive heat from too much sun can also cause problems for rosemary. This is why watering is somewhat of an art form with this plant. For the best results, feel the soil. In addition, watch the forecast for incoming rainfall to determine whether or not to water your rosemary. If rain is coming in the next few days, it’s better to wait and let mother nature water your plants. This will help prevent overwatering.
Does Rosemary Require Lots of Water?
Because rosemary is from the Mediterranean region, it does not need a lot of water. To properly water your rosemary:
- Water outdoor rosemary once every 7–14 days.
- A potted rosemary plant should be watered weekly.
- Moisten the soil to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm) every time you water your rosemary.
- Provide more water when the top 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of soil are dry.
- Overwatering can lead to root rot and the death of your plant.
- Yellow or dry-looking leaves are usually a sign of too much water, not a sign your rosemary needs more water.
- Allow rainfall to water outdoor rosemary when possible.
This culinary herb thrives in dry regions with infrequent rainfall. If you live in a humid, rainy area, it’s best to plant rosemary in a well-drained pot and grow it indoors. Whichever path you choose, you can grow excellent rosemary by using the right watering techniques.