The rosemary plant, a fragrant, delicious excellent herb to grow, either potted indoors or outside in the garden. This easy to grow herb, once established, will thrive for years without problems. Read on to learn how to plant, and care for rosemary.
The Rosemary Herb In The Garden
Described as a woody stemmed plant and needle-like leaves, rosemary reaches heights of three feet, eventually stretching to five feet in warmer climate areas. In zone 8 and lower, this evergreen shrub with brilliant pale blue flowers makes a very beautiful hedge.
The flowers persist through spring and summer filling the air with a nice piney fragrance. Rosemary will grow in zone 7 and other colder zones. In areas with extremely cold winters, grow rosemary in a container you can bring inside.
The scientific name, Rosmarinus Officinalis, translates to “Mist of the Sea“ its gray-green foliage resembling the Mediterranean cliffs, where it originated.
Growing Rosemary Plants
This shrub grows easily from a cutting rather than planting seeds. Provide rosemary with a well-drained, preferably sandy soil and at least 6-8 hours of sunlight.
Rosemary plants thrive well in warm and humid environments, and does not like extremely low temperatures (below 30 degrees Fahrenheit).
When selecting pots for planting, terra cotta pots make a excellent choice since rosemary prefers to remain on the dry side. Terra cotta containers allow the plant to dry out fast.
Water plants thoroughly when the soil dry’s but allow the plant to dry out between watering intervals. Remember even when growing rosemary indoors, the plant requires lots of light, at least six hours daily. Make sure to place plant’s in a suitable location free of drafts.
How To Start Rosemary
The rosemary seeds take long to germinate. Make things easier, and start with a nursery grown plant.
Propagation and Planting
Snip 6 inch cuttings from new growth on an established plant
Remove the bottom leaves the bottom 3 inches, dip the base into a rooting hormone
Place the cutting into a container with a dampened, well-draining seed starting soil mix. Equal parts perlite, and peat moss does well.
- Place the pots in a warm spot receiving direct light
- Mist cuttings to dampen soil daily, make sure soil does not dry out
- Check for root growth in 2-3 weeks by turning the cutting gently
- Once cutting develops roots, plant outdoors or in individuals pots.
- When planting outdoors, space plants 18 to 24 inches apart
- To encourage branching, pinch out the top of young plants
Fiberfarm.com wanted a hedge of rosemary and put together a plan over 5 years to accomplish it. Instead of buying a bunch of plants they decided to propagate their own. They share it all with lots of pictures here.
Tips On Caring For Rosemary
Water rosemary deeply once or twice a week depending on weather conditions. Allow plants to dry between watering.
Not heavy feeders, rosemary plants enjoy a periodic foliar feeding with fish emulsion will keep plants looking evergreen. In spring, get plants off a good start by fertilizing with a slow releasing fertilizer.
Pests And Diseases
The biggest problem affecting rosemary is Powdery mildew. The white powdery fungus tends to develop in humid areas with low air circulation. Although the powdery mildew will not kill the plant, it will weaken it considerably. Keep the humidity down by allowing the area or container to dry out between watering.
Be on the lookout for spider mites and aphids. These pests love invading the plant with their attacks intensifying during the winter. Inspect plants and control the pests before they get out of hand. Successfully control the pests by repeated spraying with insecticidal soap.
How To Prune Rosemary
Pruning helps make plants bushier. Rosemary enjoys a trim every so often. The general rule of pruning… prune no more than 1/3 of the plant at any time. Always make cuts just above a leaf joint.
While fresh rosemary blends well with other herbs, use it lightly on its own with pork, chicken, lamb and veal dishes as well as in stews, with vegetables and soups. Besides, rosemary provides a wonderful flavor in bread, and makes an excellent marinade with wine, olive oil, and garlic. Also, rosemary oil as an essential oil provides many aromatic qualities to enhance a bath, wreath, bouquet or sachet.
Add A Tasty Botanical Trick To Your Next Cookout
Looking for an exciting new spice secret when grilling? Try the taste of rosemary with your next grilled meat dish. The cool trick, use the strong rosemary stems to act as skewers by themselves, and impart a wonder flavor on the meats they hold.
Harvest 10″ inch rosemary shoots from the garden, skin off most of the leaves, soak for 30 minutes, and then skewer the meats as usual. Simple yet tasty. More here.
Great Varieties To Grow
Rosemary flowers come in a variety of shades including pink, white and blue
- Nancy Howard – A large variety that develops off- white flowers
- Blue Lady – Violet blue flowers with a twisted growth habit
- Pinkie – A dwarf variety with small leaves and pink flowers
Best Varieties To Grow In Pots
- Golden Rain – A compact and small variety, new foliage with a weeping habit and light yellow marking that eventually darkens to green.
- Blue Boy – A small bush rosemary with small leaves growing in clusters.
Spice Island, Tuscan Blue and Miss Jessup are excellent choices for cooks. These varieties grow large along with large leaves, reaching 5-7 feet. Very fragrant and hold their flavors when dried or cooked.