Growing Rosemary-Everything You Need To Know

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Have you ever tried growing rosemary? You can grow it in the ground or in pots. It has a fragrant, pungent, lavender like, evergreen woody smell. Oh, it’s fabulous! You can save so much money by drying your own rosemary, compared to those little tiny spice jars. Just think of the rosemary bread you can make or the grilled chicken with olive oil and tidbits of this herb baking on the meat. Oh my, life is good when cooking at home.

Mark and I trade off making dinner every other Sunday with some friends in our neighborhood. Their names are Brent and Kathleen. Well, Kathleen kept “snipping some rosemary” from her neighbor’s bush when she would make bread or a meat dish that needed that herb included. Well, just so you know, you may want your own bush. Here’s the deal, the neighbor thought her bush was lopped sided now because Kathleen had “snipped” it one too many times. Just giving you the heads up here. I just giggled because the bush is like five feet in diameter. Life is so good, right?

Growing Rosemary

Rosemary

I had a huge bush in my yard, but it took over the side yard so I ended up tearing it out and replacing it with a smaller bush. So keep in mind where you plant your rosemary, it’s a very prolific bush.

Rosemary Seeds or Cuttings

Most people start with cuttings, but you can plant seeds. It’s really easy to plant. Rosemary grows to about 36 inches tall, so keep that in mind when you decide where to plant a bush or two. They make a beautiful hedge around your yard if you keep it trimmed. Rosemary needs sunshine at least 6-8 hours a day to flourish. Be sure and prune them often.

It’s a perennial that thrives in Zone 7 or warmer. You can grow it in cooler areas by bringing the containers inside your home in the wintertime. It’s an evergreen plant, so that means it will stay green year round if well drained and fertilized. Please check your hardiness zone: USDA Hardiness Zone

Water when the soil is dry, but never let the soil get soggy. It must drain well in a fertile loamy soil. You may not have to fertilize because rosemary doesn’t usually need any fertilizer. If it looks pale or slightly yellow, dilute a liquid fertilizer and pour carefully around the trunk.

Each Spring you will want to compost your bushes and occasionally apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer when needed. Keep in mind too much fertilizer may damage the plant. In other words, these bushes are easy to grow with very little care needed.

Seeds:

You have to be patient when planting seeds. They may take up to 25 days to germinate. Some people give up too early and just plant cuttings. But you can plant seeds if you plant them indoors and transfer the seedlings outside after hardening the plants. This is where I buy my seeds: SeedsNow

Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and just barely cover them with seedling soil. Water them in, and water when the soil dries out. Be sure and plant more seeds than normal because so many will probably not make it. That’s how this herb rolls.

They prefer temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees. The interesting thing about this plant is the fact that they do not require a lot of water. If you water them too much they may become woody and not as beautiful and fragrant. It will get to the point that you will water them every 1-3 weeks once established.

Days to Maturity: 80-90 days.

Rosemary pH Level: 5.5 to 6.0

Cuttings

Look for green branches (not old brown skinny ones), and cut some clippings about 5-6 inches long and put them in jars with some water. Change the tap water every day. In about 6-8 weeks you should see a few roots growing. I use clear mason jars so I can see the roots and know when they are ready to plant outside.

Be sure and clip a few extra cuttings in case some do not sprout roots. You can always buy some small plants at your local nursery store, but if you have a neighbor who will give you some cuttings, that’s the way to do it.

Can I Grow Rosemary In Pots?

Yes, you can grow it in the ground, in pots or in raised garden beds. Keep in mind it spreads like crazy. Keep it trimmed as it grows or you may have an oversized plant! It looks beautiful on the porch in small or big pots. As it grows you will need to transplant them to larger pots. If you can see that the plant is root-bound it’s time to transplant. Never cut off more than 25% of the plant to keep it healthy and thriving.

Can We Eat The Rosemary Flowers?

Here’s the deal with the flowers, they may be eaten, in case you didn’t know that. Some people like the rosemary picked after the flowers bloom and some prefer the cuttings before they bloom. It’s a personal preference as to how intense the flavor they desire.

The flowers are great for early food pollinators and and those wonderful Hummingbirds we all wait for each year!

Rosemary

How Do I Harvest Rosemary?

All you need is a good pair of garden scissors to snip off what you want to dry, dehydrate or freeze. You can see in this picture below how green this bush is, it’s a perfect time to snip.

Can I Dehydrate/Dry Rosemary?

It’s really easy to dry rosemary as shown below in the middle. On the left is Thyme, and Oregano is on the far right. All you do is tie them up in twine or string and let the air blow around them for several days or weeks. If you want to dehydrate it, snip some cuttings or branches. Do not wash the sprigs. Place the branches on the racks of your dehydrator.

I have an Excalibur dehydrator and it states to set the temperature at 95 degrees F and dry them until they are crisp to the touch. The length of time to dry will always depend on the humidity in the room where you are dehydrating them. Please check your dehydrator brand for the temperature they suggest. Excalibur Dehydrator

After they are completely dry you run your finger along the stem and the needles just flip off. I store mine in mason jars for a year using my FoodSaver. After that, I start all over again with fresh ones the following year. FoodSaver

What Does Rosemary Look Like Dried?

This is what it looks like after you dry it. You can use a rolling pin to finely crush the seeds when you need them.

