overwintering rosemary indoors

Lynn NevinsFebruary 5, 2013

Hey all! So I have had my rosemary indoors for a few months now, and while it's not 'perfect' as it was over the summer (all nice green soft leaves), it's still doing overall quite well. Sure, there are some leaves (mainly towards the bottom) that have become dried out, and overall much of the plant and leaves have a sort of ashy whitish film.

I had heard that besides heating elements (which I keep my plant away from AND my heating system is modern so the heat doesn't come out super hot or dry anyway, thank god!)...but anyway, besides warmer drier temps indoors I heard that maintaining a humid environment and some type of air circulation are crucial. I guess there's not much I can do about creating a humid enviromnent (I one time tried sitting the plant elevated over some water but the water developed all these stringy red worms!)...and as far as air circulation, I'm not about to run a fan 24/7.

So what I was wondering is....do you think it would 'hurt' for me to cut back some of the stems...especially in the inside part of the bush, to help open it up a bit...so that the plant is more airy and can breathe better? Might that help at least while it's indoors over the winter? I know that part of air circulation for a plant includes ensuring there's not too thick a concentration of stems/leaves all brushing up against each other...this is why I'm thinking cutting some of the inner stems down might create some air space....

Yes? No?


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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I would not cut it back while it is inside, unless you need some for cooking. It is already under some stress and removing parts of it would not help it at all imo. Sounds as if it might have powdery mildew. If it's big enough to carry you could put it outside on mild days and hose it down with tepid water a couple of times. Rosemary can take occasional temps below freezing without harm but if it's been indoors it's probably best to not leave it out if it gets below about 40.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:36PM
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Lynn Nevins

Thanks for the tip. Though...I thought I'd heard that you should never allow rosemary leaves to get wet?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:24PM
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margowicz(8/9 UK)

airing it also helps I got mine indoors by a draft let it dry completely out before watering it I let mine go two days bone dry and then let the soil get wet outside and bring it in

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:46PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

yippee1999 - it rains in the Med and it certainly rains on my 20 year old rosemary in England. It's out there now enjoying our latest 24 hour dose in a temperature of 39f. I do not expect it to die overnight. Providing it has good air circulation and good drainage no amount of water will bother it.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:54PM
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margowicz(8/9 UK)

I din't know this about the rosemary I been going nuts putting holes in bottom pot now I be putting it out bring it in at night let it get soaked and a good airing

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:26PM
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Lynn Nevins

Yeah....see that's what I figured...don't all plants in the wild get wet? But then I know I've heard that before...that you shouldn't let certain plant leaves get wet...so are you saying that there really aren't any plants this would apply to? It would seem to make sense to me...that any plant should be able to get wet...and not just the soil part but the leaves as well. Unless maybe what it is is that...maybe depending on the environment in which you live, the air, humidity, temps etc. may not be such that any moisture on the leaves can easily and quickly dry out, much as it would for a particular plant's natural environment, and so maybe it's for this reason that if the plant is in a DIFFERENT environment, then getting the leaves wet could be detrimental because it will take longer for the moisture to dissipate from the leaves, which in turn could make them start to rot or something?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:06PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

"....so are you saying that there really aren't any plants this would apply to?" .... no I'm not. I don't have the knowledge to make such a statement. We grow plants in unnatural conditions, as you say, so it is quite possible that wet leaves will be a problem for some. But not for rosemary. At least not if it has good fresh air circulation.

margowicz - are you saying you have been trying to grow your herbs up until now in pots with no holes in the bottom? That is a recipe for disaster with any plant in a container. When you water excess water must be able to drain out of the pot and it should not be left standing in water. Your rosemary could be left outside permanently in NI - but it must have drainage. I'm still looking forward to some pictures of your project. Any chance? If we could see them we could give much more accurate help.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:51AM
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