Rosemary is an aromatic hardy herb that you can grow outdoors and indoors. It’s a great herb to have on hand for cooking, but it’s also useful in teas and other herbal remedies.
Rosemary is also a great herb to grow in your garden because it is easy to care for, and it smells amazing! It grows well in pots or in the ground and will tolerate many different climates. It is best to grow Rosemary from cuttings, so you can easily start your own plant from an existing one.
Quick Facts About Rosemary Plants
- Scientific name: Salvia rosmarinus
- Type of plant: evergreen perennial plant
- Native to: hills along the Mediterranean, Portugal, and northwestern Spain
- Grow Lights requirement: full sunlight (at least six hours per day)
- Water requirement: once a week in Summer and once every 2 weeks in the Spring and Fall
- Preferred humidity: 45 to 55 percent ambient humidity
- Preferred temperature: 60 to 65 degrees during the day and 40 to 50 degrees at night
- Size upon maturity: 6-8 feet
- Type of soil: light and well-drained soil
- pH level: slightly acidic, between 6.0 and 7.0
- Fertilizer: organic 20-20-20 non-acidic liquid fertilizer
- Main attribute: rich in antioxidants
- Word meaning: a woody, perennial herb that is part of the Lamiaceae family
- Family: Lamiaceae from the Mints
- Lifespan: ten or more years
- In-Season months: late spring and early summer months
What exactly is a potted rosemary plant?
Rosemary is a woody perennial herb that is part of the mint family. It grows in a variety of climates and has been known to grow up to 4 feet tall. It has small, needle-like leaves that are grayish-green in color. Its flowers are purple, pink or white and grow in clusters of 2 or 3 at the tip of branches.
This evergreen shrub can be grown indoors as a potted plant or outdoors in containers or beds. If you prefer to grow rosemary in your garden, plant it in full sun where there is good drainage and soil that is rich in nutrients. Rosemary plants like well-draining soil with a pH between 6 and 7.
How to Grow Rosemary Indoors: A Complete Guide
Rosemary is a healthy plant to grow in the garden. It has beautiful, small, evergreen leaves and makes an excellent addition to the landscape. There are several things you should know before growing rosemary plants in your own herb garden:
Rosemary prefers full sunlight or partial shade. It does not do well under overcast skies and should be grown indoors only if you have a bright window with direct sunlight. If you live in a hot climate, choose a location that receives plenty of grow light but is protected from harsh winds and humidity.
Rosemary bush grows best in sandy, well-drained soil. Amend the soil with compost before planting to improve its nutrient content, ensure sharp drainage and water retention ability. Lightly incorporate fertilizer into the sandy soil at the time of planting, or apply fertilizer at half the recommended rate every two weeks during the growth season.
Choosing a terra cotta pot
A fresh potting mix should be at least 3 inches wider than the root ball is recommended when planting rosemary. Soil should be added to the pot until it reaches about 2 inches from the top of the container.
Preparing Soil for Planting
Soil should be prepared for planting by mixing in some compost or other organic matter such as peat moss or leaf mold at a ratio of 1 part soil to 1 part organic matter. This will help improve drainage and increase aeration while preventing compaction which can lead to root rot.
A Rosemary plant requires deep watering once every two weeks during the growing season (April through September). Water rosemary thoroughly so that water penetrates the entire root zone; do not allow the surface of the potting soil to dry out between watering sessions.
Rosemary does best in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 10, but it can be grown as an annual in cold weather. In areas with cold winters, the plant should be grown indoors or in containers so it can survive the winter months. The evergreen shrub needs temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55-60 F at night to grow well.
Feed your growing rosemary plants every two weeks during the growing season (March through October). During the winter months, switch over to a low-nitrogen fertilizer and feed just once a month until March. Don’t fertilize in November or December because it will encourage growth of new shoots rather than forming larger leaves on existing branches.
Use a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 or 16-4-8 for best results. Roses require more nitrogen than most other types of ornamental plants, so avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers like fish emulsion or manure tea when feeding roses.