Final Word

My hope today is that this post helps motivate you to plant some Rosemary seeds or cuttings in your yard. There’s something awesome about growing our own food, and this one is super easy to grow. If you have the right temperatures you can grow this year round. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

Vegetables to Grow In April

Vegetables to Grow In May

This is where I buy my seeds: SeedsNow

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12 thoughts on “Growing Rosemary-Everything You Need To Know

  • April 16, 2019 at 7:27 am
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    Linda ~ I love rosemary!

    So, I live on the west side of the state of Washington. It can get VERY wet here! I planted rosemary at a home I lived in for several years. When you say plant it where it gets good drainage – I am here to say that it will still thrive if the soil stays pretty wet year round! It was planted in an area that did not drain well! That being said, my plant never got to the size you talk about. It was only about 24 inches tall but put out a lot of great stems!!

    I not only dried the rosemary but I also kept the stems that I cut – you know, the woodier stems, stripped of leaves. I just kept them in a paper bag in the cupboard. You are probably wondering why!! Well, a friend of a friend told me that the woody stems can be used as skewers for kabobs for the grill. So, I tried it and those stems did impart the flavor of rosemary to the meat. It was especially great for lamb kabobs but I used them with chicken and beef as well! So – as with any woody skewer, you MUST soak them for some time and keep an eye on the kabobs on the grill. A great way if you grill a lot.

    Reply
    • April 16, 2019 at 9:05 am
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      Hi Leanne, oh my gosh, what a great tip on the rosemary skewers!! I think rosemary must be like a weed, it will grow anywhere!! Linda

      Reply
  • April 16, 2019 at 7:46 am
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    While rosemary definitely thrives in warmer climates (we saw it all over Las Vegas when we were there in February), it can be grown in Zone 6 as well, which is where I am. It’s woodier, but it’s been doing well for at least six years. I’m in the high desert of Northern Nevada on the side of a mountain, and I grow more rosemary than I will ever use.

    Rosemary has been used medicinally for centuries, and science has started to sit up and take notice. It works synergistically with ciprofloxacin and Tylenol-3. It alleviates the pain of opioid withdrawal. It repels ticks and mosquitoes. And so much more.

    And while essential oils are all the rage, there are other ways to use rosemary medicinally–teas, tinctures, washes, and salves.

    Information and web addresses are available on my blog PrepSchoolDaily dot blogspot dot com. The post on rosemary appeared April 8, 2019; just scroll down on the right and click.

    Reply
    • April 16, 2019 at 9:07 am
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      Hi Jennifer, great comment, your article is awesome as well! It sounds like we should all grow rosemary! Great comment! Linda

      Reply
  • April 16, 2019 at 8:47 am
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    I loved your Rosemary post! I am by no means a spring chicken any longer, but still learning everyday. Your posts are really helpful to those of us who didn’t have a mother or grandmother to fill us in on these sort of things. I always look forward to reading your articles and thank you for the time that you put into writing them!

    I also wanted to share a tip that has helped my tremendously this year. We live in MN and I keep a potted rosemary that I bring outdoors in the summer. In the winter my plant gets pretty sad looking and I’ve always wondered why. The leaves curl up and the ends turn brown. Just this winter I found out that Rosemary thrives in humid weather on rocky ledges where it is misted by the sea. If you are like me and do not live remotely close to the sea, you can mimic this by misting your Rosemary plant every few days with a mixture of warm water and a 1/8tsp Epsom salt in a spray bottle. It has done wonders for my plant!! Just thought I would share that tip, for anyone who might need it.

    Reply
    • April 16, 2019 at 1:15 pm
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      Hi Finn, oh wow, this is a great tip! I have a tree in my yard that I have to pour Epson Salt on the base every year! Thank you so much! Linda

      Reply
  • April 16, 2019 at 9:38 am
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    Hi, Linda, another thing to do with fresh rosemary is to fry small stems in hot oil, then salt and pick off the leaves and eat like a very flavorful popcorn-type snack. Great low carb treat!

    Reply
    • April 16, 2019 at 1:13 pm
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      Hi Jan, oh my gosh, I have got to try this!! It sounds yummy! Linda

      Reply
  • April 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm
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    I lost my rosemary plant this winter. It was on an enclosed porch, but 14 below outside made it a bit chilly on the porch. 🙂 I kept it in a large container that I watered from the bottom. It did very well. Your post has encouraged me to get more plants and start again.

    Reply
    • April 16, 2019 at 7:02 pm
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      Hi Diana, oh my gosh the winter was brutal everywhere this past year!! Oh my goodness, 14 below, yikes!!!! Hopefully, the weather won’t be that cold next year!! Linda

      Reply
  • April 21, 2019 at 1:10 pm
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    Linda, I had a neighbor growing up who had these lovely bushes ALL over their property. Lining the walkway and next to the porch and along the fence row…everywhere. I didn’t pay much attention (as a kid) until I arrived at the house just after a rain. And I found out that magic happens when rain hits many bushes of rosemary. It smelled so heavenly in the air. I mentioned it to the neighbor and after a rain they liked to open up their windows and bring that scented air in. It was lovely. All you need do is touch Rosemary and the smell comes off in your hands. If it rains on many rosemary plants, the smell is heavy in the air. Very lovely. Better than any air cleaner or freshener ever.

    Reply
    • April 21, 2019 at 3:02 pm
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      Hi Debbie, oh my gosh, I have got to go out after it rains. Our neighborhood has Rosemary everywhere. And they are flowering with little purple/blue flowers. I need to go get a whiff, it sounds fabulous! Great tip! Linda

      Reply

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