Why Do My Rosemary Plants Die Every Winter?


Rosemary has needles. Pine trees have needles. They keep them through the season, even during the winter. You would figure that rosemary plants would keep theirs and survive to grow and thrive the next year. Yet every winter your rosemary plant dies? What gives? This might be the time to burst your bubble, unless you live far enough south, your rosemary will kick the bucket at some point each winter. I have never had my rosemary plants survive the winter – no matter how mild the winter was.

I tried BBQ rosemary one year. This was a variety with an extra thick stem. I was hoping it would be more hardy to survive the winter. Nope, I was wrong on that account. Rosemary is considered a tender perennial. This means it can last for more than 1 season if the right conditions exist.

Should I Cover my Rosemary If it’s Going to Freeze
Rosemary can withstand frost. If my plant is strong going into the winter, I find that it lasts just past Christmas before dying out. So at that point it has taken several freezes. In the spring time when I buy a new plant, I don’t hesitate to get it early in the spring even we haven’t hit our frost free day.

Plant in a Pot Now
If you are in the market for a new rosemary plant, I recommend just growing it in a pot. That way you have more options to try to overwinter the plant. You can try moving it indoors or moving it a warmer side of the house (you will also get heat from the house by being up next to it.). Rosemary, like most herbs, does well in a container. Just make sure that you have good drainage. One thing that will kill your rosemary plant in the winter is if it gets really wet, then gets cold fast without giving the moisture time to escape.

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