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How Often To Water Rosemary?

Rosemary thrives in a Mediterranean setting, typically on sandy and rocky inclines close to the ocean. The environment is marked by moderate humidity, yet the ground tends to release moisture quickly. The plant flourishes best in soil that drains efficiently, coupled with a moist atmosphere.

While rosemary favors somewhat dry soil, it’s essential to water it periodically, especially during dry spells. For indoor cultivation, allow the soil to become slightly dry before watering. A simple test is to insert a finger into the potting soil; if the soil sticks to your finger, delay watering for a day or two before rechecking.

How do I know when rosemary needs watering?

To determine if your rosemary plant needs watering, watch for these signs:

  • Dry Soil: The top inch of the soil should be dry to the touch. Just insert your finger into the soil. If it appears dry at a depth of about 2-3 inches, it is time to water.
  • Wilting Leaves: If the leaves begin to droop or wilt, this can be a sign that the plant needs water. However, be cautious, as wilting can also indicate overwatering or root problems.
  • Discoloration: Healthy rosemary leaves are a vibrant green. If they start to turn yellow or brown, especially at the tips, this could be a sign of dehydration.
  • Brittle or Dry Stems: If the stems feel brittle or look dry, it may be a sign that the plant is not receiving enough water.
  • Slow Growth or No New Growth: While rosemary is a slow-growing plant, a noticeable lack of new growth or stunted growth can be a sign of inadequate watering.

How much water does rosemary need?

Generally, a rosemary plant requires about one gallon of water per watering session, which helps to thoroughly moisten the soil in the root area for optimal water absorption by the plant.

However, for rosemary growing in a container, the required water quantity might be less, depending on the pot’s size. Regardless of the container size, it’s crucial to ensure that any excess water can freely escape through the pot’s drainage holes.

How to water rosemary?

  1. Ensure that the top 2 inches of the soil are dry before watering.
  2. Gradually water the soil around the root area with one gallon of water.
  3. Check that the soil is moist following the watering.
  4. Allow any surplus water to drain away effectively.

Watering newly planted rosemary

Following its transplantation, rosemary requires a tailored watering routine as it hasn’t fully established its root system, making it susceptible to transplant shock, regardless of changes in its growing environment.

In the initial weeks post-planting, regardless of the weather, ensure the soil doesn’t dry out beyond the top inch. This guideline is applicable to both rosemary planted in containers and in the garden.

After about a month, the plant should adapt to its new setting, allowing you to revert to the regular watering schedule.

To minimize stress on the rosemary during this transition, consider providing some shade for a few weeks. This can be done by placing a shading net over the plant or positioning it under a patio umbrella.

Overwatered rosemary

Overwatering rosemary is a common mistake that can lead to significant damage. Excessive water or too frequent watering can harm the plant.

The earliest indicator of overwatering in rosemary is yellowing leaves. If you observe this, promptly remove the plant from its pot to inspect the roots. If they appear gray-brown and are easily crushed between your fingers, it’s a sign of overwatering.


  1. Gently take the rosemary out of its current soil and trim off any decayed roots.
  2. Replant the rosemary in well-draining soil, which is crucial for preventing waterlog.
  3. Ensure that if the rosemary is in a pot, the container has adequate drainage holes.
  4. Water the plant only when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil have dried out.
  5. Provide the rosemary with some shade for a few weeks to help it recover from the stress of overwatering and repotting.


Underwatering is a common issue for potted rosemary, especially when the pot is located in a sunny spot. During hot weather, the soil in pots can dry out rapidly, potentially harming the plant.

The initial symptom of insufficient moisture is a change in the color of the leaves. They will appear pale rather than a vibrant green. Over time, the leaves may turn greenish-brown, eventually becoming yellow and dry.


  1. Thoroughly water the rosemary, using about one gallon of water to ensure the soil is evenly moistened.
  2. Give the water time to thoroughly saturate the soil.
  3. Provide temporary shade for the plant for a few days to help it recover from the stress of underwatering.
  4. Prune away any dry or dead leaves to encourage healthy growth.