If your growing rosemary plant is old and has become leggy, prune it back severely by about two-thirds of its height. This will encourage vigorous new growth and make the plant bushier once again. You should also prune any dead or diseased branches from your rosemary plant if you want it to stay healthy and productive for many years.
Another reason to prune rosemary plants is that they can become invasive if left unchecked. When grown in container gardens, this problem can be easily avoided by cutting them back regularly into smaller plants that won’t take over your entire yard!
If you plan on storing your rosemary, cut off the leaves from the stems and put them in an airtight container. You can use a plastic bag or a glass jar with a lid. Use a moisture-proof container with an airtight seal like a Mason jar for longer storage. Store your rosemary in the refrigerator for up to six weeks or in the freezer for up to one year. If you want to keep your rosemary for longer, consider growing perennial varieties since they will come back each year without requiring any maintenance or care!
How to Plant Rosemary
- To get started, select a container at least 12 inches deep and fill it with soil. Make sure the container has a drainage hole at the bottom. You can also use a large clay pot or window box.
- When planting your rosemary indoors, dig up some of the soil from around its root ball so it sits above ground level when you place it in your container or garden bed. Place your rosemary directly into the middle of your container or garden bed, making sure that its crown is about one inch below ground level and at least six inches away from any walls or fence posts (so it gets plenty of air circulation).
- Next, cover up your new potted rosemary with some more soil until there’s about two inches between the top of the root ball and where you’ve covered it up with soil. Then add water until everything is evenly moistened—but not soaking wet!
How can I grow rosemary from cuttings?
To grow rosemary from cuttings, remember that cuttings can be taken from the new growth that appears in spring or summer, depending on the variety of rosemary you are growing.
- Cut off an 8-inch stem from an actively growing shoot on the plant’s outside edge. Make sure the stem has at least two leaves on it and that it does not have any flowers attached.
- Make a diagonal cut about 1/4 inch below a leaf node, or where a leaf joins the stem. The bottom end of your cutting should have one or two nodes above this cut so that it has plenty of food reserves stored there to help it grow roots once it’s in water.
- Remove all but three or four leaves from the top of your cutting (or as many as will fit comfortably on top). This helps keep water from collecting on top of the leaves and keeps them from rotting when they’re sitting in water for several weeks.
- Dip the end of your cutting into rooting hormone (available at most nurseries), and then stick it into some potting soil in a small container or seedling tray.
- Water well and place in indirect sunlight until roots appear (about 4 weeks).
- Plant out once roots are established.
How can I grow rosemary from seed?
Growing rosemary plants from seed is a fairly easy task. Rosemary seeds germinate best when they are planted in soil that has been warmed by the sun. If you live in a cold climate, try starting your rosemary seeds inside about 8 weeks before your last frost date.
- First, ensure that you have a sunny location in your garden for your rosemary plant. Rosemary grows best in warm weather and will wilt when temperatures drop below 50 degrees F (10 C).
- Mix together manure compost, and topsoil together in the pot where you want to plant your rosemary seedlings. Fill the pot half full with this mixture and then add enough water so that it becomes muddy but not muddy enough to make mud puddles on top of the soil. Let this mixture drain, let the soil dry, and then fill in any gaps with more of the same compost/topsoil mix and water again until it’s just damp (not wet).
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of rosemary seeds over the surface of this soil mixture and press them down lightly into place using your fingers or a spoon if necessary to ensure good contact between seed and soil mixture while still leaving some room till roots begin to grow later on once germination occurs after about two weeks from planting time. Do not cover your seeds with soil! This will cause them to rot instead of germinating properly.
- Cover your seeds with clear plastic wrap so that they receive full sun. Remove the plastic after about three weeks to expose the seedlings to air circulation, and keep them outside the garden in a sheltered spot.
- Remove the plastic when the seedlings have germinated and begun growing tiny leaves. Water as needed, but avoid overwatering, which may cause stem rot.
Tips for Growing Rosemary Plant Indoors
- Keep it in a warm, sunny spot. The best locations for growing rosemary indoors plants is a south facing window or near large windows that receive direct sunlight during most parts of the day. You should make sure that there is no shade covering these areas so that they can get all types of light available in your home during winter months as well as summer months.
