Who doesn’t love the smell of rosemary? Also known as rosmarinus officinalis, this perennial herb can be used to add aromatic notes to any dish, which needs to be elevated and make diners salivate. It is best grown in warm areas, which are somewhat humid and in ideal conditions, this herb can grow fast. If you want to try your hand at growing rosemary in the winter, take a page from my book and plant it in a pot indoors. Here are some tips that really helped me grow this aromatic herb in my garden.
Tips for Growing Rosemary
- Rosemary is an incredibly versatile herb, but that doesn’t mean you can plant it anywhere in your garden and call it a day. It requires full sun exposure and should be planted in well-draining soil that has a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 (https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/browse/featured-solutions/gardening-landscaping/rosemary/).
- Add some organic matter to the soil if it is too acidic. Use manure or compost as well as grit to enhance drainage. This will prevent the rosemary from getting waterlogged and ensure ample air circulation for the rose mary.
- When you plant the seeds, water them well. After that only water your rosemary plants once every one to two weeks
- If your rosemary plants look dull and lifeless, add a top dressing of fertilizer to perk them up.
- Prune the growing rosemary plants after they flower to make them compact. Do this during late spring and summer and not during fall or late winter. The plants will not be able to survive otherwise.
- When it gets cold, apply some mulch over the roots to prevent them from freezing (https://gardenerspath.com/plants/herbs/protect-winter-rosemary/).
Using Stem Cuttings
If you want to propagate rosemary from cuttings, here is what you need to do:
- Cut off a branch that is about three inches from the stem of a rosemary plant.
- Cut off most of the lower foliage to about one and a half inches.
- Water the rosemary cuttings after transplanting them in the soil.
- Place the pot that has the rosemary cutting in a windowsill that gets plenty of sunlight and experiences temperatures between 60° and 70°F.
- The rosemary cutting will take about eight weeks to form roots. Once it does, remove it from the pot and transplant it in your garden to allow the plant to mature.
Propagating rosemary from cuttings is considered to be one of the best ways to grow this herb. The plant matures faster than rosemary that starts from the seed. That’s because rosemary seeds germinate slowly and can take considerable time to sprout. A stem cutting, on the other hand, can reach a good size in a couple of months and can be harvested sooner in comparison.
Additionally, the rosemary plant you grow using a stem cutting will be exactly like the mother plant. So it will have the same flavour and health that it does. If you have a healthy rosemary plant that is free of disease, use it to harvest more stem cuttings to propagate healthy plants. Plus, it is completely free of cost so you really have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
Even though rosemary plants are resistant to most diseases, you can save them with insecticide if they get scales or spider mites. Scales can be removed with some strategic pruning. These insects usually remain at the tip of the plants so you should start cutting there. Use a soap-based insecticide to get rid of other pests such as mealybugs. Or you can do what I did and ensure you don’t use a fertilizer that has a lot of nitrogen in it for growing rosemary. Insects are attracted to these.
Rosemary can also develop powdery mildew, which is basically a white powder that coats the leaves of the plants. It is actually made of thousands of spores, which can spread to other rosemary plants if it is not curbed. Just spray your plants with a fungicide, such as neem oil, to kill the powdery mildew before it does some real damage (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/rosemary/white-powder-on-rosemary.htm).
Q: Where does rosemary grow best?
A: Rosemary is an evergreen shrub so it can continue to grow year-round provided it grows in optimal conditions. Any spot that has well-draining soil and gets plenty of sunlight should do.
Q: Is growing rosemary easy?
A: Yes, it is as long as the soil it is planted in drains well and it gets a lot of sunlight. As a newbie, you should propagate the herb from cuttings first before using seeds. You will like the results.
Q: Can you grow rosemary indoors?
A: Yes, this herb can be grown indoors. Check out the tips mentioned above for how you can do that.
Q: Should I allow my rosemary to flower?
A: That isn’t necessary and is actually discouraged by seasoned gardeners. If you prune too late in the year, you may encourage new growth that will fail to harden before the winter. Prune it in late July and if you live in an especially warm climate, you can prune in September.
Any aspiring chef and even home cooks should have a pot of rosemary in their kitchen or at least in their garden. If you like to use it in dishes, growing your own will save you a lot of money and time which would otherwise be wasted heading to the store. Just make sure to:
- Try your hand at propagating the herb first using the method that is mentioned in this guide. The results will only encourage you.
- Water the plants sparingly.
- Keep an eye out for pests and disease and eliminate both immediately or they will spread.
If you have any questions that were not addressed in this guide, feel free to mention them in the comments below and I will get back to you.