Why is My Rosemary Leaf Curling? [7 Causes & Easy Solutions]

The popularity of Rosemary goes crazy when it comes to seasoning many mouthwatering dishes. Moreover, holiday decorations are incomplete without this evergreen herb. Rosemary is very easy to grow because once it’s mature, it doesn’t need much care.

But sometimes some stress conditions can make their leaves curl. With your little help, your Rosemary plant can be revived back to normal.

When the Rosemary plants start to curl and wilt it means they need your support. It’s best to start taking some action before it is too late. But before doing anything you need to find the correct reason so that you don’t end up giving any wrong treatment.

There are 7 reasons for Rosemary leaf curling. Overwatering, Lack of enough sunlight, Soil Problem, Over-fertilization, Cold damage, Pest Attack, and, Lastly, Fungal Diseases.

In this article, I am going to explain all these 7 reasons with their actionable solutions. So let’s get started- 

7 Reasons For Rosemary Leaf Curling – Troubleshooting

1.Overwatering of Rosemary

Rosemary is a bit of a water-sensitive plant. When you see your Rosemary leaves are turning brown, curling, and drying you might be thinking they need more water. 

But hang on a minute, before you start watering. Because there is an unusual fact that Rosemary plants take water from the air more than from soil. So the Rosemary usually prefers dry soil. When the soil is overwatered the leaf tips start bending.

Use a moisture meter to monitor the soil so you can take quick action if the plants are overwatered (Our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden)

Control Measure

I know these underwater leaf signs seem confusing. You might be wondering how often to water the Rosemary? 

Well, pour just a cup of water at the base of your outdoor Rosemary every day. But you have to keep checking the soil moisture very frequently. Water only when the soil dries out. And water very little during the winter.

If your potted Rosemarys are overwatered then without any delay change the potting mixture with a good soil mix.

Keep enough drainage holes in the pot. It will allow extra water to run through the pot. During the rainy season bring the Rosemary plants under the balcony or any shade.

2. Lack of Sunlight

Rosemary plants are native to the Mediterranean area like France, Italy, Spain, Greece, etc. So they grow best in warm and sunny climates. Your plants can be curling and turning brown if they don’t get enough sunlight. If you don’t provide enough light then it can even be the reason for your plant’s death.

Control Measure

Provide them with 6-7 hours of sunlight every day. If you have planted them in a shade then relocate them to a sunny place. Avoid growing them outdoors if you live in an area with heavy rainfall.

There is an advantage to growing Rosemary in pots. Because potted ones can be easily moved outdoors to soak in the sun.

If there’s not enough sunlight available in your area especially during the rainy seasons it’s best to put them under indoor grow lights (our pick: GrowLED LED Indoor Garden)

3. Soil Problems of Rosemary 

Rosemary loves alkaline soil. When this soil pH changes to acidic the leaf tips start drooping. The leaves gradually start to fall off.

Rosemary plants have a delicate root system. So compacted clay soil blocks their roots. As a result, plants don’t get enough nutrients and start drooping. When overwatering isn’t the issue then it’s most likely to be a soil problem. it’s best to check the soil pH for acidity with a pH meter.

Control Measure

A good potting mixture is required for Rosemary. They need a mixture of sand, loam, and clay. You can try this potting mixture especially made for herbs (our pick: Espoma Organic Potting Mix)

Add a few inches of organic mulches over the soil. It improves the soil quality and drainage. But always keep the mulches away from the root.

4. Over Fertilization of Rosemary

Rosemary plants are adapted to medium-nutrient soils. So too much amount of nutrients in the soil can droop the Rosemary leaves. It’s a sign of stress. The leaves start to turn yellow. The aroma of the leaves also becomes weaker.

The disease infection and pest attack also increase when there’s too much nitrogen present in the soil.

Control Measure

The amount may be less but they still require some little dose of fertilizers for their steady growth. 

During the spring, use a slow-release and non-toxic herb fertilizer (our pick: Jobe’s Organics Herb Plant Food). So the nutrients will be available slowly without doing any damage and the leaves will be safe to eat. 

Avoid adding too much manure or compost.

5. Cold Damage of Rosemary

Rosemary plants are not very cold-hardy. They can withstand a relatively mild winter. So when frost and snow damage occurs the leaves start curling and turning brown. Younger plants are more susceptible to frost damage than mature ones. 

Control Measure

If your area has hard frost conditions then you should grow Rosemary in pots. So you can take them indoors in winter. To save the Rosemary plants from drooping, plant them in a larger pot. This way more soil will insulate the heat and keep the roots warm.

But how can you save your outdoor Rosemary? Try covering it with heavy clothes like wool or fur before frosty nights. It can prevent cold damage to some extent.

Do not fertilize during the winter, fertilize only in spring. Also, avoid pruning any leaves before winter.

