Add rosemary to your herb garden, kitchen garden, or rock garden. Rosemary is simple to grow, beautiful, and a flavorful addition in the kitchen. This hardy herb tolerates drought and tough conditions too. Read this article for information on how to grow rosemary, and tips for harvesting and using rosemary. There are plenty of tips for how to grow rosemary in Arizona too.
5 Tips for How to Grow Rosemary
1. Plant rosemary from cuttings or transplants
Rosemary seeds are notoriously difficult to get going, while propagating rosemary from cuttings is very simple. Place a 4-6 inch cutting from the end of a stem, and plant in moist vermiculite or sand. Once cutting roots, transplant into a container or garden.
When choosing transplants, choose strong plants with healthy, full leaves. Rosemary can also be propagated by root divisions and layering.
3. Plant rosemary in the right location
Well-draining soil is essential for rosemary; it is susceptible to root rot and other conditions caused by too much moisture in the soil. Root rot causes a plant to turn yellow and wilt, and eventually die.
In all but the hottest climates, rosemary thrives in full sun. When growing rosemary in the low desert of Arizona, it will tolerate full sun but does best with a little afternoon shade.
In mild winter areas (zone 7 and higher), it is grown as a perennial and can grow large (several feet wide and tall). Give rosemary room to grow.
Terra cotta pots are a good choice for growing rosemary in containers. The porous nature of terra cotta allows the plant to dry out between waterings which helps prevent root rot.
4. Care for rosemary as it grows
- Feed rosemary each spring as new growth appears with an organic fertilizer.
- Water newly-planted rosemary every 3-5 days until established, and then let rosemary dry out between waterings (being careful not to overwater).
- Pinch off 1-2 inches of the end of a stem to help the plant become bushier.
- Trim plant after it flowers in the spring.
- In mild winter areas, rosemary lives year-round and can tolerate a little frost. In severe winter areas, move rosemary indoors during the winter if possible.
5. Harvest rosemary - but not too much!
Harvest individual sprigs as needed. Young stems have the freshest flavor. Rosemary flowers have a more subtle flavor than the leaves, but are edible and make a beautiful garnish. Never harvest or prune more than 1/3 total of a rosemary plant, as it may not recover from the heavy harvest and die.
Rosemary has the most flavor when used fresh. Strip leaves from rosemary before drying and storing. You can also freeze entire sprigs of rosemary for later use.
Hold the tip of rosemary in one hand and pull it upward through pinched fingers to strip leaves.