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SECRETS for Growing a Rosemary Bush (2024)

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.

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

Simple Secrets for Growing a Rosemary Bush
Simple Secrets for Growing a Rosemary Bush (Romarinus Officinalis)

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.

How to Grow Rosemary - Rosemary Bundles with Chopped Dried Rosemary
Rosemary Bundles with Chopped Dried Rosemary Discarding the Woody Parts

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.

Infused Rosemary Oil - Benefits of Growing Rosemary Bushes
Infused Rosemary Oil – Benefits of Growing Rosemary Bushes

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.

Large Rosemary Bush with Blue Flowers
Large Rosemary Bush with Blue Flowers

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.

Creating a Cozy Life Group

Since you’re interested in how to grow a rosemary bush, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 73,000 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.

Rosemary branches tied with jute
Rosemary Bush Small Branches with Needle-Like Leaves Tied with Jute

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.

You can find your garden zone here on  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 bush is a perennial

Rosemary Bush in a Terra Cotta Pot
Rosemary Bush in a Terra Cotta Clay Pot

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.

Rosemary Bush in the Garden
Rosemary Bush in the Garden on a Sunny Day with Good Drainage

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.

Shaping Rosemary into a Topiary
Prune Rosemary Bush into a Topiary

Tip #3 – Design Ideas 

YouTube video
Rosemary Topiaries

Tip #4 – Growing Rosemary from Cuttings

Growing Rosemary from Cuttings - Rosemary Branches in a Cup of Water
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.

Watering Rosemary Bush
Watering Rosemary Bush

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

Rosemary Bushes in Pots
Rosemary Bushes in Pots

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.

Growing Rosemary as a Spice - Rosemary in a heart-shaped dish
Growing Rosemary as a Culinary Herb

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

How to Harvest and Preserve Rosemary Bushes
How to Harvest and Preserve Rosemary Bushes

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.

How to Store Rosemary in Ice
How to Store Rosemary in Ice

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

Culinary Uses for Rosemary Bush - Rosemary Salt and Rosemary Oil
Culinary Uses for Rosemary Bush – Rosemary Salt and Rosemary Oil

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.

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.

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.

When the summer days get hot, rosemary lemonade is the perfect recipe to quench your thirst.

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:

How to Make Rosemary Tea from a Rosemary Bush - Tea cup with fresh rosemary
How to Make Rosemary Tea from a Rosemary Bush

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.

YouTube video
How to Make Rosemary Tea

Tip #13 – How to Use Rosemary in Beauty and Crafts 

Homemade Rosemary Soap
Homemade Rosemary Soap

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.

YouTube video
How to Make a Rosemary Bush Wreath

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.

Rosemary Infused Cocktails using fresh rosemary
Rosemary Infused Cocktails

Tip #14 – 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.

Let me know in the comments below how you liked the article and if you have a rosemary shrub in your yard.

Make sure you join our Creating a Cozy Life – Hygge Style Facebook group.  You’re not going to believe how amazing it is.  Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

Pin this how to grow rosemary post below on your garden board on Pinterest.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’m so happy you found us!

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How to Grow a Rosemary Bush
How to Grow a Rosemary Bush

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Deb Ridgeway

Friday 17th of March 2023

Thank you for an excellent article on rosemary and for noting the recent botanical name change!


Saturday 18th of March 2023

You're very welcome Deb! Kelly


Thursday 11th of August 2022

very nicely explained. I want to grow in pots rather than ground.


Thursday 11th of August 2022

Thank you so much Ambalath! I appreciate you letting me know. Kelly

Lin Hunt

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Thank you Kelly for the lesson on Rosemary. I will definitely be planting some this month!


Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Hello Lin! So glad you liked it. Thank you for letting me know. Kelly


Tuesday 5th of April 2022

What an amazing article! Thanks for answering every question I had about rosemary! This is an amazing site you have here,


Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Thank you Tere! What a compliment. Thank you for letting me know. Kelly

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