Rosemary Plant: How To Grow Rosemary

Rosemary is a perennial herb with blue flowers. It has a sweet, resinous flavor.

One rosemary plant is enough for cooking and scenting the kitchen. However, if you live in an area where they thrive, you could have an entire garden of the plant.

These herbs are also used as ornamental plants due to their beautiful blue flowers and attractive scent.

Here I’ll explain how to grow rosemary and harvest rosemary.

When to plant 

If you live in a warm climate, you can plant anytime. For winter climate, plant them in spring after the soil warms up at least a week or show after the last frost.

When planted in the warm season, they take nearly two years to reach mature size and start flowering in the second season.

Popular varieties

  • ‘Rosmarinus prostratus’ is a low-growing trailing variety that grows up to 3 feet tall. Their flowers are a deeper blue than other varieties.
  • ‘Tuscan Blue’ grows 6 feet tall or more and has dark blue flowers 
  • ‘Albus’ has a white color bloom.
  • ‘Collingwood Ingram’ is 2-3 feet tall and has curved stems.
  • ‘Lockwood de forest’ has dark blue flowers and grows 18 to 24 inches tall.

Why propagate from stem cutting

Growing rosemary from stem cutting has many benefits vs starting from stem cutting.

Rosemary

Some of the benefits are here:

Earlier harvest: A rooted rosemary plant from cutting takes less time to get mature than a plant started from seed. Rosemary seeds have a low germination rate and can take months to sprout from the soil.

But, if you grow from stem cutting the plant will reach a usable size in just a few months, so that you will be able to harvest sooner.

Similarity: the plant grown from stem cutting will have the exact same copy of its parent plant with a similar smell and flavor whereas from seeds it is not necessary it will be exactly the same. As there are various cultivars in the market that develop by hybridization.

Grow multiple plants: You can grow multiple plants from a single rosemary plant in different pots. To place them everywhere in the house for a pleasant fragrance.

Related post: CHIVES: How to grow, care and harvest chives at home

How to propagate from stem cutting

Rosemary

  • Cut 5-6 inches long stem cutting from the parent plant. Stem cutting should be fresh, avoid dry stem.
  • Snip off lower leaves from the stem cuttings. clear up to 2 inches from the bottom.
  • Put the stem cutting in a half-filled water glass. No leaves should be underwater.
  • Place the water glass in a warm spot away from direct sunlight.
  • Change water every week, freshwater provides dissolved oxygen and prevents the cutting from rooting.
  • Rosemary stem cuttings take a few weeks to more new roots. Wait for 4-8 weeks if the stem cutting survives and it will grow new roots. If stem cutting turns brown and sheds the needle it will not survive.
  • When 2 inches of roots have grown then it’s time to plant. 
  • Use a medium-sized pot that has adequate drainage holes.
  • Put small rocks or stones at the bottom of the pot for good air circulation.
  • Plant in sandy soil that drains wells. Mix sandy soil with an equal proportion of potting soil.
  • Fill the pot with soil and make a hole at the center using a pencil.
  • Place the cutting roots in the hole, cover gently with the soil, so that no roots get visible.
  • Water thoroughly till water starts flowing from the bottom.
  • Place the newly planted pot in indirect light or filtered sunlight till roots become established.

The plant generally takes a month to get settled at a new place. After a month, replace the pot in a spot where it receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Water regularly to keep the soil moist.

How To Grow Rosemary Plant

Rosemary is easy to grow herbs that have many health benefits.

Rosemary

Good site

They can grow indoors in pots as well as outdoors in the garden. 

To grow evergreen rosemary first you have to choose a good site. Most rosemary varieties grow best in sites where the soil is well-drained, loamy, slightly acidic.  

Prefer soil pH is between 6.0 to 7.0, you can know pH of your garden soil by doing a simple pH test.

The plant likes to grow in full sun. Make sure it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

If you are willing to grow the herb as perennial do not disturb it by tilling. Tilling destroys the natural structure of the soil that makes the soil more prone to compaction.

Related post: Anise-hyssop: how to grow, care and harvest for anise hyssop.