- Plant in the proper soil. Use an organic potting mix that contains peat moss, composted pine bark or composted forest products as well as perlite or vermiculite to provide drainage, aeration and moisture retention.
- Use the right pot. Plant indoor rosemary in a large pot that allows at least 2 inches of space between the top of the soil and the rim so that water won’t collect on top of the soil when watering.
- Don’t over or underwater it. The plant needs good drainage dish and prefers dry soil. Make sure you don’t overwater it, though, as this will lead to root rot and other problems with the plant’s health.
- Feed it regularly. Feed your own rosemary growing medium once every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted at half strength (one tablespoon per gallon of water). The fertilizer should contain nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potassium (K), iron (Fe), and magnesium (Mg).
- Prune to encourage new, tender growth. Rosemary pruning should be done annually in late winter or early spring before new blooming begins. Pruning will encourage new branches, and help prevent woody stems from forming on your space rosemary plant.
- De-flower it to keep energy in the plant and leave it on the stem. You may notice that your rosemary plant has small flowers at the ends of its branches. These flowers will be pollinated by bees or other insects and produce seeds if left alone. To keep this from happening, pinch off these flowers before they bloom so that energy goes into producing new leaves instead of seeds that you won’t be able to save or use anyway (unless you want to grow more rosemary).
Harvesting Fresh Rosemary
- Choose a sunny day when you’re ready to harvest your rosemary plant. The plant is best harvested in the morning or evening after being exposed to the sun for a few hours. The leaves will be more fragrant and have a better flavor if you harvest them early in the season.
- Cut the stem about 2 inches above a set of leaves with sharp scissors or pruning shears. You can also use your hands to pinch off individual stems as needed.
- Store your fresh rosemary in an airtight container with paper towels in between layers of herbs. Store in a dark cabinet or pantry away from heat sources, such as ovens and stoves. If you want to keep your herbs longer than one week, put them in the freezer for up to six months.
Pests, Diseases, and Treatment
Most insect pests don’t bother rosemary plants in your own garden unless they’re under stress from drought or other environmental conditions. Some pests and diseases that can affect rosemary include:
Aphids feed on soft new plants and cause yellowing, stunting and curling of new shoots. They also leave sticky residue on stems and leaves from the honeydew they produce as they feed. Aphids may transmit viruses from one plant to another, but this is rare in rosemary plants.
Treatment: Remove infected parts of the plant immediately using pruning shears or a sharp knife (if you’re removing just one part). Wash off all other parts with water and then gently brush them down with a soft cloth or sponge to remove any pests or debris. Make sure they’re completely dry before replacing them back into their pots or garden beds!
White flies are small, white, mothlike insects that feed on the undersides of rosemary leaves. White flies are not true flies (order Diptera) but are related to the aphid family (Hemiptera). They suck sap from the plant, leaving behind a sticky honeydew residue. This attracts ants and encourages sooty mold growth.
Treatment: The best way to prevent white fly problems is through proper plant care: provide bright light and moderate humidity; good air circulation, water only as needed (never under dry conditions); avoid over-fertilizing or using chemical sprays; prune off dead branches in early spring; and remove any fallen leaves from around your rosemary plant.
Spider mites are tiny pests that feed on the leaves and stems of rosemary plants. These tiny reddish brown colored bugs are hard to see with the naked eye and their numbers can quickly build up. Spider mites can also be carried by drafts or air currents that carry them from one plant to another. Spider mites are most active during hot, dry weather when the plant isn’t able to produce enough moisture through its leaves for optimal growth, but they will also attack plants in all seasons if conditions are right.
Treatment: Keep your rosemary plant well watered but not soggy wet – overwatering encourages root rot which could kill your plant so be sure not to over water it! Also, avoid overhead watering which causes dampness on foliage that encourages growth of mold and fungi that attract mites. It’s better to water at ground level than overhead unless it’s really necessary (like during drought periods).
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that attacks rosemary. It is a problem in warm, humid conditions and can kill the plant if it is not treated quickly. The first signs are pale green or white spots on the leaves, which soon turn to powdery grey spores.
