Droopy Rosemary – Plant Shock?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Mike
Posted on: November 15, 2000

I had bought a Rosemary plant locally. Unfortunately did not think about plant shock going from nursery to my basement under plant lights and definitely a cooler and less humid area. My basement is a constant dry 70-72 degrees and the plant at this point is not doing well. Right now very droopy and losing some of its needles. Will this plant recover from my mistake or is a goner? I am keeping the plant on the dry side so as not to have the roots over wet. Any ideas would be appreciated.

If the plant is "very droppy" then likely it is too dry. I have never known rosemary to become droopy except when over dry or when the roots are damaged too much during transplanting. If by "plant shock" you mean only the move from, say, a greenhouse at the nursery to your basement then the only shock is the drop in light intensity (despite the lights – they likely do not provide as much light as the plant gets when in full sun). A sudden decrease in light intensity does cause problems for rosemary, but droopy leaves is not one of them. Typically when a rosemary goes from a high light situation (e.g. outdoors) to a lower light environment, some leaves turn yellow and eventually fall off.

If you were not careful when transplanting the rosemary, you may have damaged enough roots to impede the uptake of water which would cause the leaves to wilt. If this is what happened then you need to keep the humidity up around the plant to prevent water loss due to evapotranspiration from the leaves.

It is a simple matter of too dry conditions, then a couple of good soakings are needed. Make sure to water enough so that excess water comes out the bottom of the pots.

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