How To Grow Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a wonderful choice for any home herb garden since it is reasonably easy to cultivate. Rosemary is a popular culinary ingredient because of its strong taste and pine-like smell. For both fresh and dry usage, the upright varieties are the best. In warm climates, rosemary may develop into a huge evergreen hedge with the appropriate soil and water conditions. It emits a pleasant minty scent to people who pass by when placed along a route or boundary.


Rosemary can be grown as an annual (completes its life cycle in 1 year) or a perennial (completes its life cycle in 3 or more years). In herb gardens, it is often planted along with thyme, oregano, sage, and lavender. When planting, choose a variety that is suitable to the climate, soil, and desired use. Most varieties grow best in well-drained, loamy, slightly acidic soil. The preferred soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. Rosemary should receive at least 6 hours of sun each day it grows best in full sun. If you plan to use rosemary as a perennial plant, choose a site that will not be disturbed by tilling.



Like most herbs, rosemary is fairly drought resistant and, if healthy enough, can tolerate a light freeze. It is most successful when grown from cuttings or transplants. Although the seed is readily available and usually inexpensive, its germination rate is usually only about 15 percent.

Rosemary can be grown from seed, but germination rates are generally quite low and seedlings are slow to grow. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to start new rosemary plants from cuttings taken from established plants. Cuttings grow quickly in good conditions and should be ready for outdoor planting in about 8 weeks.

Note: Seeds can take a long time to germinate (2 to 3 weeks), so don’t give up right away!


Too much water can cause root rot. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine when a rosemary plant needs water because its needles do not wilt as broad leaves do. On average, water rosemary every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the plant size and climate conditions. Allow the plants to dry out thoroughly between each watering.


Although rosemary resists most diseases, some cases of powdery mildew have been reported. To prevent the disease from spreading, check the plants regularly and apply the proper fungicides when needed.

You can reduce the incidence of diseases by pruning overgrown plants to improve air circulation within the plants. Pruning also stimulates them to produce new shoots.

  • Aerial blight
  • Bacterial leaf spots
  • Several types of root rot


Rosemary is fairly resistant to pests. If spider mites, mealy bugs, or scales do appear, any organic or inorganic insecticide may be used.

If the plant has scales, an easy solution is to clip off and discard the infested plant tips; scales are sedentary insects. For mealybugs, spray the plants with water, pyrethrum soap, or a soap-based insecticide.

Insects that suck plant sap are generally more prevalent in areas where too much nitrogen fertilizer has been applied. You can avoid most insect problems by fertilizing properly.


Once the plant grows to a suitable size, you can pick several small branches without harming it. Nursery plants can be harvested sooner than cuttings or seeds. Rosemary plants can be harvested several times in a season, but they should be allowed to replace their growth between harvests. Some varieties are valued for their small flowers, which are harvested for use in salads.


While rosemary blends well with other herbs, use it lightly on its own in lamb, pork, chicken, and veal dishes, as well as in soups and stews, vegetables, and sauces. Rosemary provides a wonderful flavor in bread and makes a good marinade with olive oil, wine, and garlic. Rosemary’s aromatic qualities also enhance a bath, bouquet, wreath, or sachet.


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