How To Water Rosemary Properly

Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Stephanie

The rosemary is a drought-resistant plant that needs that the soil dry out slightly between watering sessions to prevent root decay. Give rosemary a good soak to ensure that the water drains away from the bottom of the pot then allow the soil to dry out before repeating the watering.

Typically, potted rosemary needs to be watered at least once per week during Summer, and every two weeks during Autumn and Spring.

Dont water rosemary during winter as it is in an inactive state and any additional watering can increase the risk for root rot. A well-drained soil is equally important in the prevention of root rot.

The frequency at which you need to keep your rosemary hydrated is contingent on the climate you live in and the conditions of your garden.

Keep reading to learn how to determine the ideal frequency of watering for the rosemary plants in your garden as well as to ensure that you have the best soil mix that drains well…

How Much to Water Rosemary

Knowing the right amount of water to give rosemary is crucial to the growth of your business.

While the varying nature of the temperature, the dimensions of the pot, soil drainage and temperature can affect the frequency of watering rosemary however, how much water should apply should be the same.

The rosemary should be given a good soak to ensure that the water flows from the bottom in the planter. If you plant your rosemary in raised or garden boarders beds, make sure the soil is well-drained at the bottom of the shrub.

This ensures that the water gets into the soil and then reaches the roots, so they are able to absorb the water they need.

The generous amount of water also helps the roots to develop and establish themselves in the soil, which improves the resistance of rosemary to drought.

A light watering can cause the upper inch or so of soil to become damp, but the water can not get to the roots, and the rosemary may be affected by stress from drought.

A good soak in the water followed by a time of dry weather mimics the ideal conditions for growth in the native rosemary habitat.

rosemary sprig

(Read my article on on how you can take care of the rosemary inside pots).

How Often to Water Rosemary

The herb rosemary is adapted to grow within the Mediterranean region of Europe which is where it thrives in full sunlight and sandy soils that drain well and infrequent rain.

To withstand Mediterranean full-sun The rosemary plant is adapted to the dry climate, with only occasional rain and by forming tiny needle-like leaves that reduce the surface area used for the loss of water (transpiration).

Because rosemary is well adaptable to dry conditions, they are vulnerable to issues that arise from excessive watering, which can lead to root rot, and cause the rosemary to turn black or brown.

(If youre rosemary is turning black, check out my article to find the solution).

To ensure that rosemary grows successfully at home, it is essential to mimic the conditions of watering of their natural Mediterranean environment.

Rosemary requires the soil to dry all around its roots in between periods of watering, so you should only water the rosemary when the soil is dry. If the rosemary is potted in a soil that drains well This means that you should water rosemary about once a week in Summer, when there isnt any significant rain.

Usually, watering the potted rosemary every two weeks during the fall or spring is ideal for the majority of weather conditions and climates.

It is crucial to remember that the speed of drying the soil will vary based on a variety of variables that determine how frequently you should water your rosemary, like:

  • The material and size that the container is made of (small pots may dry out faster than large pots. Plastic or metal pots can also get hotter in the sun than ceramic or clay pots).
  • If rosemary is growing in a pot or is planted on garden boards or maybe in a raised bed. (Pots and raised beds have excellent draining conditions that are ideal for the rosemary).
  • The rosemary can be found in an open, windy area (too too much wind could dry out the soil and remove the sap moisture from rosemary leaves).
  • Temperature and humidity of the weather and climate conditions.
  • The soils capacity to hold water (rosemary requires a well-drained soil in order to prevent the occurrence of root rot).

It is important to note that rosemary thrives in breeze and airflow because this mimics natural conditions for growth. However, be aware that rosemary in pots may dry out a more quickly in high winds.

Overwatering poses a much greater risk for your rosemary than under watering therefore always be on the other side of being too dry, rather than too moist.

If your rosemary is growing in a pot, you can feel the soil beneath it through the drainage holes.

If your soil feels damp, then wait to water for a couple of days, however if it feels dry, then this is the ideal moment to water.