Treatment: A fungicide spray can help prevent powdery mildew from developing. Spray the plant when you see signs of infection.
These are fungal spores that overwinter on fallen leaves, then infect new growth in spring. The fungus grows in water-soaked lesions on the leaves and stems. These lesions are usually pale green to white in color and develop tiny black specks of spores that form when they are disturbed or rubbed off.
Treatment: Use well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter during planting; avoid overwatering during periods of high heat and humidity; prune off any affected leaves and discard them immediately after pruning; spray plants with an appropriate fungicide if you spot symptoms of infection before they spread throughout the plant.
Best Uses of Rosemary Plants
Rosemary plants are a highly versatile herb that’s been used for centuries. The aromatic leaves can be used in a variety of ways, with the most common use being as an ingredient in cooking.
Rosemary plants are also popular houseplants because they’re easy to care for and they smell great.
In addition to using rosemary leaves as fragrance, here are some ways to get more out of your rosemary plants:
Cooking with Rosemary
The main use for rosemary is as culinary herbs. Rosemary has a strong flavor that goes well with chicken, pork and lamb dishes. You can also use it as an ingredient in sauces and marinades, or as part of a rub on meat before grilling or roasting it.
Using Rosemary in Beauty Products
Rosemary oil is known for its antibacterial properties — which makes it useful when treating acne or other skin conditions. More than a third of it can also be added to shampoos, conditioners and lotions to help improve hair growth and reduce dandruff problems. In fact, many commercial hair products and dish soap contain rosemary as one of their ingredients!
Rosemary is one of the most popular herbs used for decoration because it has beautiful flowers and leaves that add color to any room in your home or office space. You can use rosemary as part of your holiday decorations by placing it inside your Christmas tree or using larger potted plants around your home for added color during winter when other plants are dormant or unavailable for purchase at local nurseries or garden centers.
Rosemary has been known for its medicinal properties for centuries. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that to grow rosemary could prevent disease, improve memory and boost energy levels. In fact, it was so popular that the word “rosemary” comes from the Latin word Rosmarinus, which means “dew of the sea.” In addition to its use as an herb in cooking, many people still use rosemary tea to reduce stress and anxiety and treat respiratory issues such as colds and allergies.
What should rosemary not be planted with?
Rosemary should not be planted with any of the following other herbs/plants growing indoors:
- Tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. They all belong to the nightshade family and don’t play well together.
- Beans, peas or cucumbers. These plants’ seeds will germinate faster than rosemary seeds do, so they’ll get all the water first.
- Cabbage family plants (cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage). These are also known as cruciferous vegetables because they have four petals in the shape of a cross. Like tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes, their roots can drain nutrients from the soil that would otherwise be available for rosemary growth.
How fast do rosemary grow?
The answer to this question depends on the type of rosemary plant you are growing in your herb garden, but in general it takes between two and three years for most herbs of rosemary plant to reach maturity.
How long does it take rosemary to work?
It takes about 30-60 minutes for dried rosemary to start working. However, the effects can last up to 24 hours after you’ve taken it.
Can I use rosemary with other medications?
You should always check with your doctor before combining medications. However, there are no known drug interactions between rosemary and other medications.
Does rosemary have any side effects?
Rosemary is generally safe when used as directed. The most common side effect is stomach upset. If you experience serious side effects, stop taking the supplement and call your doctor immediately.
Are all rosemary plants edible?
Yes, all rosemary plants are edible. However, not all of them have the same flavor or aroma. The most common variety is English Rosemary, which has a stronger flavor than other kinds. There are also wild varieties that grow in different parts of the world.
Growing rosemary in the garden is relatively easy, and it offers a lot of benefits, including fresh herbs year-round and beautiful purple flowers in the summer. It’s a great herb to have around, but it can be challenging to do at first. It’s best to thoroughly research any gardening project prior to beginning, and to have a vision or plan in mind. Take time to familiarize yourself with the history, culture and characteristics of your particular plant of interest. Doing so will ensure that you start out on the right foot, and can end up with a thriving rosemary plant.