The Q&A Archives: Bonsai Rosemary

Question: We received a rosemary bonsai for Christmas. There were no directions about how to care for it. It is in a small container without drainage holes. I have watered it but the leaves look very dry. I also don't know what type of light it requires.

Answer: Unfortunately, rosemary can be a difficult houseplant. Ideally it should have bright light and cool indoor temperatures and good humidity. The soil needs to be kept moist but should also be well drained, meaning not sopping wet. If it is too warm or too dry, the plant will sulk or even die outright. It isn't usually a good idea to repot a stressed plant, but it really should be in a pot with drainage holes so that excess water can drain through the potting mix. I'm not sure if your plant is more of a traditional bonsai or a topiary, but you will need to trim it frequently to maintain the desired shape. It is better to trim a little bit often than a lot at one time. When trimming, keep in mind that each time you trim off a branch tip it will grow denser from that point. Wayward branches can be removed entirely. By observing the growth patterns from earlier cuts you will quickly see how to train it in the desired direction.

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