Instructions for Growing Rosemary
How to Grow Rosemary
in the Garden
Gardening Tip for Growing Rosemary
Be sure to pinch off the terminal bud (the main shoot’s top) and the tips of the plant’s shoots, to encourage the rosemary plant to branch out. Prune your rosemary bushes once a year, once the flowers have faded. When growing rosemary, pruning will help the plant grow more compactly.
Growing rosemary produces a fragrant tender-perennial evergreen shrub, that can be enjoyed for many seasons in the garden (in growing climates with mild winters). It has a fragrance similar to that of camphor and pine. As a culinary herb, rosemary's flavor is often used as a compliment to lamb, poultry, fish and many vegetable dishes.
Rosemary symbolizes remembrance and fidelity. It was often included in bridal bouquets, and it was believed that if you tapped your lover with a fresh sprig of rosemary, he/she would stay true.
During the 15th century, rosemary branches were burnt within homes to ward off the black plague. In more modern times (during WWII), rosemary and juniper branches were burnt in French hospitals to limit the spread of infection.
Sleeping with a sprig of rosemary beneath your pillow is supposed to banish nightmares. In Spain, a folk tradition claimed that wearing a sprig of rosemary would offer the wearer protection from "the evil eye."
Legend has it that rosemary's flowers were originally white. On her flight to Egypt, the Virgin Mary threw her robe over a bush of rosemary as she rested. The flowers turned blue in her honor.
In the 16th & 17th Centuries, rosemary's wood was used to make lutes and carpenters rulers. Use the flowers of this herb to repel moths from your closets.
Rosemary is one of the richer herbal sources of antioxidants. Rosemary is reputed to have the following properties: Anti-microbial, Aromatic, Astringent, Emmenagogue, Nervine, Rubefacient, Stimulant, Parasitic
Internally, rosemary tea can have a calming effect on digestion, and is also used as a remedy for tension or stress. Externally, it is used in oils to help ease muscular pain, sciatica, and neuralgia. It is also included in some popular topical headache remedies. Some use it as a stimulant to hair follicles for treatment of premature baldness. It is a popular ingredient in hair tonics and shampoos. Rosemary's volatile oils have been used in treatments for asthma, as they can reduce the airway constriction.
Try growing rosemary as a companion plant for beans, cabbage, carrots and sage. It's aroma is believed to help keep beetles, moths and flies away from these plants!
Rosemary will grow best in a sheltered, but sunny (to partial sun) location.
Gardening Tips for Growing Rosemary - When growing rosemary in gardening climates with cold winters (below freezing), keep your rosemary plant as part of your container garden and move it indoors for the winter.
If growing rosemary out-of-doors in a hot climate garden, consider using a mulch around the base of the plant to help it keep the roots cool.
Light, well-drained gardening soils are best for growing rosemary. Create optimal conditions for growing rosemary by adding sand, well-rotted manure, and compost to your garden soil. Dig your garden bed deeply before planting. The garden soil pH should be between 5.0 and 6.0 for growing rosemary.
(See: how to test your garden soil pH level)
Growing rosemary from seed for your garden can be difficult and the results somewhat unpredictable. It’s best to grow rosemary by taking cuttings and growing new plants from them. In the late summer (or early fall), take cuttings by trimming off well-established side shoots that are at least 8” long. Snip the bottom leaves from the stem (don’t pull them off, or you’ll damage the stem).
Many gardeners find that growing rosemary by placing the cuttings in a glass of water will cause the plant to form roots without further assistance or effort. However, for your best chance at success, dip the bottom ½” of the stems in a root-inducing hormone powder (available online, at garden centers, and even Wal-Mart). Shake off the excess powder, and plant in a light planting mixture of perlite and peat moss (essentially, a seed-starting type mixture). The soil mixture should be lightly damp, but not wet. Using a spray bottle to water works best. Your new rosemary plant's should grow roots within 3 weeks. To speed up the process, place a heat source below the rooting bed. Once the cuttings have established roots, you can then transplant them into containers. By spring, the plants will be established enough that you can move them outdoors, if desired.
Gardening Tip for Growing Rosemary
Prune your rosemary bushes once a year, as soon as the flowers have faded. Pruning will help your rosemary plant grow more compactly.
Let the garden soil dry out in between waterings. When growing rosemary, don't over water or you may harm the roots.
For established rosemary plants, in the spring, apply a dose of a complete fertilizer to the garden soil at the base of the plant and water in.
Once the leaves are large enough to use, you can harvest rosemary, as you need it. Make sure that you leave plenty of leaves still on the plant, so that the plant's growth isn't affected.
Gardening Tip for Growing Rosemary - The leaves are reportedly at their height in flavor just before the rosemary plant flowers.
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Gardening Tip from Ginger, Hot Springs SD:
I live in Hot Springs SD, our winters are usually on the dry side and can get to --10 below so I bring my plant inside and it sits in a large pot on an south east window. I do not water until it feels dry when I push my finger into the soil. I think the main reason it survives is that I mist it every morning. I think where it grows outside year round, there can be a mist from the ocean so the plant hydrates from the air as well as occasional watering of the roots.
Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.