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Rosemary Turning Brown: Causes, Prevention, and Solutions

by Gregory
4 minutes read

Rosemary Turning Brown: Causes and Solutions


Rosemary, a popular herb used in cooking and medicine, is a beautiful and easy-to-grow plant. However, like all plants, rosemary can sometimes experience problems, one of the most common being browning leaves. If you’re wondering why your rosemary is turning brown, don’t worry. This article will guide you through the possible causes and provide solutions to help you restore your rosemary plant to health.

Causes of Browning Rosemary

There are several reasons why rosemary plants may turn brown. Understanding the cause is crucial for finding the right solution.

  • Overwatering: Rosemary prefers well-drained soil and doesn’t tolerate excessive moisture. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which causes the roots to rot and the plant to wilt and turn brown.
  • Root Rot: Root rot is a fungal disease that attacks the roots of rosemary plants, causing them to rot and become unable to absorb water and nutrients. This can lead to browning of the leaves and eventually the death of the plant.
  • Cold Damage: Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant and prefers warm temperatures. If exposed to cold temperatures, such as during winter or sudden frosts, the leaves may turn brown and drop off.
  • Sunburn: While rosemary can tolerate full sun, prolonged exposure to intense heat can cause sunburn, resulting in brown or yellow leaves. This is especially common in container-grown rosemary plants that receive direct sunlight.
  • Underwatering: Although rosemary prefers well-drained soil, it still needs regular watering. Underwatered rosemary plants may develop dry, brown leaves and stunted growth.
  • Nutrient Deficiency: Rosemary plants need proper nutrition to thrive. A lack of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen or iron, can cause yellowing or browning of the leaves.
  • Container Gardening: Container-grown rosemary plants may experience browning leaves due to poor drainage, root binding, or lack of nutrients in the potting mix.

How to Fix Browning Rosemary

Once you have identified the cause of your rosemary plant’s browning leaves, you can take steps to address the issue and restore its health.

  • Overwatering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out completely before watering again. Improve drainage by adding sand or perlite to the soil or repotting in a container with adequate drainage holes.
  • Root Rot: Inspect the roots of your rosemary plant. If they are brown or black and mushy, the plant may have root rot. Remove the infected roots and repot the healthy portion of the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.
  • Cold Damage: Protect your rosemary plant from cold temperatures by bringing it indoors or providing it with some form of insulation.
  • Sunburn: Provide shade for your rosemary plant during the hottest part of the day or move it to a location with partial shade.
  • Underwatering: Water your rosemary plant deeply and regularly, especially during hot and dry weather.
  • Nutrient Deficiency: Fertilize your rosemary plant regularly with a balanced fertilizer to ensure it receives the necessary nutrients.
  • Container Gardening: Use a well-draining potting mix and a container with adequate drainage holes. Repot your rosemary plant every few years to prevent root binding.

How to Prevent Rosemary From Turning Brown

By following these tips, you can help prevent your rosemary plant from turning brown:

  • Water Wisely: Allow the soil to dry out between waterings and avoid overwatering.
  • Protect from Cold: Bring your rosemary plant indoors or provide it with protection during cold temperatures.
  • Provide Good Drainage: Use well-drained soil and containers with adequate drainage holes.
  • Fertilize Regularly: Feed your rosemary plant with a balanced fertilizer to ensure it receives the necessary nutrients.
  • Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Inspect your rosemary plant regularly for signs of pests or diseases and treat them promptly.


Browning rosemary leaves can be a frustrating problem, but by understanding the causes and taking the appropriate steps, you can restore your rosemary plant to health and prevent future browning. Remember to provide your rosemary plant with the right growing conditions, water it wisely, and protect it from extreme temperatures and pests. With proper care, your rosemary plant will thrive and continue to provide you with its aromatic leaves for years to come.

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