Rosemary is a favourite herb for cooking and seasoning dishes. It grows wild in the Mediterranean and Asia but, fortunately for growers, it is reasonably hardy in cool climates, though immature plants of some varieties are best brought inside when frost is expected. Rosemary is not only used in cooking, it is also an attractive addition to garden landscaping, with flowers which endure throughout late spring and summer.

Growing rosemary:

Rosemary does best in warm, fairly humid environments and does not like the cold. Some varieties of rosemary are unlikely to survive a winter when temperatures fall below -1 degrees C., so in many areas these types of rosemary are unlikely to remain healthy outdoors all year round without protection. For this reason they are often grown in pots that can be brought indoors when temperatures fall.

It can be very difficult to get rosemary seeds to germinate so rosemary plants are usually propagated by cuttings. Cut stems from the parent plant that are around two inches long and remove leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the cutting. Place cuttings in a well-draining planting medium and water lightly but consistently until the roots begin to grow. Once the roots have developed you can plant these cuttings as you would do any rosemary plant.

It is essential that rosemary is planted in the sunniest part of the garden or on a very sunny windowsill. A sheltered position is best. Rosemary requires full sun and a very well-draining, dry and sandy soil or potting medium. Though it can be fairly tolerant in other ways, rosemary will not tolerate water-logging. Terracotta pots are a good choice because they dry out quicker than plastic ones and so are well suited to rosemary's requirements.

When cutting rosemary, make sure to take less than 1/3 of the plant and always make cuts just above a leaf joint. Pruning back rosemary once the flowers have finished blooming will not only give you sprigs for the kitchen, it will also make the rosemary bush out and make it a healthier plant.

If you have planted your rosemary in a pot then make sure that it is a large enough one and that the rosemary does not become root bound. If the rosemary plants lower foliage begins to yellow then this is a sign that it is time to think about re-potting.

Why grow rosemary in the garden?

Rosemary is an essential herb for cooking and can also be cultivated for its fragrance. Rosemary oil is used not just for its scent but is also said to have a range of applications in traditional medicine.

Rosemary is a beneficial companion plant for thyme and also lives happily alongside sage and marjoram. It is also helpful to brassicas, beans and carrots as it deters or distracts several pests and parasites that plague those vegetables. Growing rosemary can also attract a number of beneficial insects to the garden.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Rosmarinus officinalis