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How to Grow Rosemary in 2021

How to Grow Rosemary in 2021 will show you the tips on how to grow this highly aromatic Mediterranean herb that you’ll use in your culinary dishes, homemade crafts, and tea.

If you’re looking for more ideas on creating your garden, How to Grow a Tea Garden and Starting a Mint Garden.

How to Grow Rosemary - A Beginner's Guide - flowering rosemary tops

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean and is used for medicinal and culinary dishes for thousands of years.  Its name means “dew of the sea.”

The influx of Italians to America made rosemary a familiar herb in everyone’s pantry.

Rosemary is an evergreen bush, with silvery green leaves that are highly aromatic and beautiful blue flowers.

Some rosemary plant varieties have pink flowers.

“Fingers now scented with sage and rosemary, a kneeling gardener is lost in savory memories.”

Dr. Sun Wolf

Don’t you love that quote by Sun Wolf?  One of my favorite things about rosemary is that it has such a heavy scent.

I have a large rosemary topiary shaped like a Christmas tree on my front porch, and every time I touch it, the scent fills the air.

While I was writing this article on growing rosemary, I happened to be watching an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass on cooking.

If you don’t know what Masterclass is, you pay one fee annually and you have access to all of the classes taught by professionals in each category. You can find out more about it here.

How to Grow Rosemary - Rosemary bundled with twine

He said, “How do we elevate food beyond belief?  We use a fragrance, a chef’s fragrance – herbs.”

He talked about the fact that all significant chefs grow their own herbs because herbs lose their flavor after 24 hours of cutting.

Then Gordon Ramsey called rosemary “the mother of all herbs.”  He said rosemary is one of the most used herbs on the planet.

He even uses the rosemary stem to pierce through meat while it’s cooking and removes it when the dish is ready for a richer taste.

If the third wealthiest celebrity chef in the world is in love with rosemary,  it’s worth it for us home cooks to have for flavoring our dishes.

Not only does fresh rosemary flavor our food and drinks, but it adds good-for-us antioxidants that help us fight off disease.  Fresh herbs are better than dried herbs for our health, according to herbalists.

What’s  more, it’s hardy and easy to grow.  Rosemary is the perfect herb to grow in your kitchen garden.

The Greeks and Egyptians have always prized rosemary for its culinary and medicinal uses.  It has symbolized temperance, love, friendship, and loyalty.

Rosemary was also worn in bridal wreaths to symbolize fidelity.

Infused Rosemary Oil - Benefits of Growing Rosemary

Benefits of Growing Rosemary 

Rosemary is a hearty herb that even a novice gardener can grow.

Before sugar became widely available, rosemary was planted in bee gardens.  Their beautiful blue flowers attracted honey bees and became an essential part of securing honey.

Gardeners now plant rosemary to attract honey bees to pollinate their gardens.  Rosemary was one of the first herbs to be used medicinally.  It’s associated with numerous health benefits.

It’s used to help treat fatigue, colds, flu, boost circulation, aid in digestion, help improve memory and help with headaches.

Rosemary oil will help treat muscle pain because it brings the blood to surface when rubbed on the skin and helps reduce inflammation.

Rosemary-infused oil is also used on cuts and sores to help the healing process.

You can also use rosemary in your bath to help with aching joints and itchiness.

Rosemary is harvested all year long when adequately cared for.

Creating a fragrant garden will enhance your home and you and your family’s life.

Nutritional Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary has iron, manganese, bioflavonoids, and calcium.

Large Rosemary Bush with Blue flowers - How to Grow Rosemary

Rosemary is for Remembrance 

There’s a compound in rosemary called rosmarinic acid.  It improves circulation.

It helps increase the flow of blood to the brain.  Just having rosemary in your office will help with concentration and alertness.

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Since you’re interested in how to grow rosemary, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 57,000 like-minded souls.

It’s a group where we share recipes, pictures of things that leave you in awe, and ideas on how to make your life just a little bit more snug.  Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

Bundle of Rosemary Tied with jute

Here are the How to Grow Rosemary Tips:

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Height: 1-5 feet

Light: Full Sun – it should get at least six hours of sunlight per day

Soil pH: Between 6.0 and 7.0

Hardiness: zones 7-9

You can grow rosemary in zone 6 if you provide winter protection.

You can find your garden zone here on Garden.org.  Put in your zip code, and it will give you your zone.

Spring and summer are the peak seasons for production, but rosemary can produce all year long.

