Your Complete Guide to Growing Rosemary
Rosemary ( Rosmarinus Officinalis) is a perennial evergreen shrub that belongs to the family Lamiaceae. Rosemary is native to the dry rocky areas of the Mediterranean, especially along the coast. This herb goes all the way back to ancient times being used by the Romans and Greeks.
The genus name Rosmarinus derives from the Latin words ros and marinus which together translate “dew of the sea” rosemary is an aromatic herb that produces blue flowers. This garden herb is one of my favorites not only because of its aroma but the intense taste that can really flavor your recipes.
Caution however should be taken because the flavors are so strong that and overuse can give foods somewhat of a bitter taste. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at growing rosemary herb plants.
Rosemary planting location
Grow rosemary in an area that gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
Rosemary soil requirements
Rosemary should be planted in sandy well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH.
Rosemary water requirements
Rosemary hates wet feet so monitor the moisture level, avoid soggy or saturated soil. Wait until the soil drys before giving rosemary another drink of water.
Rosemary fertilizing requirements
The use of fish/kelp emulsions, cow, chicken, goat, or horse manure will supply the needed nutrients.
Avoid using organic mulches on rosemary because mulching rosemary will encourage fungus disease such as botrytis blight that thrives in environments that are humid. Instead, pea gravel or crushed stones is ideal and will help in reflecting the sun’s warm rays to the plant helping rosemary to stay from wet feet.
Growing rosemary in a pot
When Growing rosemary from a pot ensure that the pot is large enough to give your rosemary growing space at least 12 inches in diameter. The pot should have drain holes for water drainage, the soil should be a good quality commercial potting mix.
Once your rosemary plant is installed place the pot in an area that gets about 6-8 hours of sunlight. The soil should be allowed to dry somewhat before giving your rosemary another drink of water. Every 2 weeks fertilizer your rosemary with all-purpose water-soluble plant food.
Growing rosemary indoors
When growing rosemary indoors the container should have drain holes and a saucer to collect water, because rosemary doesn’t like wet feed the saucer should be emptied once the water is collected. The container should be placed in an area that gets bright indirect sunlight or installing grow lights will help in providing rosemary lighting needs.
Check the soil for moisture, once the top few inches of soil is dry go ahead and give rosemary a drink of water. During the winter months, rosemary will use less water, so reduce the amount of moisture, a fan placed near your rosemary for a few hours a day will help with an increase in air circulation that will help to reduce the humidity this action will also help in reducing the chance of rosemary getting powdery mildew. A fungicide treatment can also help in preventing powdery mildew, the use of neem oil will help in eliminating pests.
Rosemary garden insect pests
Garden insect pests of rosemary herb.
- Spider mites
Scales are waxy covering armor insect pests that suck the plant’s sap from the stems and leaves, which wakens the plants making them susceptible to other garden insect pests. The use of neem oil, soapy water, or scraping them off with your fingernail will bring control.
These tiny insect pests are either yellow, black, red, or brown, spider mites suck the plant’s sap and are known to transmit toxins that cause white dots on the foliage or leaves. Other symptoms include webbing on the plant, the leaves turn yellow dry, and stipple. Scales multiply quickly when conditions are dry. A miticide may be needed if a strong spray of water fails.
Aphids are the easiest insect pests to kill, aphids are either black, greenish, peached colored, or red. Aphids are among sucking insects that extract the plant’s fluids and lives on the undersides of the leaves. Infected leaves turn yellow then brown follow by leaf drop. A strong spray of water, the use of insecticidal soap, or using natural means (predator) insects such as wasp and beetles will bring control.
Mealybugs are garden pests that have a white waxy covering, mealybugs dose damage by sucking the plant’s sap from the leaves and stems that encourage sooty mold. Their excrement is known as honeydew also attracts ants. Infected plants become weakened, the use of organic pesticides or predator insects such as parasitic wasp, lacewings, or ladybugs will bring control.
Watch out for these signs and take action immediately.
- Powdery Mildew
- Downy Mildew
- Botrytis Blight
- Root and Crown Rot
Powdery mildew is caused by a fungus, signs of this disease include a white substance that forms on the leaves that resemble flour or powder. This disease is common when growing rosemary indoors, and will weaken the plant.
Control this disease by increasing the air circulation that will reduce the humidity, The use of a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew will also offer some help.
The culprit of this disease is caused by a fungus, symptoms of downy mildew are whitish gray patches on the underside of the leaves, as this disease persists it will move over the leaf surface. Providing good air circulation, crop rotation, avoid overcrowding, do not work around plants when they are wet, and avoiding overhead irrigation are proven methods that will bring control.
Damping-off occurs because of too much moisture, this disease is caused by a fungus because of soggy soils and when the air temperature is above 68 degrees. Too much nitrogen fertilizer also contributes to this disease, damping-off is common when starting plants from seeds, when the seedlings emerge it looks healthy, and then out of nowhere it wilts and dies.
When growing especially from a container wash with soap and water, avoid overcrowding of seeds, provide good air circulation, avoid overwatering, ensure that seeds are moist, and avoid over-fertilizing seeds.
This disease is caused by a fungus, the center of the plant along with the older leaves rots. Yellowish-brown spots that are irregular appears on the leaves, the stems develop water-soaked spots. The fungus is gray and fuzzy, when touch fungus emits a cloud of spores.
Control measures include providing good air circulation, removing infected plants, and properly dispose of, decrease humidity around the plant by using pea gravel as a mulch.
Root and Crown Rot
Root and Crown rot is encouraged by numerous diseases, look for these signs. Yellowing and drying of the leaves and leaf tips. Whole branches may also become brown and die, control this disease by properly sterilizing containers with 10% alcohol, ensure that soil has good drainage, avoid soggy soils. For potted plants replace with fresh potting mix.
To get that nice flavor harvest rosemary just before rosemary begins to flower, with scissors during the morning hours after the dew has dried and before the heat of the day cut the stems. When harvesting rosemary from a mature plant that’s woody a hand pruner may be needed.
How to dry rosemary?
Either leave the rosemary on the kitchen counter, the use of a food dehydrator is also helpful, the stems can be laid singly on the tray, pull off the leaves once dried and store, the leaves can also be removed and place on a single cookie sheet layer. Tie rosemary in a bundle and hang them in a warm dry place will also help it to dry.
How to store rosemary?
Rosemary can be placed in a dark location that’s cool, store rosemary in a tight container to prevent moisture from entering and causing mold.
The final word on growing rosemary herb plants
Growing rosemary is that simple you can have much success by following this guide, whether growing out or indoors you now are equipped with the know-how to grow rosemary from your home garden. So give rosemary a try you will be so happy that you did as you flavor your favorite recipes.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.