Why Is My Rosemary Turning Brown? (Read This First!)

Rosemary can sprinkle flavor and excitement into your meals, making it one of the best herbs to grow at home. Whether you’re looking to switch to home cooking or love discovering new herbs, rosemary is the perfect option. 

There are many reasons that your rosemary is turning brown. It could be exposed to freezing temperatures, wet soil, drought, or dry air. So, to solve the problem, it’s essential to determine if any of these factors are destroying your herbs. Thankfully, you can revive your rosemary with simple tips. 

Keep reading to learn more about why your rosemary is turning brown and how to fix it. 

4 Reasons Why Rosemary Turns Brown

Rosemary is a perennial herb that is hardy and drought-resistant. You can grow rosemary in USDA Zones 7 or lower, which is great if you live somewhere cold and want to enjoy this delicious herb in your kitchen. 

On average, rosemary can grow 2-6 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide. Even though rosemary can survive periods without water, the leading cause of browning is when too much moisture sticks to the roots. 

But, let’s see what else can turn rosemary brown…


It’s tempting to give your plants lots of water while waiting for your herb to grow, but limiting the moisture intake is essential as it is not acclimatized to wet conditions. 

Rosemary comes from the Mediterranean regions, where the dry landscapes, and you can commonly see it growing on sandy hills. Therefore, you should avoid overwatering your plant as it will turn brown if given too much water. 

You can spot signs of overwatering by these symptoms: 

  • Brown discoloration on stems and foliage
  • Drooping and wilting
  • Wet soil 

If you don’t limit the moisture levels, you could end up with root rot and other fungal diseases that thrive in wet soil. 

The best way to water rosemary is to soak the entire soil but stop when the first inch is thoroughly wet. You can also include sand or grit in the soil to act as an absorbent for the excess moisture.

Too Much Rainfall

Even though most people prefer growing rosemary indoors as it’s better for harvesting as you can easily pick up the stems once they are fully grown, it’s possible to grow rosemary outdoors in an herb garden. 

The one major downside of growing herbs outdoors is that you can’t predict how much rainfall there will be, which can lead to overwatering unintentionally. 

You can amend the soil with grit or sand, just like in a pot inside, and this will help soak up most of the moisture. 

If you notice that your rosemary is turning brown, you should provide a shelter for the herbs as soon as possible. You can use a waterproof canopy or fence to protect the outdoor herbs from dying. 

However, if you’re worried about the health of your plants, you can always move the rosemary from outdoor soil to a pot indoors. This will allow you to keep a closer eye on the moisture and stop the leaves from becoming browner. 

Humidity Issues

Humidity can also be the reason your rosemary is turning brown. Think of it this way; if water can influence your plant, so can the air temperature. 

For the most part, rosemary thrives in places with a light breeze that makes the herb dry and promotes good air circulation.

If your herb is planted in a pot or container, you can quickly move it to a patio or bathroom where there’s more humidity. Ideally, you can place it somewhere with other plants, where there’s already a humid environment. 

Alternatively, you can always use a humidifier. 

Just be careful to leave at least 2-3 feet apart from other plants, as this will give your rosemary enough space to grow and won’t compete with other plants for water. 

Frost Damage 

Even though rosemary is a hardy crop, it can still be a victim to cold temperatures. If your plant experiences frost damage, you should cut off the brown leaves, encouraging new growth. 

Plus, if possible, you should move your plant indoors during winter. This way, you can ensure your plant keeps warm enough to survive the cold season. 

However, if your herb is planted in the soil, B to protect the rosemary over winter. 

Can a Brown Rosemary Plant Be Revived?

To revive your plant, you should begin by pruning the brown sections off your plant. The revival steps will depend on how much the plant has turned brown or if it’s only a tiny area. 

If only one leaf has turned brown, you can cut it off and place it in the soil. Otherwise, if the stem is brown, you can keep an eye on its development and ensure it doesn’t spread further. 

You can also remove yellow leaves grown on your plant if you suspect they are infected. If you prune regularly, you can inspect the plant and double-check for any other discoloration, mildew, or holes in the foliage. 

Another option is to repot your entire plant to give it fresh soil and revive the roots. Repotting is only necessary when the roots have been attacked, and you can’t save it with changing caring techniques. 

Luckily, if you want to save your rosemary, you can encourage new leaves by cutting off some from the original plant and re-planting them in other pots. 

How To Prevent Rosemary Turning Brown?

To keep it simple, follow these growing tips when planting rosemary. If you’re new to the herb world, getting used to the growing process might take a while. 

However, this section will give you an overview of what rosemary needs to keep healthy. 

  • Sun exposure during the day
  • Water when the surface becomes dry
  • Keep the pot near a fence
  • Sprinkle sand into the soil

An alternative to sand or grit in the soil is mulch, which can retain moisture and prevent fungal diseases from developing in the roots. 

Mulch can also help with temperature levels by keeping the soil cool during summer. 

Can You Use Rosemary After It Turns Brown?

Ideally, you shouldn’t use rosemary if it turns. It’s not healthy to digest herbs that have been infected with bacterial diseases or have dried out. The flavor will be non-existent, and you’ll not get the desired results. 

Try changing the pot or adjusting the growing conditions to see if you can revive your plant. Hopefully, you can bring your plant back to life and harvest it in no time. 

You can harvest rosemary with kitchen scissors or prunes. It’s good to wear gloves while harvesting to keep the herb fresh for use afterward. 

The rosemary will be light and soft when fresh, whereas older leaves will be darker and have a hard texture. 

You can use both kinds of leaves, but the light and soft leaves are the best. 

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