All about Rosemary and How to Plant it
An herb garden will not be perfect without rosemary in it. This particular plant is one of the mainly used herb in cooking. Therefore, it is a must for you to have it. Growing this herb is not that difficult if you know how to grow rosemary. If you have a thriving rosemary, you will get a lot of advantages from it.
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What You Must Know about Rosemary
Rosemary is scientifically known as Rosmarinus officinalis. It is closely related to mint because both of them are grouped in the family of Lamiaceae. Rosemary leaves are usually used for seasoning poultry dishes, various vegetable dishes, and beverages. In order to have enough supply of rosemary leaves, you have to perform the proper steps of how to grow rosemary.
However, before you do it, you must understand about this plant first. These are what you need to know about rosemary.
1. Origin of Rosemary
This particular herb is originally from Mediterranean coasts. However, these days, rosemary has been naturalized in most European countries. It is also planted outside this continent. It is believed that the name of this herb comes from the words of ‘rose’, which means dew, and marinus, which means ocean. In short, rosemary means dew of the ocean.
Rosemary was used for various purposes by ancient civilizations. It was used both in cooking and medicine. Moreover, it was also used in religious rites. This plant was used to create a wreath and a bouquet for a bride. It was also burnt during a burial rite.
2. Description of Rosemary Plant
This herb is a perennial plant. But, it becomes an annual plant in cooler regions. Rosemary usually grows up to 1 m tall and 1 m wide. However, there are rosemary plants that grow up to 2 m tall. This shrub has small leaves, about 1 cm long. Their shape is like needles. They are shiny and dark green on top. Meanwhile the underside of the leaves is white.
Rosemary flowers are small and bloom in the spring and summer. Their colors are purple, pale blue, pink, and white. These flowers will attract bees. Therefore, they can help your other flowers to pollinate. In addition, the flowers are self-fertile. As a result, it does not need other rosemary plants to pollinate. Once the flowers are pollinated, the seeds will develop.
This plant is not easily affected by diseases and pests. However, it is often affected by fungus. When the weather is too humid, rosemary usually will suffer from powdery mildew. In addition, spittlebugs also love to live on this plant.
3. Where to Grow Rosemary
The process of how to grow rosemary is pretty easy to do. You will likely be successful in growing this herb. However, you need to plant it at the right environment to gain this success. This environment must meet the requirement of rosemary plant.
The best soil to grow rosemary is well drained soil. This herb plant is adaptable to sandy soil and loamy soil. But, it cannot grow well in moist and heavy clay soil. Moreover, rosemary can grow well in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. Therefore, the pH level of your soil must be between 5.0 and 8.0.
Rosemary doesn’t need rich soil to grow. It can grow well even in slightly poor soil. However, mixing the soil with organic fertilizer at the planting time will help the plant to grow healthily. You also need to fertilize the plant annually so that it will give you a nice harvest all the time.
If your soil does not meet those criteria, you must work on it first. This process must be done as one of the steps of how to grow rosemary. Therefore, your rosemary will thrive all year round.
Hardiness Zone and Sun Exposure
This herb is considered as a warm season plant. Therefore, it thrives in areas with warm weather. The best zones to grow this plant are USDA zones 7 to 10. In these zones rosemary will grow all year around.
However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot grow this herb in zone 6 or below. In cooler region, you can plant rosemary in a pot. Therefore, you can grow it indoors during the winter. If you do it, you need to make sure that the plant is placed in a sunny window.
Rosemary needs full sun to grow well. This plant must get 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. If it doesn’t get enough sun, this herb will not grow maximally. In addition, it will be more susceptible to pests and diseases. As a result, you will need to do more work to protect this plant from them.
In areas with warmer climate, you can grow rosemary outdoors without bothering about temperature and humidity. This plant loves warm temperature and humid environment. However, if you grow them indoors during the winter, you need to set indoor temperature properly.
This plant can tolerate indoor temperature between 13o C and 26o C. For best result, you can set the temperature between 15o C and 18o C. During the winter, indoor air tends to get dry. Therefore, you need a humidifier to give the right humidity for the plant. If you don’t have it, you can mist the plant periodically.
4. When to Plant Rosemary
The process of how to grow rosemary cannot be started anytime you want, especially if you live in cooler climate and grow it from seeds. For you who live in this climate, the best time to germinate rosemary seeds indoors is 10 weeks before the last spring frost. The germination of rosemary seeds may take up to 3 months. Therefore, it is better to have a head start.
If you want to sow the seeds directly to the ground, the best time to do it is after the last spring frost has gone. You need to make sure that the soil is warm so that the seeds will germinate successfuly. It is suggested that the soil temperature must be about 21o C. This direct sowing is more suitable for you who live in warmer climate.
