Gardens - Herb Gardening

How to grow rosemary

Keep this fragrant herb around to use fresh or dried in your favourite dishes


Native to the sun-baked lands around the Mediterranean, rosemary—the Latin Rosmarinus means ‘dew of the sea’—is an easy-to-grow herb partial to sandy, even gravelly soil and lots of sun. The surest and simplest way to grow this pleasant plant is to avail yourself of a small potted nursery specimen in spring, replant it in a pretty container (diameter at least 30 centimetres) filled with light soil and set it in a warm sheltered place—balcony, deck or patio—within easy reach.

After that, only minimal attention is required: watering when the soil feels dry and perhaps a midsummer feed of liquid fertilizer. As ornamental as it is aromatic, rosemary may break into flowers as blue as the sea.

When fall frosts threaten, shift the pot into your sunniest window, preferably in a room kept on the cool side, and be prepared to mist often to keep the little needle-like leaves from drying and dropping. That, or let the frost (and compost pile) take it, and start over with a fresh plant in the spring.

For winter use, branches dry easily when hung in an airy shaded spot, laid out on a slightly elevated screen or simply left in a colander on the kitchen counter. To harvest, pinch off individual sprigs to use fresh as needed.
When dry, strip leaves by pulling backward along the branch with your fingertips.

 

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