London (change)
15 messages
15/04/2012 at 18:54

I have a Rosemary and a thyme in quite a big pot that has not come out of winter that well. The Rosemary's roots are brown and the leaves are spotty and yellowing. There are some flowers on it. I have checked it for grubs and there isn't any of the little blighters in the pot. I assume I need to trim the roots back to there they are healthy but my worry is that if I trim back the roots it will kill the plant because the remaining roots will not be able to support the plant.

I am surprised it didn't come through winter better. It has been in a sheltered position with several other pots that survived better. There is gravel in the pot for drainage.

15/04/2012 at 21:00

I'm not sure if Rosemary is one of those plants that doesn't live a very long time? I had a Rosemary competing with a bully of a Ceanothus two years back, so in the summer I tossed a load of compost on top of its root-ball and waited until spring last year to cut off arm-length sections showing signs of roots. Afterwards, I transplanted the original bush but it promptly died although four of the new sections took well in pots, I grew them on until late last summer when I  planted three of them in my middle garden.  They established nicely through autumn/winter and should get well away this year. Perhaps take some cuttings to ensure the plant lives on?

15/04/2012 at 21:19

The platn is less than a year old. Not sure if I can take cuttings from it as it is quite poorly. Doubt they would take now, but I'll try.

Any idea what to do with the rootball? Is it possible to trim it back without killing the plant.

15/04/2012 at 23:02

If its a young plant I wouldn't think it needs root trimming. Perhaps the pot is too big for the size plant? That can cause plants to sit in a sump and Rosemary don't like wet feet. Also, consider the ph of your soil, it likes full sun and limey soil.

15/04/2012 at 23:17

It spend the summer in the sun and the winter in a sheltered corner. The reason I thought it might be a good idea to trim the rootball is because most of it looks like it has died duirng winter. I assuming it cant regenerate the roots from the dead ends. Don't think the pot is too big, it is about third bigger than the whole plant I would guess. The pot is well drained and have had no saucer since the autumn to prohibit it getting too wet during winter and then getting frost damamge (Boy did I fail on that account).

16/04/2012 at 09:06

Well, in your situation, I guess I would trim what looks dead and maybe change the soil mixture in the pot to give it the best chance of survival. Good luck with it!

22/04/2012 at 23:31

Looked at the rootball this weekend and there are the odd healfy root but most of them seemed brown. Didn't dare to rim it as it would have left it without any roots but I opened up the rootball and also put in more grit and sand in the pot plus a bit of crockery in the bottom to make it drain better. Sadly the torrential rain today hasn't done me any favours. We were talking ark building weather in Bristol

23/04/2012 at 12:09
Any chance it got hit by frost? I lost a Rosemary last year, which was planted out. I think it was Alina who diagnosed the problem, on the old Beeb site. She reckoned the roots had got frosted, so the poor thing couldn't take up nutrients and moisture. I'd try and get some cutting material from it, sorry to say I don't think it's going to pick up. But happy to be proved wrong!
23/04/2012 at 12:14

I'd agree with figrat - try and get some cuttings going, they do root easily. It doesn't sound like your plant is very healthy at all.

23/04/2012 at 12:55

You don't say how many leaves - spotty or not - it has, but it may be worth trimming some off so the little bit of living root can cope with what's on top. Probably remove flowers too so it can concentrate on getting well.

23/04/2012 at 13:46
It looked better the other day but I think it is in terminal decline. Quite a lot of leaves have spot on them. I think you're right about frost but still find it odd that the rosemary got hit but not the herbs in an identical pot.
23/04/2012 at 16:01

It depends which herbs they are - some are much hardier than others. Rosemary is of Mediterranean origin, so not that tough, especially not in a pot with no real root protection.

23/04/2012 at 19:55

My greek oregano sailed through without any problems as did lavender and sage, The thyme in the same pot seems to have perked up now. All of these pots were huddled together against a wall without any saucers. It just shows that you live and learn. I thought that would be enough for them

A colleague of mine is selling 6 in plants for 50p so I am getting two of those. As for taking cuttings what is the best way of doing that? Couple of shoots, removing the lower leaves followed by some rooting hormone and plonk in a well rained pot?

23/04/2012 at 20:20
With gritty compost. You might want to cover pot with plastic bag or similar, leave in semi shaded spot and don't tweak for signs of root growth for at least a couple of weeks. Good luck.
23/04/2012 at 22:16

Rosemary plants do not really like being in pots for long and can get too dry.  They prefer to be in the open ground.  If your's has got some flowers you may find that it perks up if you plant it out in the garden.

I have got one at the end of my garden which has been there for 11 years and was in a pot for a year before that on the balcony of my previous flat.  It never really grew much in the pot but really romped away when it got in the ground.  It was a cutting from a plant in dad's garden so not sure which variety it is.  It is growing next to a monster sage.  Somebody told me that sage and rosemary like to grow together.

I am not sure if this link will work?

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