Help, My Rosemary Plant Is Dying. - Knowledgebase Question

Pittsburgh, PA
Avatar for rkravasio
Question by rkravasio
December 4, 2000
Hello. Since my dad's very unexpected death in June, I have been doing my best to care for his beloved plants. Among them is a potted rosemary plant that is about two feet high. I live in Pennsylvania, and due to the colder weather, we moved the rosemary plant inside to the basement where my dad kept his indoor potted plants. In the last week or so, I've noticed the rosemary plant has started to turn brown. I water it about once a week. There are four windows (about 2 ft. x 3 ft placed high up on the walls) in the basement and the rosemary sits on the floor below the counters where the potted plants sit under flourescent lights that still come on thanks to the timer my father had set before his untimely death. The temperature is around 60 degrees down there, it never gets too warm or cold. So what's the deal? Am I doing something wrong? I put some plant food spikes in it on Sunday, and I don't see much of a difference, and I am afraid to overwater it. Any help would be appreciated. Watching one of my Dad's plants die is like watching another part of him die, so I want to save this precious plant. Any helpful advice would be welcome. Thanks.

Answer from NGA
December 4, 2000
Unfortunately, rosemaries can be very touchy to overwinter. Generally they need a cool (60 should be fine), bright location with ample humidity and yet good air circulation and the soil should be kept slightly damp but not overly wet and never bone dry. Fertilizing would not be needed in winter since the plant's growth normally slows, so you might pull the fertilizer spikes for the time being. The foliage loss could be due to lack of humidity or being in a drafty location, or could be due to overwatering, or could be due to a pest or fungal problem. Look carefully for signs of spider mites (these leave webbing and may cause the leaves to show a pale stippled pattern) and also mildew or fungus (a powdery substance). The mites can be treated with insecticidal soap, and the mildew with a fungicide labeled for that problem on rosemary. Be sure to read and follow the label instructions. Good luck with the plants!

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