Rosemary Bonsai Care [Rosemarinus Officinalis]

So, you have just landed on this article because you want to learn more about the rosemary bonsai plants?

If yes, then do not go anywhere because you are already at the right place.

In this article, you will find all the information you need about the rosemary bonsai plants. Be it the history, style, care, or anything else.

Let’s not waste any time and start exploring the info we got for you!

Interesting facts about rosemary bonsai

Scientific nameRosemarinus Officinalis
Height of plant7 to 14 inches
Width of plant7 to 10 inches
Sunlight needsFull sunlight (6 to 8 hours daily)
Flowering durationLate spring & early summer
Life expectancy20 years at least
Origin of plantMediterranean
Temperature needWarm
WateringModerate (it is sensitive to overwatering and prolonged dryness)
FertilizationEvery 6 months in general
Fertilization (during growth season)Add supplemental fertilizer every week.
TemperaturePrefers warm temperature & cannot tolerate below 30℉ in winter.

Can you bonsai rosemary?

The very first question in your mind would be that can you bonsai a rosemary plant?

The answer is yes, you can bonsai a rosemary plant. Is it too hard? Well, no. It is not very difficult if you will follow the right guidelines.

Fantastic Blooming Rosemary Bonsai. Cheap Herb Bonsai for beginners. ( turn on English subtitles )

If you want to bonsai a rosemary plant but don’t know how to do it, then keep reading and we will teach you everything in the next section.

How to bonsai a rosemary plant?

Here is a complete guide that will help you if you want to bonsai a rosemary plant.

Step #1 – Choose the plant

First of all, you will have to choose a rosemary plant that you want to convert into bonsai.

Ideally, your rosemary plant should be small, healthy, and have an upright central stem.

The leaves of the plant should be greenish-gray and firm.

The plant must not have any signs of diseases, no insects and pests, no yellow or dried leaves, and no drooping stem.

Such a plant will be the best choice for bonsai so you need to look for all these qualities in a rosemary plant.

Step #2 – Remove branches

In the second step, your job is to trim all the broken branches present on your plant. Observe the remaining branches and plan the shape you want to get.

Now remove all the branches that do not fit in the design you want for your plant. Also, remove the small lower branches.

Step #3 – Work on the roots

Remove the rosemary plant from its pot.

There will be a lot of soil stuck to the roots. You have to gently remove this excess soil from the roots.

After that, you need to completely remove broken or dead roots.

In the end, you will have to trim a third of the entire root mass of the plant.

Step #4 – Pot the plant

Now take your rosemary plant and pot it inside a small special bonsai pot.

The soil inside the pot must be quick-draining. It should be a blend of pine bark or decomposed fir, organic potting soil, dolomite or gravel, etc.

Press the soil around the roots gently and make sure that there are no air pockets left.

You should cover the root of the plant but there should be no soil mounded up around the central stem of the rosemary plant.

Step #5 – Watering the plant

Are you done with potting the rosemary plant? If yes, now it is time to water it.

Water your plant until you see water coming out through the drainage holes of the bonsai pot.

If you observe air pocket formation due to watering then please add more soil and close every single pocket.

Allow the plant to dry out between watering sessions. The reason is that the roots of your rosemary plant will start rotting if they stay wet all the time.

Step #6 – Placement of plant

The final step is the placement of the plant.

Rosemary plants love full sun. Thus, you should place them in a sunny window. If the weather is warm, you can also place them outside.

Rosemary bonsai history

Bonsai enthusiasts love to learn about the history of their favorite plant.

When it comes to the history of rosemary bonsai, this plant originated from the Mediterranean.

In Latin, this plant is called Rosemary Officinaliswhich means the mist of the sea. The reason is that the green-grey foliage of this plant resembles the mist which is found along the sea cliffs of the Mediterranean.

That’s the same region where this cute plant is found. You can find rosemary plants there as big as up to 5 feet.

Since this plant comes from the Mediterranean, therefore, loves the sun & warm temperatures.

The key to successfully growing a rosemary bonsai plant are three fundamental principles.

  1. Good sunlight.
  2. Good drainage.
  3. Good air circulation.

Rosemary bonsai styles

Bonsai plants can be shaped into different types of styles.

