Native to the Mediterranean, home herb gardeners are growing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) for its many culinary qualities. The aromatic and pungent leaves are used fresh or dried and add a piney hit to potatoes, meat, stuffing, breads and stews.
Rosemary shrubs, with their rich aroma and beautiful blue-green, needle-like foliage, are a perfect addition to borders and walkways. Cold-sensitive plants can be grown outdoors during summer months (zones 7 and under) or indoors year-round in pots and containers. Do NOT overwater. Rosemary develops woody stems and grows to 12-48 inches depending on conditions.
Fun fact: Rosemary was traditionally used to strengthen memory. In fact, the ancient Greeks would put sprigs of the herb in their hair before taking exams.
All the heirloom herb seed offered by Planet Natural is non-treated, non-GMO and NOT purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis. Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!
Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Harvesting Rosemary
- A savory favorite for hundreds of years for culinary and medicinal purposes
- Start seeds indoors or take cuttings from an established plant
- Seed germination takes 2-3 weeks — be patient
- Plant in soil that drains easily located in full sun
- Use fresh or dried
- Pests include whitefly, spider mites and botrytis rot
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
Like most culinary herbs, rosemary can tolerate many soil types but does best in light, well-drained conditions. Plants require plenty of sunshine and protection from frost. Rosemary thrives in containers and can be grown year-round on a sunny windowsill. It is a great companion plant with broccoli, cabbage cauliflower and carrots.
How to Plant
Sow rosemary seeds indoors under plant lights several months before setting outdoors. Germination occurs in 2-3 weeks and the seedlings grow very slowly. Plants have tender roots — care should be taken at transplant time to not disturb them.
Propagate from cuttings in spring or fall. To prevent wilting, place cuttings in water as soon as they are removed. Plants benefit from frequent pruning; do not hesitate to cut them back severely (watch our video How to Grow an Herb Garden).
Harvesting and Storage
Harvest rosemary 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.
Insect & Disease Problems
Rosemary plants are susceptible to whitefly and spider mite damage. Keep an eye out for these destructive garden pests and apply least-toxic, natural pest controls when necessary. Damp conditions will encourage botrytis rot. Remove infected plants to prevent spread of the fungal disease.
Eric Vinje founded Planet Natural with his father Wayne in 1991, originally running it as a grasshopper bait mail-order business out of a garage.
Eric is now retired, but is still a renowned gardener known for his expertise in composting, organic gardening and pest control, utilizing pesticide-free options, such as beneficial insects.
Eric believes when you do something good for the environment, the effects will benefit generations to come.
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