Q & A
Q. The leaves on my rosemary are turning brown and drying out even though I watered it regularly. What is wrong?
A. The short answer is that the plant has been over watered and the roots have rotted. During the short,
often sunless days of late fall thru early spring, plants in general just do not require the same amount
of water as they did in the summer. Watering your herbs by a set schedule is the surest way to kill them.
Read the section on growing rosemary
in containers for more information.
Q. When should I bring my potted rosemary in for the winter?
A. To avoid double shocking your plant, it should be brought in when the outside temperature is beginning to approach
the temperature inside your house. This is not the time to repot into a larger pot. A plant with well-developed roots
will be better able to get rid of excess water. (See above)
Q. Shortly after I brought my rosemary indoors it began to turn white. What is going on?
A. What you see is powdery mildew. Although it is natural and may fit the holiday season, powdery mildew left
untreated may eventually kill your entire plant. Detected early, powdery mildew can be effectively controlled by
spraying the entire plant with a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of water.
A second application the following day may be necessary. If the problem still persists, you may need to use garden
sulfur or all season horticultural oil, both available for sale at the greenhouse.
Q. How often do I water?
A. As often as the plant needs it! A rough guide during the growing season is plants in the ground need approximately
1 inch of water a week if there's no rain; containerized plants will need to be checked daily and probably watered daily
as well. If you bring plants in for the winter, prepare to drastically reduce the amount of watering, perhaps to as
little as once a week. The smaller the pot, the more often it will need checking for moisture; larger pots may not need
watering for a few weeks!
Q. When and how do I harvest my herbs?
A. When they have enough growth to regrow healthily after a harvest, usually when they're much smaller than you
think! Grassy herbs such as chives can be first harvested when they're about 6 inches tall. For others it is also helpful to make a
harvest after they bloom to remove the woody flowering stems. Branched herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, to
name but a few of this large family, can be harvested as long as a set of true leaves remains on the plant ("true"
leaves are the mature leaves of the plant). This allows regrowth and encourages branching. Crowning herbs such as
parsley and cilantro, can be harvested by removing stems in such a way as to retain the central crown which will regrow.
After overcoming the usual apprehension about cutting your herbs, you'll discover they respond to proper harvesting with
vigorous regrowth, giving you all the more to enjoy!