When you have a good idea of how fast your soil is drying at the bottom of the pot, you will know the frequency of watering rosemary based on your needs.

For garden beds that are raised or boarders, rosemary typically doesnt require watering until it is fully established, except for periods of severe drought.

Watering Rosemary in Winter

In the majority of climates, an outdoor rosemary pot does not require watering in Winter.

In winter, rosemary goes dormant and more at risk from the root-rot because of cold, damp soils that dry out a much slower because of lower temperatures.

Rosemary gets all the moisture she needs from the winter weather.

In areas with more rainfall, especially in Winter the need for well-draining soil that is amended with lots of sand or grit is more important.

A greater proportion of sand in order to improve drainage and stop the soil from being too moist is the best method to reduce the possibility from root rot.

Start watering again in the spring, every 2 weeks after temperatures are rising as well as the rose is actively growing.

(If your rosemary appears as like its dying, read my article on on how to revive the dead rosemary plant to find the answer).

Well Draining Soil to Avoid Over Watering Rosemary

The correct soil for the growth of rosemary may be more crucial than the schedule of watering in maintaining the health of the plant and preventing root decay.

The rosemary plant is not tolerant of its roots to be tucked away in soil that is damp and holds plenty of moisture, which results in the leaves turning brown , or even black, in a sign of stress.

(If youre rosemary has started beginning to turn brown, you should check out my article on how to fix the issue).

The typical potting soil will likely to hold excessive moisture for rosemary by itself however it is suitable when it is amended with the grit or sand of a horticultural garden to replicate the conditions of sandy soils in the original rosemary Mediterranean range.

Mix about 1/3 of sand or grit (by volume) with 2/3 potting soil or multipurpose compost to create best drainage of rosemary. Sand and grit create an open structure that lets water drain efficiently to prevent root rot.

This is true regardless of regardless of whether you are planting your rosemary in a pot, or if you plant rosemary in the garden boarder or raised bed.

In colder climates that have more rainfall, up to 50 percent sand or grit up to 50% compost could be required to ensure that the water drains from the roots as fast as is required for rosemary to remain healthy.

This soil mix mimics the drainage characteristics of rosemary as well as the preferred nutritional composition (rosemary needs low- to moderate fertile soil) of rosemary.

A fertile soil that is rich in nutrients and has lots of nitrogen encourages leggy growth , which has an uninspiring scent and a less appealing flavor to the leaves since this is in contrast to the conditions to which rosemary has been adjusted.

(Read my article on the the best potting soil to plant rosemary).

Pots with drainage Holes

The rose is a drought-tolerant plant that doesnt like moist soil, so it is vital to plant it in containers or pots with drainage holes at the base so that excess water can be able to drain out of the root.

Additionally, watering to ensure that water drips out from the bottom of the pot, is a great method to make sure the rosemary is watered in sufficient quantity to get to the roots.

If rosemary is planted in pots that do not have drainage holes, the water collects over the root, which causes root rot, and the plant dies back.

The water can still swell around the root of the potted rosemary due to:

  • The roots or soil block the drainage hole. If you see the water draining slowly from the pot of rosemary, make sure that the drainage hole is clean.
  • Trays or saucers that are placed under the pot. Trays and saucers collect excess water, which can make the soil too moist for rosemary roots, which can lead to conditions that cause root decay.

(Read my article on selecting the most suitable containers for the rosemary).

Key Takeaways:

  • The herb is drought-resistant plant that is best watered after the soil is dry surrounding the root. The rosemary should be watered with a good soak until the excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot. Then let the soil dry again before applying water.
  • Typically, this means watering potted rosemary every week during Summer, and then every two weeks during the Fall and Spring. Dont water rosemary in winter to prevent root rot.
  • The roses should be planted in soil which has been amended by the grit or sand used to aid in drainage.
  • Make sure to place rosemary plants in containers that have drainage holes that allow excess water to drain and stop root decay.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)