Different owners have different tastes of styles and they put in a lot of energy, resources, and effort to customize the style of their plant.

Styling a bonsai plant involves different techniques like cutting, wiring, pruning, etc. You can also easily learn them with a little bit of practice.

If you are struggling with finding a good style and design for your rosemary bonsai plant, you can easily find one using the internet.

There are thousands of photos of different rosemary bonsai styles on different websites. All you have to do is to make a quick Google search, explore all the options, and choose your favorite one. Just try it right now and you won’t be left disappointed at all!

Rosemary bonsai care

The only reason why most people fail at successfully growing a rosemary bonsai plant is lack of knowledge!

They start growing the plant without learning what is good for the plant & what is bad for the plant.

Resultantly, their plant fails to grow and they end up being disappointed.

If you want to successfully grow a rosemary bonsai plant, then you will have to take good care of it. How can you take good care? Well, we will teach you everything right now!

Rosemary bonsai temperature

Temperature is a matter of life or death for every plant including the rosemary bonsai.

You can only keep a plant alive & growing if you keep it in its preferred range of temperature. Otherwise, it will stop growing and die in no time.

In the case of rosemary bonsai, this plant requires minimum care and you can easily grow it outdoors given that the winter temperature does not drop below 10℉.

Especially, if there is no frost in your area then you can grow this plant outdoors throughout the year.

Make sure to provide it with 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily and well-draining sandy soil.

Rosemary bonsai plant loves to live in humid and warm conditions. However, it will not tolerate prolonged dry indoor conditions or intense cold.

As this rosemary bonsai cannot tolerate temperature below 30 degrees F – it can also be grown inside a container when the outdoor weather is not safe and feasible. Once the weather improves, you should place it outdoors again for better health and growth.

Rosemary bonsai fertilizer

Rosemary bonsai plants absorb nutrients from the soil to survive and grow.

In a small bonsai pot, the supply of nutrients is very limited and it depletes quickly over time.     

That is why we use fertilizers to boost the number of nutrients and minerals in the soil to boost plant growth.

In general, you should fertilize your rosemary bonsai plant every six months (twice a year). But when it is the growing season, you should add supplemental fertilizer every week till the plant matures.

Experts always suggest using the fertilizer at half the recommended strength.

Wiring rosemary bonsai

You know that wiring is very helpful for training and styling any bonsai plant including the rosemary bonsai.

Experts say that the rosemary bonsai plant should be wired when its branches are young. Because at that time they have more flexibility and can be bent easily and safely.

Wiring the old branches is extremely hard and not recommended. The reason is that they are very inflexible, brittle, and may break easily.

How to style rosemary bonsai?

You can style a rosemary plant by training and regularly maintaining it.

If you have purchased a mature rosemary bonsai plant from the nursery, then most probably it is already trained.

What you have to do now is do some regular trimming of the plant and maintain its size.

For this purpose, you have to trim all of the new growth that is beyond the 1st set of leaves of the plant. If there are any dead branches, you should remove them all as well.

Rosemary bonsai repotting

You are recommended to re-pot your rosemary bonsai plant at least once a year. The best time for repotting is spring, however, you can feel free to do it whenever you want.

While repotting, you should cut a few inches of roots from the bottom and also the side of the root ball.

Rosemary bonsai pests and diseases

Beware of the pests and diseases that can attack your rosemary bonsai plant &take action against them before it is too late.

If you have a rosemary bonsai plant, you should be alert about powdery mildew. It is a white powdery fungus that can develop on your rosemary bonsai plant if the air circulation and humidity conditions in your house are very poor.

Powdery mildew may not kill your rosemary bonsai, but it will attract many other diseases and insects to attack your plant. To avoid this, you need to have good air circulation, good light, and low humidity in your house.

In the case of insects, you should beware of spider mites and aphids.

A sulfur-based fungicide or non-toxic pesticide soap can prove to be an effective remedy for neutralizing these fungi and pests on rosemary bonsai.

Learn how to get rid of spider mites on bonsai effectively today.

Rosemary bonsai soil

Soil is crucial for the health of your plant.

The soil of your rosemary bonsai plant should be quick-draining. If you want to know about the soil composition, then preferably it should be a blend of dolomite or gravel, perlite and pine bark decomposed fir, and organic potting soil.

