Grow rosemary in the garden

Grow rosemary in the garden

Rosemary is one of the most classic aromas used in traditional cuisine, excellent both for flavoring meat and for cooking vegetables (especially legumes and potatoes). Whether in a pot or in the garden, there should be a plant within easy reach of any kitchen.

It is a very resistant plant and therefore very easy to grow, it is part of the lamiaceae family, just like basil and sage.

Below we learn how this aromatic is grown officinale: sowing, cutting, pruning, harvesting and all that is needed to keep the plant healthy.

The rosemary plant

Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) is an evergreen perennial shrub which forms small bushes that are easy to keep tidy, so it can easily occupy a corner in the garden or make a good show on the balcony. It is best to have it near the kitchen so that you can pick a sprig if necessary and use it directly. The leaves of this aromatic plant are characteristic, narrow and long, and are the most fragrant parts, so they are used as a spice. The white to purple rosemary flowers appear in spring and are as edible as the leaves.

The soil and climate suitable for rosemary

Climate. Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant, it loves heat and good sun exposure. However, it also adapts well to being kept in partial shade and resists the cold, it can also be grown in the mountains. It can be damaged by long lasting frosts.

Ground. It is a very cultivation adaptable, which prefers dry and loose earth, is not particularly afraid of drought. It is therefore good for a sandy bottom that is draining, it does not need a great wealth of organic matter, it is instead important that the soil where this aromatic herb is grown is not too humid. If you want to grow rosemary in a very compact and clayey soil, it is better to mix a little sand before planting it, in order to make the soil lighter and more draining.

Start cultivating

The evergreen rosemary plant can be sown in various ways: starting from the seed but also by cutting or offshoot.

Sow the rosemary

Sowing rosemary is possible, but little used. Since this aroma develops easily by rooting the cutting or by partitioning the tufts, it makes little sense to invest time in germinating the seeds. Wanting to sow anyway the correct time to do this is spring, so that the plant can then grow in a temperate climate.

Rosemary cutting

Multiplying rosemary plants is very simple, that's enough take a sprig of about 10/15 cm in length from an existing plant, better to choose it in the lower part of the plant, as close as possible to the roots. At this point the leaves are removed, leaving them only on the top and peel the bark at the base of the branch a little, where it will have to root. Expect the roots to appear by leaving the branch in water (3 -7 days) and then plant it in pots. Once you have the rosemary seedling you can do it open field transplantation, or transfer it to a larger pot if you want to keep it on the balcony. As a period, the twigs for the cutting can be detached at any time, but better if the climate is mild, the same goes for transplanting, which is advisable to do in spring (northern Italy) or autumn (south and hot areas).

Sixth of implant

Rosemary is a bushy shrub, generally in the home garden only one plant is put on, which should be enough to meet the family's needs regarding this spice. If you want to grow rosemary by putting more than one plant, it is better to keep 50/70 cm of distance between one bush and another. In the garden you can also create flower beds or small hedges of rosemary.

How to grow rosemary

Rosemary officinale is one of the most popular plants easy to grow from the garden: being perennial it does not need to be sown every year and consequently occupies a fixed place. The care it requires are very few. The plant is always green, but stops growing with excessive heat (aestivation) if grown in warm areas or during the winter where the climate is more rigid.

Irrigation. Rosemary loves arid climates and is often satisfied with the humidity of the air. It requires constant watering during its first year of life, then we work by wetting only in periods of heat and dryness and in any case with much moderation. In any case, the plant should never be too wet, to avoid root rot.

Fertilization. This is not a necessary operation, it can help a supply of nutrients once or twice a year, favoring slow release fertilizers (not liquid fertilizers). The supply of nitrogen and potassium is useful for promoting blooms.

Diseases and parasites. Rosemary is not very afraid of adversity, if you avoid the stagnations that cause root rot, problems will hardly occur.

Grow rosemary in pots

This medicinal plant is also perfect for growing on the balcony, we have dedicated an article just to potted rosemary. The size of the pot can be variable in relation to the size of the plant. If you have the possibility, it is better to choose a large pot, which will require less watering and will allow the rosemary to develop better. The earth to be used must be loose and draining (peat mixed with sand for example) and a gravel or expanded clay base to ensure the water runs off is always a good precaution. It is a plant to be watered rarely (every 10-15 days) and it is better not to have the saucer which forms potentially harmful stagnations.

