Learn tips and tricks for growing rosemary.
Include rosemary in your garden for its delicious leaves and you'll find yourself savoring its beauty, too. Most varieties of this low-maintenance herb are perennial in zones 8 and warmer; some upright (tall-standing) types can survive the winters a little farther north as well.
Let us teach you how to grow rosemary.
Plant rosemary so it gets full sun. Rosemary hails from the Mediterranean, which means it can survive heat, drought, and salt spray. Herbs from this region also demand good drainage, so use soil that's light and well-drained. Some gardeners mix a handful of fine limestone gravel, small pebbles, or chicken grit into planting holes to improve drainage.
When growing rosemary in planting beds, mix 3 inches of aged compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose In-Ground Soil into the top 6 inches of soil to add nutrients and provide better drainage. When planting rosemary in containers, make sure they're at least 14 inches across, and fill them Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Container Mix. Like the in-ground soil, it's made with top quality compost, but it's lighter and fluffier—just right for pots. If you're planting in raised beds, use 100 percent organic Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil, which is just the right texture and weight for raised bed growing.
The best time of year for planting rosemary in the ground depends on where you live-spring is ideal in cold-winter regions, fall in warmer regions.
When growing rosemary, it's best to start with strong young plants, like those from Bonnie Plants®, as this herb is difficult to grow from seed. Be sure to water thoroughly after planting.
The top challenge with growing rosemary is overwatering. In the landscape, give newly planted rosemary consistent moisture throughout the first growing season. After that, rosemary benefits from deep, infrequent watering. In containers outdoors, water rosemary only when soil is dry. For rosemary in pots that are overwintering indoors, water sparingly.
When growing rosemary in humid regions, you can help reduce mildew outbreaks by mulching around plants with 2 inches of pebbles or limestone gravel. Heated by the sun, the warm stones evaporate water quickly, reducing the surrounding humidity.
Along with top quality soil (see above), the ingredients for an amazing harvest include just the right plant food. Starting a month after planting, feed your rosemary with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Plant Nutrition Granules according to label instructions. Not only will this nourish your plant, but it will also feed the soil microbes around the plant that help your rosemary take in as much nutrition as it needs.
Once rosemary reaches several inches tall, you can harvest at any time by clipping individual leaves, growing tips, or longer branches. Cut rosemary will retain its fresh flavor for 7 to 10 days when refrigerated. Dry stems by hanging them in bunches upside down or spreading them on drying screens.
In the kitchen, rosemary provides a great seasoning for meats, soups and stews, and vegetables. It can also be chopped into olive oil and sprinkled with salt to make a tasty dipping sauce for bread. Unlike most other herbs, rosemary has its strongest flavor when fresh (not dried).
In the garden, plant upright rosemary varieties as hedges and shrubs. Prostrate rosemary varieties, which creep along the ground, create a wonderfully scented ground cover. Rosemary usually flowers during cool seasons, when fewer plants are blooming, providing a good nectar source for bees.
Ready to start growing rosemary? Click on any of the product links above for more information, to purchase the product online, or to find a retailer near you.