How To Easily Fertilize a Rosemary Plant

Rosemary smells delicious, is a wonderful ingredient for cooking, and is a fantastic plant to have in your garden. Many plant fanatics love rosemary, but it can be difficult to fertilize compared to more generic plants. 

You can easily fertilize a rosemary plant by following these steps: 

  1. Plant your rosemary bush in a safe place. 
  2. Confirm that your bush is in loose soil. 
  3. Choose a slow-release fertilizer for bushes or trees. 
  4. Fertilize lightly during the spring. 
  5. Fertilize sparingly throughout the growth season. 
  6. Let your plant grow and water sparingly. 
  7. Check on your plant often. 

Rosemary bushes tend to be more sensitive than the average plant, and many plant lovers know to give their rosemary bushes adequate attention. If you’re new to the rosemary and fertilization world, keep reading this article to learn more about how to easily fertilize your rosemary plant. 

1. Plant Your Rosemary Bush in a Safe Place

As many know, rosemary is unique for its kind. It’s not a plant that can be lumped into a generic category for caretaking, and it requires specific attention. 

Due to this, your rosemary bush should be planted in a safe place. If planting it with other plants, it’s important to ensure it has the soil and nutrients it needs to thrive. 

Many plant rosemary bushes in a pot, container, or garden bed. This, luckily, helps the plant stand alone or – if not, it is bunched with other rosemary plants. Many recommend this planting style for rosemary, but it can be a challenging recommendation to follow. 

If you have a rosemary bush or plan on planting one, chances are that you want your plant to thrive. Here are a few solutions to help with accomplishing that. 

  • Plant your rosemary plant around other rosemary plants. This can dissolve any chance for over-fertilization or issues that arise through the caretaking process of your plant. If other plants are near, plant a few rosemary plants in one spot, and leave space in between your rosemary plants and others. Every plant is different, and rosemary has specific needs separate from other plants and trees.  
  • Plant your rosemary plant around plants that don’t need heavy fertilization. Rosemary is a sensitive plant. The soil and the soil’s quality matter for this type of plant. If you plant rosemary next to other plants or trees, it’s best to make sure the soil they share is lightly fertilized. 
  • Plant in a pot with drainage and loose soil. One of the most important things that a rosemary plant requires is well-balanced soil. Rosemary does well with dry soil and needs drainage available. If you can, find loose soil for your plant and a pot that has drainage holes. Having a drainable pot can make a world of difference when caring for your plant.  
  • Plant your rosemary outside and near sunlight. Rosemary is primarily an outdoor plant and thrives in the sunshine. This plant can even withstand long periods without water as long as its soil is full of nutrients. 
  • Do your research before planting and fertilizing. As mentioned already, plants have specific needs. To grow big and strong, certain things can help while others can harm them. Research different fertilizers and get to know your plant, so you can feel confident when proceeding forward with planting and fertilizing. 

2. Confirm That Your Bush Is in Loose Soil

Most gardeners are aware that the quality of a plant’s soil can help them thrive or help them die. Although unfortunate, it’s one of the most important qualities to pay attention to in the gardening world. 

With rosemary, the soil is especially valuable. Some plants can survive and even thrive with dry soil, and rosemary is one of those plants. 

The best (and most suggested) way to plant rosemary is in a pot with drainage holes, unless you’re in a sunny region that has great weather year-round. Rosemary does well with soil that is well-drained. Soggy or over-watered and fertilized soils can harm this plant.

Gardeners can check the soil quality before planting to confirm that this plant will be in great condition. Here are a few components to look for in your soil before planting your rosemary:

  • Your soil’s pH level should be between 6.0 and 7.5. Many plants do well with the average pH levels in soil between 6.0 to 7.0. The rosemary plant grows well with soil that is more alkaline. You can test your soil before planting. 
  • Your soil should have great drainage. Rosemary plants do well with dry and loose soil, which means that water and fertilizer should drain properly. If you are planting in a container, confirm that there are drainage holes, as mentioned previously. You can also test and feel your soil before planting. 
  • Your soil should be loose everywhere. If you are planting your rosemary plants in a garden bed or in the ground with other plants, it’s best to make sure the condition of your soil remains similar throughout. Although soil can be different three feet away from your plant, it’s still best to have soil that is well distributed. 
  • Consult with a professional. There are many tips and tricks that plant owners can follow when planting rosemary. And luckily, there are many professionals out there that have experience. If you can, reach out to a professional or ask someone at a garden store for help with your specific circumstance. 

3. Choose a Slow Release Fertilizer for Bushes or Trees

If there is one thing to remember about rosemary, it’s that it survives and thrives well without intense amounts of fertilizer. And, luckily, that makes the job of gardener much easier. What’s important to remember is that a little bit of fertilizer at the right moments can help this plant in tremendous ways. 

There are many fertilizers out there, and, unfortunately, not all of them are helpful for rosemary. Rosemary plants do well with a slow-release fertilizer that is organic and limited on the amount of N-P-K. This plant also only needs fertilizer during its growing season. 

When choosing a fertilizer, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Understand that fertilizing in a container is different than fertilizing in the ground. 
  • Find an organic option that is slow-release. 
  • Do not fertilize during the first year after planting. 
  • Avoid fertilizing in the wintertime. 
  • Fertilize every 6-8 weeks during the growth periods.
  • Focus on the spring season as it’s the most important. 
  • Keep the soil loose throughout the process. 
  • Find a fertilizer that may work for trees and bushes. 
  • Choose an organic option rather than a synthetic one.  
  • Plan to fertilize your plant long-term.

