Rosemary is a heat loving perennial herb, that is widely used in Mediterrean cuisine, but can grow just about anywhere. You don’t need perfect sunshine or an endless summer to grow rosemary, in fact, rosemary is quite a hardy plant that usually suffers more from too much attention than from too little.
As stated above, rosemary is a perennial meaning that it can grow year-round out in the ground, this is true unless you live in an area where winter temperatures fall below 30 degrees. If you have freezing winters don’t worry, rosemary grows great in containers, and since they like the soil a little on the drier side a terra cotta pot works great for these plants. When the outside temps. start dipping into the low 40’s bring your rosemary plant inside and place in a sunny window to live for the winter.
Rosemary is best propagated by cuttings. Seeds can be difficult, though not impossible, to germinate and will take a while to fill in as a plant. You can make things far easier on yourself if you start with a certified organic nursery grown plant. Since rosemary is a fairly slow grower, expect to pay quite a bit more for a mature plant than for a small plant start.
If you have friends or neighbors with mature rosemary plants, ask them if you can take a few cuttings. Snip a 2 -3 inch cutting from the soft, new growth. Remove the leaves from the bottom inch and dip that end into a rooting hormone. Place the dipped end of the cutting into a container of dampened seed starting mix and place container in a warm area with indirect sunlight. Mist cutting daily and be sure soil doesn’t dry out.
In about 2 – 3 weeks your cuttings should have started to develops roots, test by very gently pulling on the cutting. once your cuttings have roots, transplant into individual pots and pinch off the very top of the cutting, this will encourage it to develop branches.
The three things necessary for successfully growing rosemary are Sun, Drainage, and Air Circulation. Provide a sandy soil, or well draining potting mix, for your rosemary plant and be sure it receives a minimum of 6 – 8 hours of full sunlight.
Rosemary plants are not heavy feeders, but feeding them in the spring with a fish/kelp emulsion will give them a good start to the season. A periodic foliar spray with the emulsion will also keep it looking good.
As I’ve said before if you have freezing winters you will need to bring your plant inside for the winter and moved back outside when all danger of frost has passed.