Simple Secrets for Growing a Rosemary Bush in 2023 will show you tips on how to grow this highly aromatic Mediterranean herb that you’ll use in your culinary dishes, homemade crafts, and tea.
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean and has been 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.
The rosemary bush also has white flowers and 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 writing this article on growing rosemary, I happened to be watching an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass on cooking.
He said, “How do we elevate food beyond belief? We use a fragrance, a chef’s fragrance – herbs.”
Gordan talked about how all significant chefs grow their 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 it 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.
Rosemary is for Remembrance
The Greeks and Ancient Egypt 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.
Benefits of Growing Rosemary
The rosemary bush is a hearty herb that even a novice gardener can grow. It also makes an attractive evergreen shrub.
Before sugar became widely available, gardeners planted rosemary in bee gardens. Their beautiful blue flowers attracted honey bees and became essential to 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.
Rosemary is useful in treating fatigue, colds, flu, boost circulation, aid in digestion, help improve memory and help with headaches.
You can also use rosemary in your bath to help with aching joints and itchiness.
Rosemary oil will help treat muscle pain because it brings the blood to the 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 harvest the rosemary leaves all year long when adequately cared for throughout the year.
Creating a fragrant garden will enhance your home and your family’s life.
Nutritional Benefits of the Rosemary Bush
Rosemary has iron, manganese, bioflavonoids, and calcium.
There’s a compound in rosemary called rosmarinic acid. It improves circulation.
The aromatic rosemary leaves help increase the flow of blood to the brain. Just having rosemary in your office will help with concentration and alertness.
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Here are the Simple Secrets for Growing a Rosemary Bush:
Rosemary – Scientific Name – Salvia Rosmarinus or Rosmarinus Officinalis
Height: 1-5 feet
Light: Full Sun – this herb plant should get at least six hours of sunlight per day for best results.
Soil pH: Between 6.0 and 7.0
Hardiness: zones 7-9
Perennial herb with aromatic leaves
Rosemary can grow in zone 6 if you provide winter protection.
Spring and summer are the peak seasons for production, but rosemary can produce all year long.
Tip #1 – Rosemary bush is a perennial
Rosemary is an evergreen herb and will do well as a perennial in areas with mild winter. It won’t survive cold winters where the temperatures dip below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in a colder climate and the temperature gets below freezing, bring your rosemary plant inside for winter.
Start by moving the plant into the partial shade for two weeks to get your rosemary bush used to having less light. 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 bush in a high tunnel if you live in one of the northern states.
Tip #2 – Planting Rosemary
The best time to plant your rosemary bush is in the spring. If you live in the south or in zone 8, you can plant rosemary in the fall.
Pick a sunny location that has well draining soil. Rosemary can get root rot if you plant it 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 drainage holes approximately 14 inches wide by 14 inches deep and fill them with water. Allow the spot 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 herb plant 2-3 feet apart in a sunny spot. You want to make sure they have enough room for good air circulation. I recommend 3 feet because rosemary bushes can grow pretty big under the right conditions.
Tip #3 – Design Ideas
Tip #4 – 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.
Tip #5 – 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 adding some organic coffee grounds with the dirt since it pairs well with most herbs.
Tip #6 – Rosemary Provides Natural Pest Control in Your Garden
Planting rosemary near carrots will deter carrot flies because it will help mask their scent.
Rosemary also helps keep spider mites, 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 your family members and friends.
Tip #7 – How Much Water Does Rosemary Need?
How to Water Rosemary Planted in the Ground
When you plant your rosemary bush, you’ll need to water it frequently until it establishes itself.
Once your young plants are established, you”ll want to allow your rosemary plant to dry out in between waterings. The rosemary bush doesn’t like wet feet.
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 Pots and Containers
Growing rosemary 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 it’s too late.
If your rosemary bush gets powdery mildew, spray your plant with a fungicide with neem oil.
Tip #8 – How to Harvest and Preserve Rosemary
Cut about four-inch sections from the tips of the rosemary plant when you’re ready to harvest this culinary herb.
You can use both the leaves and the flowers throughout the growing season. The best way 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, 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 cold weather, make sure you use it sparingly during this time of year because the plants are growing fewer leaves. Rosemary bushes make beautiful indoor plants and bring a wonderful fragrance to your home.
Tip #9 – 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. Soon you will have new young plants to tend to when they are ready.
Tip #10 – Storage
Fresh rosemary should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and slipped into 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.
Tip #11 – How to Use Rosemary in Culinary Dishes
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 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 before using them in your dishes. Crushing the small leaves will release the flavor.
Make sure to chop the rosemary or crush leaves in a mortar and pestle.
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.
Adding this aromatic herb to your food, can also cut back on salt if you are looking for alternatives.
Rosemary is a fragrant herb to flavor beef, chicken, pork, fish, egg dishes, and lamb. It also goes well with beans, rice, quinoa, and risotto.
With its woodsy flavor, use rosemary to infuse butter, marinades, vinegar, stews, sauces, jams, and jellies.
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. The woody stems are perfect skewers for the grill.
Some chefs tie the rosemary cuttings together and use them as a brush to apply 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.
Tip #12 – Here’s how to Make Rosemary Tea:
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 to help ease the symptoms.
Tip #13 – How to Use Rosemary in Beauty and Crafts
You can use rosemary in homemade cleaning products like; soaps, shampoo, conditioners, lotions, and skin cleansers.
Rosemary also makes great potpourri, sachets, herb garlands, bouquets, wreaths, and bath bags.
Rosemary sachets repel moths when you put them into closets and drawers.
Southern debutantes used to have “tussie-mussies” that they carried at their coming-out parties. Rosemary was an essential part of that nosegay.
My friend Vladka at Simply Beyond Herbs has a wonderful recipe for Rosemary Beard Oil. You can find that recipe here.
Tip #14 – Best Books on Growing Herbs
We’ve reached the end of How to Grow Rosemary. I hope you enjoyed it.
Let me know in the comments below how you liked the article and if you have a rosemary shrub in your yard.
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