Pruning of rosemary

No special pruning is needed for the rosemary plant, the branches can be cut for adjust the size of the shrub. This plant does not particularly suffer when pruned.

The harvest of rosemary

This aromatic is collected when needed, cutting the tops of the branches of the plant. Rosemary can be picked all year round, even during flowering (the flowers themselves are edible). The harvest also serves to maintain the size of the plant and to stimulate the regrowth of the shoots.

Storage and use in the kitchen

Being an evergreen aromatic, conservation is not a problem that arises for those who grow rosemary in the garden or in pots. Whenever you need you can take a sprig of rosemary and use it directly in the kitchen. It is still possible dry this spice, which quite retains its aroma. Chopping dry rosemary together with other spices and salt can make an excellent seasoning for roasts, meat and fish.

Medicinal plant: properties of rosemary

Rosemary is a medicinal plant that contains in its leaves essential oils and has useful properties for the body. In particular this spice, like several other aromatics, is said to have excellent digestive properties and in general a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal system. It also speaks, among the various benefits, of a toning action, deodorant properties and promoting diuresis.

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Matteo Cereda2020-06-10T22: 36: 42 + 02: 00
  1. Giacomo30 March 2017 at 8:50

    Very well done and comprehensive

  2. vincenzo di Leonardo5 June 2017 at 16:20

    So if my plant struggles to grow and loses the underlying leaves remaining with stripped tufts and the leaves are lightening and falling does it mean that it suffers from too much humidity?

    • Matteo Cereda6 June 2017 at 14:25

      Hi Vincenzo, the causes can be different: too much water (or water stagnation), excess or lack of fertilization, lack of light, soil infested with nematodes. I advise you to weed and check the drainage of the earth, if you grow in pots, it is better to repot with new soil.

  3. Serena1 March 2020 at 16:04

    I found this article very interesting. You gave me a nice idea to create a hedge in my garden. I have just sown some seeds in the seedbed. How fast does it grow? How long will I have to wait before I can take the first twigs?

    • Matteo Cereda1 March 2020 at 22:24

      Hi Serena, Starting from the seed it is long to have some twigs (2 years) and to have a decent hedge 4 or 5. I suggest you start by buying a seedling or picking up twigs and then making cutting from someone who has a fairly rich bush.

  4. Joseph2 May 2020 at 14:49

    Very interesting and useful article.

  5. Ezio Tancini27 August 2020 at 16:01

    A thriving rosemary bush over two years old, about two meters wide, placed at the corner of a field surrounded by a concrete wall, withered almost suddenly in a hot and rainless period. after pouring some water thinking of reviving it and maybe it did the opposite effect, There are still some green branches .. What to do? Is it better to prune all the dried part? Are dry branches to throw away? Thanks in advance for any reply…!

    • Matteo Cereda30 August 2020 at 21:53

      Hi Ezio, certainly the dry branches must be eliminated, while the green parts should recover (rosemary generally resists well). You can throw away the dried parts, but if you want to take the leaves to use as a flavoring, you can.

  6. Tonino1 September 2020 at 8:05

    Very detailed and easy to read article, already complete with every answer to the various questions that could be asked.
    Good job.

  7. Maurizio3 September 2020 at 14:53

    Good evening, site well done. Congratulations, I have a bush that is a couple of years old, it grows little, does not bloom and has a dull color and I give it very little water. I have tried several fertilizers without improvement… would you have one to recommend me name and brand? Thanks

    • Matteo Cereda6 September 2020 at 9:57

      Hi Maurizio, as fertilizer you can use compost or mature manure, but also try with self-produced nettle macerate. An excellent product on the market is Natural Booster. Your rosemary may not have fertilizer problems, also check climate and sun exposure.

  8. Daniela Morolli13 September 2020 at 9:05

    I have a hedge of prostrate rosemary in some places it dries up completely in the oldest woody part and in others it grows luxuriantly. Summer is irrigated every evening with a drip system. I live in Puglia in Otranto where it is very hot and there is always wind. What can I do to not have these empty holes in the hedge. What can it depend on?

    • Matteo Cereda14 September 2020 at 17:08

      Hi Daniela, unfortunately I know too little about your plant to give you an answer. Pruning can certainly help keep the plant young and stimulate tough new branches, but it may not be your remedy.

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Video: How To Grow Rosemary From Cuttings, Two Ways, BOTH Easy!