Remarkable for its fabulous flavor and good looks, rosemary is easy to grow in containers from cuttings.
Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 60-75 days from transplant, 90-120 days from seed
Height: 12 to 48 inches
Spacing: 2 to 3 feet apart, 3 to 6 feet between rows
Native to the Mediterranean and favored by many home gardeners, growing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is popular for its many culinary qualities. The aromatic and pungent leaves may be used fresh or dried and are traditionally paired with poultry, game, lamb and stews.
As an ornamental shrub, rosemary’s rich aroma and beautifil blue-green, needle-like foliage make it a perfect addition to borders or walkways. Plants grow well in containers with good potting soil and can be brought inside during winter months. Tender perennial shrub grows 1-4 feet tall.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family and was traditional used to strengthen memory. In fact, the ancient Greeks would put sprigs of the herb in their hair before taking exams.
Like most Mediterranean herbs, rosemary can tolerate a wide variety of soils but does best in light, well drained conditions. Plants require plenty of light and protection from frost. Rosemary thrives in containers and can be grown year-round in a sunny window. Learn about growing in containers here.
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How to Plant:
Sow seeds indoors under plant grow lights several months before setting outdoors. Germination occurs in 2-3 weeks and the seedlings grow very slowly. Do not over water. Rosemary has tender roots and care should be taken at transplanting time not to disturb them. To propagate established plants, take cuttings of semi-woody growth in spring or fall. To prevent wilting, place cuttings in water as soon as they are removed from the plant. Rosemary benefits from frequent pruning at any time of year; do not hesitate to cut it back severely (watch How to Grow an Herb Garden — video).
Harvest leaves anytime throughout the year for fresh use. Pick in the morning for best flavor. Cut 3-4 inches from one branch rather than cutting 1/2 inch from a number of branches. To dry, tie the cuttings in small bunches and hang upside down in a well-ventilated, dark room.
Insects and Disease:
Rosemary is susceptible to whitefly and spider mites. Keep an eye out for these pests and apply least-toxic, natural pest controls when necessary. Damp conditions will encourage botrytis rot. Remove infected plants to prevent spread of the disease.
Note: Rosemary is a good companion plant and is said to deter bean beetles, cabbage moth and carrot rust fly.
Seed Saving Instructions: