How Often to Water Rosemary (& How to Water Them the RIGHT Way)

By: Chenell - Lead Writer and Gardening Advocate

As any green-thumbed individual knows, watering is essential for keeping plants alive. But how often should you water your rosemary plants?

There isn’t a general answer necessarily, as it depends on a variety of factors, including the type of plant, the size of the pot, the weather, and the time of year.

How Often to Water Rosemary Plants

Rosemary should be watered once every 1-2 weeks, but if conditions are very dry, it may need to get watered more frequently. Allow the plant to dry out between waterings to avoid root rot and other issues.

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) is a drought-tolerant herb, meaning it can survive with less water than you’d think because its root system is more branched out.

How do you know when your plant needs water? A good way to check if your rosemary plant needs watering is to stick your finger in the soil.

It feels dry more than an inch below the surface, it’s time to give it a soak.

How Much Water Does Rosemary Need?

For optimal growth, rosemary plants need around an inch of water each week. This amount can be adjusted based on the soil type, the weather, and what types of rosemary you’re growing.

If you water it too much, it’s likely to develop root rot.

An inch usually comes out to a deep watering every 1-2 weeks, although you may need to water more often during hot, dry weather.

Just be sure not to let the soil get soggy, as that can lead to problems. Ultimately, the best way to determine how often to water your rosemary plant is to check the soil regularly. If it feels dry about an inch below the surface, it’s time to give your plants a drink of water.

Whether you’re growing rosemary in garden beds, as a potted rosemary plant, or are starting seedlings indoors, they are going to have different needs. Let’s take a look at each scenario to growing rosemary so you can adjust the watering schedule and frequency.

Where You Grow Rosemary Matters

Watering rosemary plants depends a lot on where you are growing them. You might think all rosemary plants should all need the same amount of water, right? Wrong.

Watering Rosemary Plants in Raised Beds or Garden Beds

If you have rosemary plants in raised beds or in garden beds, you usually only need to water every week unless it’s really hot outside. Depending on which zone you live in, your plants can often see quite a bit of rain during parts of the season. If this is the case, you likely won’t have to water them at all, and just let Mother Nature do her job.

Make sure to plant rosemary in a location with well drained soil, even sandy soil is great, and doesn’t too much water. If the roots of rosemary sit in water too long, they can develop issues like root rot or fungal diseases.

If you live in a more dry area or are experiencing weeks where there is no rain in sight, you’ll want to check your rosemary plants daily to make sure they don’t need water.

Depending on what stage you are at, they have different water requirements.

  • With newly planted rosemary seedlings, they often do best getting watered more regularly. Check on them daily and make sure the soil doesn’t need watering.
  • With a more mature, full-grown rosemary plants, they are hardier and can usually go 7-10 days without being watered.

When overhead watering, be sure to use your hose nozzle on the lowest setting or invest in an inexpensive watering wand that helps with accuracy. You want to water the ground around the rosemary, as wetting the leaves and flowers head can invite fungus and plant viruses to take hold.

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Watering Potted Rosemary Plants

If you planted rosemary in a pot (even if it’s sitting by the door or on the patio), it will require a bit more attention. The sun’s rays are much stronger than the light it will get indoors, and that could cause the soil to dry out faster.

I like to deep water outdoor rosemary plants, making sure the entire pot is wet and has enough drainage holes to drain the excess water.

If the weather forecast is calling for rain, hold off on watering the plant so it doesn’t get overwatered.

If the weather forecast is super dry and hot, make sure to check the plant daily to see if your outdoor rosemary plants need a drink of water.

With potted plants, you want to water often so the soil does not dry out completely, but be aware that overwatering rosemary plants can also damage the plant. Avoid watering after dark, as this is just inviting pests and fungus to take root.

Watering a Rosemary Plant Indoors

Growing rosemary indoors will likely require less water because it’s not as warm and the wind isn’t blowing as hard. However, if you do have fans on your plants and they are under grow lights, then you might want to treat them similarly to if they were outdoors.

Because rosemary gets watered less frequently than other plants, I would still check them every 1-2 days just to be sure. It can get easy to forget about some plants when they need less care.

Rosemary Seedlings

I love starting seeds indoors to get a head start on the growing season. Rosemary seedlings need to be water a lot more during their first 1-2 weeks of life to help get them established.

Since rosemary seeds take 2-3 weeks even just to germinate, so it can get tedious checking on them every day and making sure to water them.

I water my seedlings daily, or at least every 2 days. The pots they start off in are small and drain really fast, so without daily watering they can dry out easily.

Once the plants have sprouted and you re-pot them into a larger container, the watering doesn’t need to happen quite as often.

Can You Water Rosemary Plants Too Much?

Why yes, yes you can overwater your fresh rosemary plants too much.

Rosemary requires very little in terms of watering compared to other plants in an herb garden. She likes to be in full sun and in garden soil mix that is sandy and dry.

Some signs that you are watering your rosemary plants too much:

  • The plants leaves are curling
  • Mushiness around the base of the stem
  • Discoloration of the leaves
  • Powdery mildew

While powdery mildew doesn’t always take root when a plant is overwatered, it is caused by overwatering.

It kind of looks like you would expect it to – white powder on the leaves of your rosemary plant. This won’t usually kill the plant, but you do want to get it taken care of.

How to Save an Overwatered Rosemary Plant

Rosemary can be “saved” if you happen to overwater it, but you want to make sure you stop watering it immediately.

Remove any discolored leaves, as they might have succumbed to a fungal infection.

Let the rosemary plant dry out completely before you water it again. If the plant is sitting is drenched soil, it might be a good idea to remove

Reduce your watering frequency moving forward so this doesn’t happen again.

Watering Your Rosemary Plant

While it can be really easy to grow rosemary, it’s also very easy to overwater your rosemary bush. Make sure it’s in soil with proper drainage, and rosemary grown indoors has at least one drainage hole and gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.



Hi - I'm Chenell! I lived in the city for almost a decade, but after moving to the suburbs in 2020, I decided the logical millennial thing to do was to learn how to grow my own avocado toast. That's what this site is all about. 🥑

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