Fertilizing and Watering Rosemary

During the first year of growth, watering rosemary is very important. After the first year, the plant is pretty self sufficient and can tolerate drought fairly well.  A rosemary plant that grows for several years does well with a couple of doses of fertilizer per year.

Rosemary Seedling

Watering Rosemary

During the first crucial year of growth, it's best to keep the soil around your rosemary plant evenly moist. If you don't get any rain, water it once a week with a moderate soak and then let the soil dry out between watering sessions.

When watering your rosemary plant, be careful not to over-do it. Rosemary does not do well if it sits in soggy soil for long periods of time.  If possible, dig down a few inches into the soil next to the plant.  You want the dirt about 4 inches down to be moist, but not wet.  If it's soggy, let it dry out for a few days and check again.  If it's really dry, you need to water.  

After the first year of growth, the rosemary plant will take off and get much larger. At this point, watering often is not as important. Once the plant is established, it is fairly drought resistant. You can water the plant every couple of weeks as needed, or when you water your other container plants. If you are growing rosemary in the ground, most of the time watering is not necessary as the plant will do well with whatever rain falls in your area.

Large Rosemary Bush

Fertilizing Rosemary

Rosemary does well with a dose of fertilizer shortly after transplanting the seedlings.  You can use a balanced granular fertilizer product and scatter it in a circle around the plant.  Then water it in well.  Just be careful that the granules don't come in contact with the plant as they can burn it. This fertilizer application can be done once a year and is usually most practical for rosemary plants that are growing in the ground.  For rosemary plants that are growing in a container, we find it easiest to use a water-soluble fertilizer.  Again, choose something that is mostly balanced, with close to equal parts of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium.  Mix it according to the manufacturer's instructions and apply it a couple of times a year when you water the plant.

Now that you've learned about taking care of your rosemary plant, it's time to learn about harvesting those fragrant sprigs.

Rosemary Stem

Click here to learn about harvesting rosemary

Click here for some of our favorite rosemary recipes

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