help with my rosemary plant

Asked May 15, 2016, 8:09 PM EDT

hi, I live in zone 6. I have a somewhat large planter with large/old rosemary plant in it. soon, I'm going to re-plant it in the same pot after cleaning up the bottom roots, etc., etc. I bring this plant in every fall till spring then I put it back outside. during the cold months, it sits in front of a large pic. window with afternoon sun. but during the spring and summer, it is outside in the back with lots of sun. this plant is about 4-5 years old now! my concern is...... **my rosemary plant seems to have (lost) it's Bright Green, Vibrant colors! **the plant doesn't seem like it is dying, just the appearance of the leaves seem (dull) 1)can you please tell me what may be going on here? 2)and what can I do for it to bring back its natural vibrant green leaves? 3) I just bought a new box of organic..."jobes" vegetable & tomato plant food, (powder form)! would it be okay to use this on the rosemary? thank you so much for addressing this for me! thanks! tom from Nazareth, pa

Northampton County Pennsylvania

1 Response

I have researched this situation and none of the literature I read speaks about leaf color. Usually bright green is associated with new growth, but in the case of rosemary, it may have to do with light levels. I take cuttings from my plant in the fall and root them in potting soil and rooting hormone after removing the bark from the bottom half inch of the cutting. My new cuttings have that dull color you are seeing. I also notice that my local farmer who raises cuttings has the same color. I attribute it to lower volume of sun since these plants grow in intense sun and dry soil.
Other than environmental conditions, the plant could have been hybridized or treated with a greening agent at some point before you bought it. Sometimes these plants revert to the norm.
Here is a link to the North Carolina National Herb Society. They have a rosemary breeding program and may be able to help you further.