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Rosemary bush

My daughter gave me a large rosemary plant which had previously been growing in her garden border.  She had transplanted it into a large pot, and as it seemed happy in the pot I have left it there. 
It has been doing well for months but now the needles are turning yellow.   Can someone advise me what might be the cause and how I can stop this happening please?

if I need to plant it out in a border what sort of conditions would it need.


  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,329
    Rosemary grows best in poor, gritty soil that is well-drained, mimicking it’s native Mediterranean habitat. It will be unhappy with too much rich soil and water.

    I find they are not the longest-lived plants even in the right conditions, they tend to go woody and scruffy with age with random bits dying off. I have a three-year old large bush (unpruned, in a border) and about a third of the plant has died. I will chop off the dead bit but probably look at replacing it soon. I also have a short rosemary hedge, that I chopped back while the stems were still young and flexible and that has kept looking good for much longer.

    If your daughter’s plant was already a few years old, the yellowing could just be part of the natural dying back process...
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,911
    They are generally big plants, so it's not ideal to grow in a pot unless it's a really large one. As Nollie says, it wants dry, stoney soil in a warm sheltered spot to plant it out. If you don't have that, or even if you do, perhaps, take some cuttings from the one you have to grow on in the pot next year and do that every 3 or 4 years, so you have a smaller young plant and discard it as it gets old, big and woody.
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Thanks for your advice.  I think it may be too large for the pot, and also it is quite old.  I'm not sure if I have the right soil conditions in my garden but will certainly take cuttings.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    There are many types of Rosemary plants, but 'big' plants are unlikely to thrive in pots for long. There are trailing and smaller types of rosemary plants that could be grown in pots, and they can last for years. My ones do go yellow here and there but they soon regenerate and new bits grow back, it is also very slow growing and hardly put on much growth.

    You can always prune out bits and they should recover. As mentioned by others, soil needs to be free draining, a loam-based soil mixed with grit and keep watering to the minimum. It's better to drench them once in a while but avoid small amounts daily. They need moisture further down but not sitting around its base.
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