How to Grow Rosemary
In The Garden

How to grow rosemary in northern climates can be tricky but worth the effort.

Rosemary is a perennial in zones 8 to 10 but can be grown as an annual in colder areas.

Rosemary grows as a woody bush that can grow 6 feet or more in southern states.

Rosemary’s sliver needle like leaf is very aromatic with a hint of pine which is used to flavor meat dishes, soups and breads.

The fresh herb is so superior to the rosemary you find in the stores that I grow rosemary every year.

In warmer climates rosemary begins to flower in the winter or following spring. Flowers can be white, blue or pink depending on the verities. Because rosemary prunes so well it is great as a hedge or along walls.

Photo by Thor

How To Grow Rosemary

Rosemary can be difficult to start from seed and the plants started from seed may not be as hardy.

Rosemary can be started from cuttings from the plant stems or by dividing the roots.

Rosemary plants can be purchased from local nurseries in the spring in 2, 4 and 6 inch pots. Choose a sunny spot with good drainage to plant rosemary.

Space rosemary plants 1 to 3 feet apart if you are using them for ornamentals in zones 8 to 10. This will give them room to spread.

If you are planting them as annuals you can plant them closer together. In cooler climates rosemary usually will grow to 12 to 18 inches in the course of the summer.

Let the top 1 to 1 ½ inches of soil dry out between watering. Mulching will help keep the soil moist and cut down on watering in the heat of the summer.

Harvesting Rosemary

Once plants are established and begin to put on some growth you can start harvesting.

To harvest clip the stem tips off with a pair of scissors. It does not take much rosemary for cooking a little goes a long way. The plants will fill in and keep growing.

In colder climates where the ground freezes starts of rosemary can be over wintered inside during the winter. To make some rosemary starts snip off a couple of stems in the summer and peel off the leaves on the bottom. Stick the stem end in a pot of light moist sandy soil for about 4 to 6 weeks until roots form.

Repot each stem into separate pots. Keep rosemary plants in a sunny window or under grow lights indoors. Make sure the soil dose not get to dry or moist. Leaves can be misted with a spray bottle if they get to dry.

Plants can then be planted outside the following spring when the weather warms and the nights are above 55 degrees F.

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