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Does Rosemary Need Full Sun? (Must Know Before Planting)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 02:57 pm

Growing rosemary is an exciting experience as a gardener. One good thing about this particular plant is that it doesn’t require intensive care.

Without much fuss, your rosemary will not only produce enough leaves for you to spice up your meals but will also improve your garden’s aesthetic appeal.

Nevertheless, there are times when your plant can be literally under the weather and you may ponder what particular force of nature is responsible.

Well, sunlight is of particular importance to rosemary and the quantity your rosemary plant receives determines how productive it will be.

So, does rosemary need full sun? All varieties of rosemary need full sunlight — at least six to eight hours every day — to grow optimally. Full exposure to sunlight in rosemary plants is critical because several processes depend on it. For example, photosynthesis, a chemical reaction largely dependent on the presence of sunlight, is what helps every rosemary variety produce enough energy for their daily activities.

How Much Sunlight Does A Rosemary Plant Need?

Because rosemary requires full sunlight, about six to eight hours of basking in the sun is enough to make it grow well. Also, typical rosemary is originally a Mediterranean plant, It thrives best when the sun shines for a substantial period of the day.

Furthermore, the soil you plant it on needs to be well aerated. Also, as a potted plant, rosemary does well when you don’t overwater it.

Moreover, in cool and dark months, potted rosemary needs less water. It is best to take it outside if possible because it requires much of the sun and the heat that comes with it.

Does Rosemary like Direct Sunlight?

The rosemary plant likes direct sunlight. On average, rosemary plants even require at least 6 hours daily sunlight to survive. Therefore, when growing rosemary indoors, you must expose it to a sufficient amount of sunlight.

Rosemary’s other needs are not so much when compared with the sunlight it requires. On average, rosemary needs watering every two weeks, depending on the plant size and climate conditions.

Allowing the plants to dry out thoroughly between each watering activity is necessary because too much water can cause root rot.

Unsurprisingly, sometimes it is difficult to tell when a rosemary plant does need water. This is because its needles do not wilt as broad leaves do.

An abundant amount of sunlight helps rosemary to resist many diseases, especially those of fungal origin. Although rosemary is immune to most conditions, some cases of powdery mildew are common.

Rosemary grown indoors is susceptible to this kind of disease the most. Powdery mildew is a fungus that occurs when where the air is cold, humid, and poorly ventilated.

Thus to prevent such disease from spreading among your plants, it would be best always to inspect your rosemary, apply the proper fungicides, and expose it to appropriate sunlight.

You can also prune overgrown stands to improve air circulation, which stimulates the plants to produce new shoots. It is also noteworthy that the rosemary seldom has pest issues except for a few bugs.

Rosemary doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. However, when growth is slow or problematic, and symptoms such as stunted growth or a pale yellow appearance rather than its natural green color, a fertilizer once before new growth appears will do.

It would be best to apply an all-purpose fertilizer in such cases.

So, rosemary prefers an environment where it can get direct sunlight as it needs a lot of the sun’s heat and light to grow well.

Of course, its other needs of fertilizer, watering, pests control, and much more are critical to its growth. But that of the direct sunlight is more critical than the rest.  

Can Rosemary Get Too Much Sun?

Too much sun to some herbs causes them damage, especially when grown in a hot, dry environment.

The rosemary, however, is an exception. Because it needs a lot of natural light, the sunlight of six to eight hours is never too much for it. It thrives in outdoor temperature and humidity.

The rosemary thus can tolerate high temperatures and a wide range of moisture. Rosemary is a perennial shrub that thrives where temperatures generally stay above freezing points.

Nevertheless, in abnormally extended periods of sunlight, the rosemary could suffer some damage. In this case, the following are the effects of excessive exposure to sunlight in rosemary.

1. Generation of reactive oxygen:

While rosemary can tolerate abnormally high sunlight to a higher degree than most plants, it still suffers a bit of damage.

Since rosemary is a green plant, it depends on photosynthesis for survival. One of the critical substances in this process is chlorophyll.

Alongside carotenoids, chlorophyll molecules absorb rays of the sun and convert them to useful energy. Nevertheless, when they absorb more than they can contain, they tend to malfunction.

As a result, helpful carotenoids produced in the photosynthesis process are converted to more reactive species, which tend to be harmful to the plant.

This could mean death or potential harm to you, who uses the leaves.

2. Dehydration:

Many plants die without proper care in hot summers where rainfall is erratic and the sun shines most. Rosemary typically withstands the heat and seeming drought of this season.

However, rare exceptions can occur where it will have adverse effects on the plant.

One of these effects is dehydration. The wild heart of the overhead sun in summer typically leads to the death of many plants due to water loss.

In rosemary, abnormal transpiration rates could lead to a fatal moisture loss. Furthermore, even though the plant survives, its leaf production level will drop significantly.

How to Protect Rosemary from Excessive Sunlight

To ensure your rosemary doesn’t suffer the effect of excessive sunlight, it would be best to take the following precautions.

1. Plant your rosemary in partial shade on sweltering days. However, on days when the temperature is exceptionally high and your rosemary will likely dry up, it would be best to keep it under shade.

You should construct one that will permit the rosemary to absorb some rays while still protecting from the sun’s full intensity.

2. Provide enough water for your rosemary. First, you should note that on a regular season, that is, those with relatively average temperatures, your rosemary can go on for two weeks without water.

But in summer, when the sun stays overhead most of the time, water evaporates from the soil much faster. This swift evaporation combined with the transpiration rate of your rosemary could make it dry up.

It would be best to water your plant regularly to ensure it doesn’t get dehydrated. Also, the availability of sufficient water will enable it to transport the resources it needs to produce enough leaves.


Rosemary is an exciting herb that requires a lot of sunlight for its daily growth. It typically needs about six to eight hours of quality sunlight every day.

Furthermore, rosemary cannot withstand winters below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This cold intolerance means it cannot grow in cold climates. To grow rosemary in such areas, you’ll need to grow it in a pot indoors.

Simply put, rosemary thrives in warm, humid environments and cannot take frigid temperatures.


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