Tip #1 – Rosemary is a perennial

How to Grow Rosemary in Pots

Rosemary will do well as a perennial in areas with mild winters and is an evergreen herb.  It won’t survive in places where the temperatures dip below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in a colder climate and the temperature gets below freezing, make sure you bring your rosemary plant inside to winter.

To get your rosemary plant used to having less light, start by moving the plant into the partial shade for two weeks.  After that period, place the plant in the deeper shade for a week.  Your rosemary bush is now ready to be moved indoors.

Your rosemary plant will get more sunlight if you place the plant in a south-facing window.  Please keep it in an area with temperatures in the low 60s and keep rosemary watered when the soil becomes dry.

Another possibility is to grow your rosemary in a high tunnel if you live in one of the northern states.

Growing Rosemary Outdoors - Overhead photo of rosemary

Tip #2 – Planting Rosemary

The best time to plant rosemary is in the spring.  If you live in the south or zone 8, you can also plant rosemary in the fall.

Pick a sunny location that has well-draining soil.  Rosemary can get root rot if it’s planted in soil that is too wet.

An easy soil drainage test will indicate if the spot you have picked for planting your rosemary is the right place.

Dig a hole that is approximately 14 inches wide by 14 inches deep and fill it with water.  Allow the hole to drain.

After the hole drains, fill it again with more water.  If it takes a day or less to drain the second time, you’ve picked the right spot for correct drainage.

Space your plants 2-3 feet apart.  I would recommend 3 feet because rosemary bushes can grow pretty big with the right conditions.

Tip #3 – Design Ideas 

Growing Rosemary and Shaping it into a topiary

Tip #4 – Planting Rosemary

The best time to plant rosemary is in the spring.  If you live in the south or in zone 8 you can also plant rosemary in the fall.

Pick a sunny location that has well-draining soil.  Rosemary can get root rot if its planted in soil that is too wet.

An easy soil drainage test will indicate if the spot you have picked for planting your rosemary is the right place.

Dig a hole that is approximately 14 inches wide by 14 inches deep and fill it with water.  Allow the hole to drain.

After the hole drains, fill it again with more water.  If it takes a day or less to drain the second time, you’ve picked the right spot for correct drainage.

Space your plants 2-3 feet apart.  I would recommend 3 feet because rosemary bushes can grow pretty big with the right conditions.

Growing Rosemary from Cuttings - Placing rosemary in a glass of water

Tip #5 – Growing Rosemary from Cuttings

Spring is the best time to take cuttings to start new plants.  Take new shoots from your original plant and strip the lower leaves.

Place cuttings in water and plant when the roots develop 1-2 inches long.  The roots should develop in 3-4 weeks.

How to Grow Rosemary Tip #6 – Best Fertilizer for Rosemary

Rosemary is so hardy; it rarely needs fertilizer.  I typically give my rosemary bushes fertilizer in early spring before the new growth starts.

You can use any regular slow-release plant fertilizer for your rosemary.

I also like to add some organic coffee grounds in with the dirt since it pairs well with most herbs.

Tip #7 – Rosemary Provides Natural Pest Control in Your Garden

If you plant rosemary near carrots, it will deter carrot flies because it will help mask their scent.

Rosemary also helps keep flies and mosquitos away.  Pair rosemary with lemon balm, and you have the perfect combination.

Placing a container growing rosemary on your deck will benefit you, your family members, and friends.

Watering Growing Rosemary

How to Grow Rosemary Tip #8 – How Much Water Does Rosemary Need?

How to Water Rosemary Planted in the Ground

When you first plant your rosemary bush, you’ll need to water it frequently until it’s established.

Once it is established, you want to allow your rosemary plant to dry out in between waterings.

Rosemary is a pretty drought-tolerant plant.

However, because rosemary doesn’t wilt as other plants do, you’ll have to keep watch over the plant.

On average, you should water your rosemary plant every 1-2 weeks during summer if it’s not getting rain.

For the rest of the year, the rainfall should be enough to keep growing rosemary plants happy.

How to Water Rosemary Planted in Containers

Growing Rosemary in Containers on a Deck

Growing rosemary that you keep in containers will dry out more frequently and need more water than ground-planted rosemary.

When grown in containers, rosemary cannot develop an extensive root system like the plants grown in the ground.  That means they will need more water.

Make sure you pick well-draining containers to plant your rosemary.

You’ll want to keep the soil of your container-grown rosemary a little moist because the plant won’t signal it needs water until i’ts too late.

