How To Plant Rosemary

Rosemary is one of those herbs that you just have to have in your garden. If your cold season is mild and doesn’t get below 30° F, it will grow as a perennial shrub. Otherwise, you can dig it up in the winter and bring it indoors, then re-plant it outside in Spring to enjoy year round.

You can grow it from seed indoors under a grow light and transplant in Spring, but it’s best to start from the cutting of a more mature plant. Wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting outdoors.

If you are fortunate enough to know somebody with an already established rosemary plant, here’s how to take a cutting from it:

1. Pick out a stem of soft, new growth on the plant and cut off a 2″ piece.

2. Remove the leaves an inch from the bottom of the stem, and dip the tip into a rooting hormone.

3. Plant the stem in a dampened, well draining, sterile seed starting mix.

4. Place the pot in a warm place out of direct sunlight.

5. Use a spray bottle to mist the cuttings every day, making sure that the soil does not dry out completely.

6. In about 3 weeks test the plant to see if roots have begun to grow by gently tugging on it. It should give some resistance if roots have developed. Once roots are established it is ready to be planted outdoors, or in a larger pot (3-4″ diameter).

Rosemary needs a nice, sunny place to grow, with well drained soil. Plant your rosemary cuttings or seedlings 18″ apart. You can also choose to keep it in a pot filled with any good potting mix.

Be sure to avoid overwatering; allow the soil surface to dry out before watering your rosemary plant again. Do not allow it to dry out completely though as it will not recover. Mulch with pea gravel, rocks, or crushed stone instead of organic matter to reduce fungus growth.

Rosemary is a great medicinal herb as well as culinary herb. So take some time to get one established this year! You’ll be glad you did.

2 thoughts on “How To Plant Rosemary”

  1. Amy, do you know which variety of rosemary you have? I love rosemary, and try every year to grow it, but it never survives the winter for me.

  2. Kendra, I LOVE Rosemary. We grow it a lot here because it’s so drought tolerant – but you’re right that it must have some water or it won’t recover. Once they go downhill, it’s almost impossible to save them. Just an FYI… we live in a zone 7 or colder and they stay out all winter. Usually it gets to the teens a few times each year and sometimes single digits. This year we got down to 17 and my upright rosemary did fine although a portion of one got some damage. The trailing variety didn’t really make it. Thanks for sharing how to cultivate more of it – I was just wondering that a couple of days ago!
    Have a great week!


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