Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to kill a rosemary tree

Hubby started the South Beach diet ( more on that in a later post ) and a lot of the recipes call for fresh rosemary. I can't get fresh rosemary here so I have been using dried. I found this beautiful little rosemary tree in the store for $10 so I picked it up. I took it home and lovingly read the care instructions which said "Water when soil feels dry". I stuck my finger in the dirt and it felt dry, so I watered it well and set it on my counter to brighten my kitchen for the holidays. I went about my day and when I came into the kitchen a few hours later, my tree was gone! I looked and looked and couldn't find it. Now, I know it didn't grow legs and walk away so I rounded up the usual suspects and demanded to know what they did with my tree. I was met with blank stares and "I dunno, what tree?"

Argghhhhh! You know the only tree in the house!

"Ohhhh, that tree! It's over here behind us in front of the fire."
I grabbed my tree from the intense heat and placed it back on the counter. I noticed a few of the branches in the back were wilting where they had been too close to the fire. I thought it must be dried out so I watered it again. The next day the wilted branches were black and there were tons more wilted branches. I panicked and watered it again. A few days later, half the tree was black and the other half was wilted. Yikes! It must need more water!
I did some research online and found out that these plants like poor soil that drains well and very little water. I rushed out and bought a clay pot and transplanted my poor tree. It was seriously root bound and actually dripping wet. I was actually able to wring out the roots before I seperated them and transplanted it into the clay pot. I used some potting soil that was extremely dry and I am hoping I can save it. I still see a very very small ammount of green so hopefully it will pull through. I doubt it will ever look like it did before, it was 2 years old already. But if I can get it well enough to actually use some of it in my cooking from time to time, I will be happy.
And that my friends is how you kill a rosemary tree.


  1. I faced the same problem with a Ficus tree, and some Impatiens my mother gave me once.

    It turns out that both are like your rosemary tree. Only my rule got simple for those two plants. For Ficus tree and for Impatiens, I would wait until the leaves noticeably droop before watering. The Ficus turned out pretty well, until I tried moved from Minnesota to California - and gave the tree to a friend, I think.

    The Impatiens, once I got the hang of watering the things, did well also.

    You might stop by a nursery and ask about a water meter. A water meter is a gadget that you stick into the pot when you wonder if you need to water, and it waves a needle about to let you think you measured the water. Use it as a hint, and it can help maintain a healthy amount of water for the plant. Once you get a feeling for what kind of hint on the water meter that each plant needs.

    Aloe and Pothos plants are fairly easy keepers, and the Aloe Vera is good for poison ivy/poison oak burns and burns from fires, too. It worked a heck of a lot better and faster on my poison ivy than calamine lotion or anything else I could get hold of.


  2. Brad,
    I can kill even an aloe plant. I have done so on many occasions. The rosemary tree is a total loss. It is completely dead.


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