 Growing Rosemary to use in food - fresh rosemary with chopped up rosemary in a heart-shaped wood dish and spoon

How to Grow Rosemary Tip #9 – How to Harvest and Preserve Rosemary

Cut about four-inch sections from the tips of the rosemary plant when you’re ready to harvest.

You can use both the leaves and the flowers throughout the growing season.  To preserve your rosemary, strip the fresh leaves from your trimmed stems.  Place leaves in a paper bag to dry and store in an airtight container.

To freeze rosemary, simply clean the fresh leaves and put them in an ice cube tray with water.  When the rosemary ice cubes are frozen,  pop them out and store them in the freezer in a freezer bag.

If you are growing rosemary indoors in the winter, make sure you use it sparingly because the plants are growing fewer leaves.

Growing Rosemary plants - four inches of rosemary cut and laying on a cutting board with a knife

How to Grow Rosemary Tip #10 –  Propagate new plants

Rosemary tends to lose its luster after 3-4 years.  It sometimes becomes lean and may need to be replaced.

Just start a cutting from the herb before you need to replace the plant.

How to Store Rosemary in Ice

How to Grow Rosemary Tip #11 – Storage 

Fresh rosemary should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and slipped in a plastic bag.  It will last up until ten days.

You can also keep your fresh stem ends in a small glass of water.

Dried rosemary will lose some of its potency after six months.  Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Make rosemary ice cubes. Add fresh rosemary leaves and water to an ice cube tray. Once the ice cubes are frozen, pop out and use to season soups, stews, and sauces.

How to Use Rosemary in Culinary Dishes

Wooden small bowls of rock salt, peppercorns, garlic, and fresh rosemary - culinary uses for rosemary

Using rosemary in your culinary dishes not only adds flavor but also adds disease-fighting antioxidants.  You’ll want to get your herbs fresh from the garden because experts say that fresh herbs are more potent than dried.

Please make sure you use rosemary sparingly; it has a pretty strong flavor, both fresh rosemary and dried.

Cooking Note: Crush the dried leaves right before using them in your dishes.  This will release the flavor.

Make sure you chop the rosemary fine or crush leaves in a mortar and pestle.

Recipe Using Rosemary: Rosemary Balsamic Bread Dip

You can use the rosemary flowers in salads or use them as a garnish.

Spring yields more tender and milder tasting leaves, while the leaves in the late summer offer a more pungent taste.

By adding tasty herbs to your food, you can also cut back on salt if you are looking for alternatives.

Rosemary is used to flavor beef, chicken, pork, fish, egg dishes, and lamb.  It also goes well with beans, rice, quinoa, and risotto.

Use rosemary to infuse butter, marinades, vinegar, stews, sauces, jams, and jellies with its woodsy flavor.

Herbal cocktails and using herbs in desserts have become a food trend that is only getting bigger.

Rosemary has become popular to throw over mesquite coals for grilling fish, meat, and vegetables.

You can use the rosemary branches as shish kabob sticks.  Some chefs tie the stems together and use it as a brush to applying sauce to meats before cooking.

Let’s not forget about using rosemary as an herbal tea.  It’s one of my favorite ways to use rosemary.

Here’s how to Make Rosemary Tea:

White mug with Rosemary Tea with fresh rosemary

Heat your water in an electric tea kettle.  Add two sprigs of fresh rosemary to a mug and pour the hot water over the rosemary.  Let it steep for five minutes.

Sweeten with your favorite sweetener.  Honey, stevia, or agave are all excellent choices.  You can add a squeeze of lemon juice for more flavor.

At the first sign of a cold, cough, or flu – make yourself some hot rosemary tea for help easing the symptoms.

How to Use Rosemary in Beauty and Crafts 

Homemade coffee and rosemary soap

Rosemary is used in homemade cleaning products, soaps, shampoo, conditioners, lotions, and skin cleansers.

You can also use it to make potpourri, sachets, herb garland, bouquets, wreaths, and bath bags.

Southern debutantes used to have “tussie-mussies” that they carried at their coming-out parties.  Rosemary was an important part of that nosegay.

Use rosemary sachets to put into closets and drawers to repel moths.

Using Rosemary as a Garnish in Cocktails

Best Books on Growing Herbs

The Cook’s Herb Garden: Grow, Harvest, Cook 

Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in Your Backyard

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments 

We’ve reached the end of How to Grow Rosemary. I hope you enjoyed it.

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How to Grow Rosemary Pin for Pinterest - Rosemary bush with blue flowers

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