If you grow rosemary from cuttings, you can start the propagation in spring. At this time, you can get rosemary soft wood easily. Moreover, in this season, the plant is growing most actively. Therefore, you have more chance of success. It usually takes a few weeks for the stem cuttings to grow root.
5. Rosemary varieties
There are several varieties of rosemary that you can grow. Before you perform the preparation step of how to grow rosemary, you must find out more about these varieties. Therefore, you will get a perfect variety to grow in your garden. These are some of the variety you can consider.
This variety produce large leaves with stronger fragrant than other variety. Therefore, it is perfect for you who grow rosemary solely for cooking. This upright rosemary can grow from 1.2 m to 1.8 m tall. As a result, you need to provide enough space for this plant to grow. If you want to plant it in a container, make sure that it is big enough for this plant.
This type of rosemary is cold hardy. It is suitable for USDA zones 6 to 11. This plant is pretty short. Its height is about 90 cm tall. Therefore, it is not only great for cooking. But, it is also good as ornamental plant.
This herb is named golden rain because its foliage turns to golden in the fall and spring. Meanwhile, when the summer comes, the leaves turn to dark green. Therefore, it looks beautiful and excellent as an ornamental plant. This plant grows up to 1.2 m tall and 0.6 m wide. This plant is best grown in USDA zones 7 to 11 and pretty hardy.
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How to Grow Rosemary
There are two methods of how to grow rosemary. You can grow it from seeds or from stem cuttings. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
One of the advantages of growing rosemary from seeds is that it is more affordable. Moreover, you can get the seeds easily. Unfortunately, the seeds need up to three months to sprout. In addition, you need more time to harvest the rosemary leaves.
Meanwhile, one of the benefits of growing from cuttings is that it takes only a few weeks for the cuttings to grow new roots. Moreover, you can harvest the leaves in relatively short time. However, it is not always easy to get the cuttings, unless you have friends who grow rosemary.
These are the steps of how to grow rosemary.
Since there are two ways of propagation, you can choose one whichever suitable for you.
In order to grow rosemary from seeds, you must soak the seeds for a night. After that, place them on a seeding tray filled with high quality seed-starting mix. Then, you need to sprinkle the seeds with soil. Next, you must mist the soil. To increase your chance of success, you need to make sure that the soil is always moist and warm, about 21o C.
After the seeds germinate, you need to let the seedlings grow on the seeding tray. Once they are big enough, you can transplant them to the ground or in pots.
To grow rosemary from cuttings, you can follow the steps.
- Choose soft woods or new shoots.
- Cut them of about 15 cm long from the growing tip using sharp and clean scissors.
- Snip the leaves except the top leaves.
- Place the cuttings in a jar filled with water.
- Change the water every two days.
- Place the jar away from direct sun and make sure that the temperature is warm enough.
- Transplant the cutting after about 8 weeks.
2. Preparing The Growing Environment
Before transplanting the seedlings or cuttings, it is important to make some preparations. If you choose to grow rosemary directly to the ground, you must work the soil first. If you plan to grow rosemary in a pot, it is recommended to use a terracotta pot. It drains well and more suitable for this herb. In addition, you must purchase high quality potting mix.
3. Transplanting and Caring
The transplanting process can be a bit tricky. You must be careful in doing it. Before you transplant the seedlings, you must harden them for a day or two. If you want to plant the seedlings or cuttings to the ground, make sure that you give them enough space to grow. Meanwhile, for pot planting, you must place the pots in a sunny area.
Rosemary is easy to care. You don’t need to fertilize it every couple of months. Doing it at the planting time and in every spring is enough for this plant. Moreover, this herb needs to be watered properly. It is best to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Therefore, you need to water it every time you see the surface of the soil is dry.
If you grow this plant in a pot, you will need to water it more frequently. It is because the water in potted soil drains more quickly. You may also need to fertilize potted rosemary more than once a year.
Weekly pruning is very essential in caring for this plant. It will make the plant look better and far from lanky. Pruning also boosts new shoots. Therefore, you will have more amounts of young rosemary leaves. In addition, you also need to trim this herb every time after the plant blooms.
The best time to harvest rosemary leaves is in the spring to summer because the plant grows actively at that time. Therefore, it will develop new shoots quickly if you harvest the leaves. To harvest them, you can cut off rosemary stems. If you have too much rosemary leaves, you can hang the stems in your kitchen and let it dry. Therefore, you can use it in the future.
The steps of how to grow rosemary above is pretty simple. Therefore, you won’t likely find any difficulties in following them. When your plant is old enough, you must remember to propagate it. Therefore, if it cannot survive the winter, you still have the stem cuttings to grow.
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