4. Fertilize Lightly During the Spring

All plants remain in a dormant phase during the winter months and begin to come out of that phase in the springtime. Out of each possible season that you can fertilize, spring is the best. 

When fertilizing, it’s important to wait until the last frost has occurred for your plants. If you fertilize your rosemary plant and frost occurs, issues and diseases might arise with your plant. Therefore, your plant’s overall growth will become tainted. 

Preferably, rosemary works well with slow-release formulas, as mentioned above. And this plant does not need a lot of fertilization. It’s best to dilute any fertilizer you use and do not use a lot of it. 

When fertilizing during the spring, double-check the following things for a successful application process: 

  • Take your soil to a store or send it in for testing. Although pH testing can help determine the acidity of your soil, it may also be valuable to have a professional test your soil for other reasons. Then, you can learn more about your plant’s soil and what it may need during fertilization.
  • Plan your fertilization schedule from start to finish. Fertilization should not be used once and then discarded. If you can, pick a fertilizer that you will stick with long-term and set a schedule for your plant. This will make the entire process easier. 
  • Check the weather patterns before fertilizing. As mentioned earlier, weather can impact your plant. This is especially accurate for plants that are outside. The biggest concern is a random snowstorm and overnight frost. 
  • Choose a fertilizer that is organic. Organic fertilizers are great for long-term use and don’t  provide a huge risk for your plants. There are many great organic options that are simple to use and provide a natural way to supply nutrients to your plants. This option is incredible for people who are new to fertilizing as well. 
  • Fertilize every six to eight weeks. If you’re not using a slow-release formula, it’s best to create a schedule where you fertilize every month. This will help your plant’s growth, and consistency is important. If you’re worried about your plant’s safety, you can dilute your fertilizer as well to help protect its growth. However, most organic options are safe. 

5. Fertilize Sparingly Throughout the Growth Season

Many say that rosemary doesn’t need fertilizer at all, but that’s not entirely true. It can survive and thrive without it, but rosemary actually responds well to organic fertilizer. 

The spring season for fertilization is most important, and slow-release formulas are best. These formulas will help fertilize your plant for a few months, which is important for the summer season. 

Rosemary should also receive light fertilization during the fall months, but sparingly. Here are a few tips. 

  • Taper off your fertilization before the first frost of the fall season. Similar to the spring, fertilization should begin to decrease. Plants are heading into a dormant phase of growth, and it’s not needed. 
  • Implement a slow-release formula that ends during the fall season. If you’re utilizing a slow-release fertilizer, you may want to schedule it in a way so it ends right before winter. This can make things easier for you, and you can taper the amount in a way that works best for your schedule. 
  • Begin tapering at a slow rate as you enter into winter. Rosemary already receives a light dosage, making it an easy adjustment. However, you may want to spend the fall season slowly decreasing the amount of fertilization your plant receives each time since it’s entering winter. However, this is based solely on preference. 

6. Let Your Plant Grow and Water Sparingly

When rosemary plants are fertilized correctly, there is nothing to worry about. Your plant will thrive, and your life will feel at ease. 

It can feel like you need to do more work than necessary with your plant, like watering it often, but it’s not necessary. As your plant goes through the seasons, you can water it here and there. A little bit of water can help the soil of a rosemary plant.  

However, it’s best to remember that rosemary does well in dry soil. This means that having soggy or wet soil can cause more harm than good to your plant. 

When you water it sparingly, make sure it drains. The best way to watch over this is to plant your rosemary plant in a pot with drainage holes. Additionally, it’s usually not recommended to try offering a soil drench with this type of plant. 

7. Check on Your Plant Often

This is the final and last stage of fertilizing your rosemary plant. Rosemary plants are the easiest plant to fertilize because they don’t require a lot. 

Many gardeners wish to fertilize on a specific schedule that is similar to other plants, but this can cause more issues than less. Fertilizers, in general, cannot be fixed if given too much. It’s best to always remember to go less and add more in the future if needed. 

As your plant grows through the season, you can check up on its overall growth from time to time. Regularly checking up on your rosemary plant is best to ensure that your plant’s growth is running smoothly. Here are a few suggestions when you check up on your plant:

  • Check the soil often and have it tested. The soil of a plant will tell you everything you need to know, even if your plant is not showing visible signs of growth or damage. When testing, check for the nutrient levels as well as the pH balance of the soil. This will tell you a lot about how your plant is doing. 
  • Make sure the soil remains dry and loose. Rosemary plants thrive with loose soil that is dry. If you water your rosemary plant often, check the soil afterward to make sure it has been drained. 
  • Check your plant’s growth every month. Unfortunately, it can take some time to see the results of organic fertilizer, but visible signs should occur every few weeks. When checking on your plants, you can check for noticeable differences in between each month. 

Final Thoughts 

Rosemary is a popular plant that many grow in their garden. It’s plentiful, smells wonderful, and relatively easy to care for. 

When fertilizing your rosemary plant, be gentle and take precautions. Planting rosemary in a safe place, using loose soil, and researching the best times to fertilize in your area are essential to a healthy rosemary plant. It’s also best to know to water it sparingly and check up on it often.

Having the knowledge and skill to help your rosemary plant will make a world of difference for its success and for yours.

You can read my other article on fertilizing indoor and outdoor plants here: How to Fertilize Indoor & Outdoor Plants (Ultimate Guide)

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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