This healthy soil will also keep your plant healthy and promote its growth.

Reference article: Is perlite good for bonsai?

Rosemary bonsai watering

Water is needed for the survival of your rosemary bonsai plant.

But be careful while watering it!

How to water rosemary bonsai?

This plant hates wet roots and it is somewhat on the dry side as it can survive 1-2 days on dry soil.

However, you should never let your plant completely dry.

Overwatering & prolonged dryness – both are equally harmful to this plant.

If the roots of the rosemary plant will remain wet for too long, they will start rotting. Similarly, if the root will stay dry for too long, your plant will die.

For watering, you should place your rosemary bonsai plant in a pan that has 1 or 2 inches of water inside. Let the plant soak in that water for an hour or more until the top surface of the soil appears damp.

Since the plant is sensitive to overwatering so next time, you should water it when the top surface of the soil is nearly dry and appears lighter.

You should also use quick-draining soil to save your plant from the damage caused by prolonged wetness and overwatering.

Rosemary bonsai sunlight requirements

This plant loves sunlight and warm conditions.

You are recommended to place your rosemary bonsai plant somewhere where it can get 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.

If it is impossible to meet the natural sunlight requirements of this plant, then you should supplement the plant with modern artificial grow lights.

You have to keep the rosemary bonsai plant warm all the time. In summer, you can keep your plant outdoors all the time.

However, the plant should not be exposed to temperatures lower than 30℉. So, when the weather is extremely cold, you should bring your plant indoors.

Rosemary bonsai winter care

We told you that the rosemary bonsai plant likes warm conditions. Hence, it will need special care during the winter.

So, what are the steps you should take?

Let’s explore.

How to take care of rosemary in the winter?

In winter, the rosemary bonsai plant cannot tolerate temperatures below 30℉. Therefore, you should never expose it to such cold weather.

Keep it safe from frost because frost can be lethal for the rosemary bonsai plant.

In extremely cold weather, you should take them indoors or grow them inside a container. These plants love warm conditions so they will be okay if grown indoors or in a container.

How long to grow rosemary bonsai?

You must be thinking that for how long you will have to keep growing the rosemary bonsai until you have a perfect one?

Well, the experts say that it can take you up to 1 year to shape & grow your rosemary bonsai into a perfect-looking bonsai tree.

Best rosemary for bonsai

Which rosemary plant is best for bonsai?

Well, there are a lot of them:

  1. Rosemary, Foresteri.
  2. Rosemary, Blue Spires.
  3. Rosemary, Benenden Blue.
  4. Rosemary, Arp.
  5. Rosemary, Blue Lady.
  6. Rosemary, Collingwood Ingram.
  7. Rosemary, Hill hardy.
  8. Rosemary, Golden Rain.
  9. Rosemary, Girardus.
  10. Rosemary, Gorizia.

Qualities of a good rosemary bonsai

When choosing the right rosemary plant for bonsai, here are some important qualities you need to look for:

  1. The leaves of the selected rosemary plant must be firm and grey-green.
  2. The selected rosemary plant must not have any signs of disease.
  3. The selected rosemary plant must not have a drooping stem.
  4. The selected rosemary plant must not have dried or yellow leaves.
  5. The selected rosemary plant must not have any pest or insect infestation.

A rosemary plant with all these qualities will be a perfect choice for bonsai.

Rosemary bonsai from cutting

If you want to have a rosemary bonsai plant from cutting, you need to choose a design first.

Cut all the unwanted branches that do not fit into your selected design. Also, cut the unwanted low and downwards growing branches. Cut any damaged or dead branches as well.

If you are cutting an already trained rosemary bonsai for maintenance purposes, you need to cut the new growth which is beyond the 1st set of leaves of the rosemary bonsai plant. You should also remove the dead and damaged branches.

How to revive an indoor rosemary bonsai?

Is your indoor rosemary bonsai plant dying?

Well, the only way to revive it is by giving it enough time & care.

Here are some tips:

  1. Give it proper watering.
  2. Give it enough sunlight.
  3. Fertilize it on time.
  4. Try repotting it.
  5. Treat any pest or disease attack.
  6. Give it the right temperature.
  7. Keep the humidity low.

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