Soil preparation

  • Remove all rocks, weed plants, shrubs, and tree roots from the spot to be planted.
  • Check the fertility level of the area. If you find soil pH is too low add lime to make it more alkaline. Skip the test if you have grown plants prior to the garden.
  • Add about 4 inches of organic matter or compost on the surface and pitch it 6 to 8 inches in depth with a pitchfork or rototiller.
  • For better drainage, raised or slightly mound beds around the herb.

Fertilizer

Rosemary rarely needs fertilizer. But, if the plant looks dry or gets stunted or leaves turn into pale yellow, feed fertilizer once in the early spring before new growth.

It does well with dry as well as liquid fertilizer as long as it applied correctly. Apply fertilizer directly around the base of the herb. Applying fertilizer onto the plant can cause leaf burn.

Watering

Adequate watering is essential for plant growth. Most of the time gardeners overwater that cause root rot or fungal disease on the plant.

  • To avoid this water only when to see base soil get dried. Let the plant get dry thoroughly before water.
  • On average rosemary plants require watering every 1-2 weeks, depending upon the plant size and climate condition.
  • If the climate is extremely hot, especially in summer, they need to water more frequently. 
  • If your plant leaves turn brown-yellow or look wilt, it is a signal that they are not getting enough water.
  • Adding water onto the plant may cause fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. To avoid this water directly on the base. 
  • If you have planted in a pot or container, once week water thoroughly till water runs out from drainage holes. 

Pests and diseases

Rosemary are resistant to most of the pests and diseases but some cases of powdery mildew are reported. 

  • This fungal infection is transmitted through air or water. To avoid it make sure the plant is getting proper air circulation.
  • Some plants get overcrowded with plants. Prune nearby plants or shrubs or a few branches of the plant itself to create good circulation with the plant. 
  • It also occurs if you overwater the plant. To prevent this water only when the soil looks dry.
  • Fungal diseases are not a big issue as it does not kill the plant. But to prevent this apply fungicides to the plant when needed.
  • This herb is fairly resistant to pests such as spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, or scales. But, if they do appear, any organic or inorganic pesticide can be used.
  • Cut leaves, small visible insects, and a web within the plants are a few signs of their existence. You can also apply homemade neem oil for a quick fix.

Harvest Rosemary Plants

When to harvest: You can snip off leaves whenever you need them. However, rosemary foliage is more aromatic just before blooming. 

How to harvest: Use a sharp gardening shear for pruning. Cut 4- 6 inches of stem from where you want to snip leaves.  You can also snip leaves without stem cutting when plenty of leaves are needed in the kitchen. 

Stem cutting encourages new growth. But, never cut or prune more than one-third of the plant at a time; severe pruning will stress the plant.

Related post: Mexican oregano: How to grow, care and harvest Mexican oregano herb.

Uses

Flavor: Rosemary has a mild camphor flavor. If you use excessive amounts, it will give an acrid taste. Add a small amount then adjust to taste.

Leaves: You can use leaves in sauces, soups, stews, and also meat and poultry dishes. Add it in tomatoes, spinach, peas, mushroom, squash, cheese, and eggs to enhance their flavor. Eat leaves with marinades, salad dressing, and cream sauces.

Stems: Toss the rosemary stem in coal to flavor barbeques just before the meat finishes; the smoke will add the flavor of rosemary to the meat. You can also use stems as a brush to apply barbeque sauce on chickens.

Flowers: They can be sprinkled on salads or used in cheese spreads or herb butter.

Culinary compliments: Rosemary compliments chives, chervil, thyme, parsley and bay.

How to Dry

Rosemary leaves are dried to be stored for a longer time. You can dry by setting the leaves on-screen or plat under a shady, warm place. Or gather bunches and hang them upside down in a shady, warm place for two-three days. 

Dry them in sunnier climates, rainy or cloudy weather is definitely not a good idea.

How to store

Store the dried leaves of rosemary in an airtight container. Moisture will make the leaves tasteless or wilt.

Keep the air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer when it will stay fresh for as long as two weeks. After that their taste starts fading.

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you: which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant growing tip. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

P.S. I myself reply to every comment

Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.

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