I have several rosemary bushes in the backyard; I live in San Francisco and rosemary thrives here.

However, the landlord overwatered one of the bushes for several months. It's now got some kind of fungus or root-rot which causes it to look unhealthy and the leaves on some branches to turn yellow. Since then, I've removed the soaker hose he put there, and have been letting it dry out. It doesn't seem to be getting better though.

My question is: is there a way I can rescue this rosemary bush? Should I expect it to recover with mostly dry soil and infrequent watering? Or is it doomed at this point and I should rip it out and plant another one?

2 Answers 2


I'm actually going to answer my own question, because it turned out that the answer above was not correct. I got some offline advice, and what I did instead was:

  1. Aggressively prune back the rosemary, cutting off all the yellowed branches.
  2. Water it infrequently for the next month, allowing it to dry out between waterings.

The rosemary is now restored and growing again.


If the plant really does have Foot and Root rot, best remove it as soon as possible. There is no effective treatment available.

Ok, then I'd get it out as soon as possible. Because this is a shrub or a woody based plant, even though Rosemary isn't particularly prone, when they get root rot, its usually caused by phytophthera, so best removed asap, together with some of the soil from round the roots.

  • I don't find any evidence online that Rosemary is vulnerable to that particular fungus. Are there specific signs I should look for?
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 1:31
  • No, it's not particularly vulnerable, which is why I said 'if you're sure its root rot'. It's not impossible, though, if its been too wet. Symptoms would be, usually, darkened or discoloured tissues at the base of the plant in the stem, atrophy or softening. With root rot, the roots often turn black or brown and shrink inwards, with the deterioration starting at the root tips. Obviously, the topgrowth, with either of these conditions, starts to look unwell, dying back and yellowing/browning. What makes you say its 'developed some kind of fungus or root rot'?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 13:25
  • Several branches have yellowed or brown leaves. I know both from previous experience with dying rosemary, and from online research, that this is a sign of root rot due to overwatering.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 18:00

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