Can this rosemary plant be saved?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Our rosemary plant is dying. It grew wonderfully last year -- and the year before -- but a few weeks ago, it started turning brown on us. We didn't treat it any differently than in previous years, so what could have gone wrong?

When we saw it was beginning to dry up, we added more water and fertilizer. Even with all the rain we've had over the past few weeks, though, there has been no improvement. It has just gotten worse.

I am wondering if there's a way to save the small part in the front that's still green. Any ideas or advice? Can an ailing rosemary plant be rescued?

9 Comments:

Blogger snappy said...

it looks like mine.I guess you could dig it up and split the dead wood from the alive plant.Mind you mine died after i tried that.There are three sections still growing, smaller plants from the large woody one.I wanted some for Tasha's garden.Have you tried softwood cuttings to renew it?I think rosemary gets leggy over years and people just replace the plant or take cuttings.Sorry my advise is all over...

7:44 PM  
Blogger ilva said...

Never seen that happen over here. I used to have an enormous one that sometimes let some branches die off but nothing more. I suppose that you now that it prefers sandy soil and that it isn't that hardy if you have had a rigid winter. Must be some fungus attack. Don't think I'm much help to you. sorry.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Carolie said...

The only time I saw that happen with one of Mom's, she dug it up, cut off all the bad stuff, and replanted it elsewhere, with a little sand mixed into rich soil. It came back from the near-dead...

Good luck!

2:24 AM  
Anonymous ehlikeyif said...

good drainage is important for rosemary.. .. this is a meditarenean mountain plant.. maybe too much watering caused this..
I have many of them.. always doing fine.
what I suggest..is to cut off all the dead brances.. it is ok with pruning.. and move it if your soil is heavy.. but before that you must take some cutting from the healty brances.. strip off the lower leaves tip in rooting powder.. if you don't have don't mind.. it will still be ok .. and plant it in a pot ..don't over water.. at least you will have new plants..for next year.. they root very easy.. 9/10 are succeeded.. and that's just the right time to do it..
you know the saying.. where rosemary grows..women rules..you have to save it =))

5:13 AM  
Blogger trey said...

Could it have been gophers or moles? Gophers eat roots while moles make passageways that redirect water away from the plant. I would pull it out and check the roots. They could be rotted from the rain you received.

9:45 AM  
Blogger ElizabethGardens... said...

I know how disappointing it can be to lose a favorite rosemary. We are in New England and my mother-n-law had a huge 5foot+ rosemary she kept inside in a huge pot. They moved and the change in water at the new place killed it. I think everyone was a little disappointed, we all enjoyed brushing up against it inside. I wish I had some advice for you, but all I can do is wish you luck!

12:00 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Thank you, everyone, for your advice. It could be that we have poor drainage. We'll try cutting away the dead part and moving the rest to a new area or pot. We have not had any success in the past with cuttings, but we can try again. It would be sad to lose the entire plant, after it's been growing so well for the past couple of years. I hope we can help it make a comeback.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous James Steele said...

You mentioned having had a lot of rain. That is the start of the problem. Once the Rosemary starts going brown and loosing leaves, watering and fertilizing compound the problem because Rosemary needs all the leaves it has to get rid of soil moisture through transpiration. The loss of leaves is caused by root rot due to too much water...hence the ability to absorb fertilzer is greatly inhibited, leaving the soil with a high concentration of soluble salts, killing more roots! The plant needs to dry out, remove excess fertilizer and just "tip" the main shoots slightly. You should see new growth in a week or two if it is going to survive.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

James,
Thank you! This is so helpful...to understand what is really going on with the plant. When you say "just 'tip' the main shoots slightly", what does that mean exactly? Should I move the plant to a drier place and just plant it more shallowly?

9:43 PM  

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