Do not cut off the frost-damaged stem and leaf during winter. Cut them during spring so that new growth won’t stress the plant. Do not worry about the drooping leaves in the winter. Just try to keep them in warm condition and the plant will revive itself during spring.

Protect the Rosemary from frosty cold wind. Because low humidity promotes leaf curling. if it’s indoor, keep away from the air conditioner. Use a good humidifier during winter.

6. Pest Attack On Rosemary

Rosemary plant attracts pests like aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites that cause leaf curling. These pests are very tiny. Sometimes they go undetected before they do severe infestation. 

These pesky pests suck the sap from leaves. As a result, the leaves start wilting and drying up. In severe cases, the leaves ultimately start falling off the plant

Control Measure

Rosemary plants are tender herbs.  Do not use any insecticide without considering its chemical effects because we mostly consume fresh leaves. You need to choose the best insecticide for them that is specially made for herb plants (our pick: Monterey organic Garden Insect Spray)

Also, you can apply Neem oil or insecticidal soap (our pick: Natria Insecticidal Soap).

Here are some effective home remedies that can control these pest problems:

#Recipe 1:- Four-In-One Insect Spray Recipe


  • 1 small bulb of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon of dry pepper powder or half a teaspoon of chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap


  • Paste the garlic and onion into an electric blender.
  • Add the dry pepper powder or chili paste to the garlic-onion mixture. 
  • Then let it sit for a few hours or preferably overnight.
  • Strain the mixture with a fine cloth 
  • Add the liquid soap and mix everything.
  • Add some water and make it a 2-liter solution.
  • Spray it on both sides of the leaves for better results.
  • Be careful while spraying the mixture. Because hot pepper in this solution can cause skin irritation and a burning sensation. It’s better to use disposable plastic gloves while spraying. 

#Recipe 2:- Neem Oil Recipe

Neem oil always comes in very handy against any insect and fungal attacks.


  • 1 tablespoon of Neem oil
  • 2 liters of water
  • Few drops of liquid dish soap


  • Mix the neem oil with water. 
  • Add the liquid dish soap to improve the performance of the spray
  • Then pour it into the sprayer and spray it twice a week.

#Recipe 3:-Alcohol  Spray Recipe


  •  1 Cup of  isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 liter of water


  • Add the alcohol and water into a mixing bowl. 
  • Stir slowly
  • Put the mixture into the spray bottle.
  • Spray the mixture on your Rosemary. 
  • Repeat every few days as long as you can see the pests.

Tip: For any homemade recipe be sure to test it on a small leaf first. If the leaf discolors or burns then make it a mild solution with more water.

Preventive Measure

Do not over-fertilize. Encourage beneficial insects such as ladybugs, and lacewings. Because they feed off these harmful insects and don’t damage the Rosemary plants at all.

7. Fungal Diseases of Rosemary

Some fungal problems like powdery mildew, downy mildew, and root rot cause Rosemary’s leaf curling. The leaves start turning brown and wilt. Overwatering promotes these fungal infections. 

Powdery mildew-infested leaves have white powdery coatings in the leaves. While downy mildew makes brown spots and droops the leaves. In case of root rot, the plant becomes very weak and the entire plants start wilting.

Control Measure

The first step of treatment is to remove all the curled Rosemary leaves. After that, apply a fungicide. Since Rosemary is a herb plant, you have to choose a fungicide that does not contain any toxic chemicals. You can pick this fungicide- Bonide Copper Fungicide

Also, I’ve added some practical and useful DIY homemade recipes. You can give them a try:

# Recipe 1:- Baking Soda Spray Recipe


  • Baking Soda 2 teaspoon
  • Few drops of liquid soap
  • 2 liters of water


  • Mix the ingredients well and spray thoroughly on both sides of the leaves.
  • Spray twice a week.

#Recipe 2:- Vinegar Spray Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 liters of water
  • Few drops of liquid dish soap


  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly well and spray on the infected leaves twice a week.

# Recipe 3:-Milk Spray Recipe


  • Half a liter of sour milk 
  • Half a liter of water 


  • Mix very well
  • Don’t store it. Use it as an instant mixture 
  • Spray it twice a week until the fungal problem stops

Preventive Measure

Fungal diseases spread very fast through water movement. So to prevent fungal growth, avoid wetting the leaves. While cutting the diseased parts clean the blades with alcohol between cuts to prevent the disease from further spreading. 


In this article, I have tried to cover all the information about the Rosemary leaves curling up with their practical treatments. I hope you have found this article helpful.

Water and fertilize at a very minimum, let them bask in the bright sun, protect them in winter, and take quick steps for diseases and pest attacks. I hope your Rosemary rejuvenates and fills your heart with its wonderful scent.

If you have experienced leaf curling of Rosemary before do share your thoughts in the comments below. And share this article with your friends who are handling this leaf curling and wilting of Rosemary. 

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