I live in Carmel Valley, San Diego and I have a rosemary plant that has been sitting in my back yard for almost 6 years. The weather has not changed for quite a long time. The soil is a free draining sandy soil. A week ago, the rosemary started flowering. It had only flowered once before four years ago. When I looked closer at the leaves, I found yellow spots on most of them:

Yellow spots on rosemary leaves

The camera makes the color more green but really the whole leaf looks yellower and not healthy. Normally I would wait a few weeks just to see if it would go away, but I also started noticing white fruit-fly sized flying insects around the rosemary. I'm also particularly worried because my parsley had been infested by these insects a few days ago:

white bugs on parsley

Also this insect:

Yellow insects on parsley

I uprooted the parsley and disposed of it properly and I'm wondering if these are the same insects that are damaging my rosemary. What do you think is the cause of the yellow spots on the rosemary? Should I get rid of those insects and how?

Some more images: 1, 2

Sorry for the blurry images and thanks for any help.

2 Answers 2


Yup, you've got aphids, spider mite...whatever. Is this the first time you've had problems? Go get some NEEM. A great sprayer...or a pump sprayer. Read the directions and cautions FIVE TIMES. Seriously, this is what they taught us in pesticide licensing!! Do NOT do this during the day. This stuff will help tremendously and like now. Make sure you spray UNDER the leaves, very important. Spray the top of the soil lightly. You will have to do this again in another week and keep watch...forever.

Why this began after 6 years would be nice to figure out. What has changed recently...6 months or so ago? Take some pictures of the entire environment...are these in the ground or are they in pots? What have you done within this time? Any changes at all? Is this on the North side of your home?? These insects are very normal but something has changed. Are you using automated irrigation? Did you get a plant from a friend recently? Did you bring in new soil...garden soil from a neighbor? Wear gloves and long sleeved shirts. This stuff ain't that toxic but sure is stinky and some skin doesn't like it. This is as powerful as I will go, just please read the directions and information sheets that come with closely and at least a few times, Okay?

When you want to use the rosemary, just dilute hydrogen peroxide 3% 1 cup in one gallon and swish the rosemary allow to soak for 5 minutes. That will get the Neem off as well as the insect poop and insects dead or alive and you'll be able to use your Rosemary. What are you doing for fertilization? Too much nitrogen and shade will hamper any flowering...

  • This is on the south side of my house and the plant is in the ground. We planted some tomato and lettuce seeds in raised beds about a month ago. The raised beds had some Miracle gro garden soil we bought at Home Depot. There is automatic irrigation once a week, but I water by hand every other day. It rains like five times a year here normally, and it rained ten times times last month, so my earlier statement of normal weather is incorrect. Also lots of fog, which is normal. I don't fertilize.
    – jkd
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 2:48
  • The rosemary doubled in size over the last year if that is relevant. Also, does Neem hurt ladybugs? There's been a lot of ladybugs lately and I've heard they are beneficial.
    – jkd
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 2:54
  • Aphids, if you ask me. At least on the parsley. Plus something feeding off the aphids, see the empty hulls - likely the ladybugs and theur larvae. And the specks on the rosemary indicate something biting into the plant. There is one strand of webbing visible, which would mean spider mites, but could also be a coincidence.
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 7:15
  • Otoh, if it's been wet, that would mean aphids, spider mites prefer and prosper in dry weather.
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 7:17
  • Let those lady bugs do their thing! They gobble these guys up. Hold off on the neem for now! You WILL be fertilizing when we get done with you, ha ha!! Remember everything EVERYTHING is chemicals even us and all life. Us humans disturb ecosystems where all these necessary chemicals are stripped away so WE have to replace these chemicals so that plants are able to make their own food. Stephie is right, dry weather usually promotes spider mite (need better pictures on the underside of leave to diagnose) and aphids. But sounds like you've got the best control happening. Do NOT NEEM now.
    – stormy
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 16:33


Botrytis blight... looks like what’s going with my old rosemary but mine are in pots.

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