How to Grow Rosemary Herbs


Rosemary herbs (Rosmarinus officinalis) are actually evergreen, perennial flowering shrubs that are native to Asia and the Mediterranean region. Rosemary has pine-like needles that are used to flavor a wide range of cuisines. Because rosemary shrubs are cold-hardy, you can plant them in the ground outdoors in most climates. Rosemary grows 3 to 6 feet in height and up to 3 feet in width, thriving in even drought conditions. One of the easiest herbs to grow, a rosemary shrub can live for more than 20 years.

Step 1

Plant your rosemary shrubs in mid- to late spring, after all chance of frost has passed. Select a planting spot for your rosemary herbs that has lightweight, slightly sandy soil and that's in full to partial sunlight but has some shelter from winter winds.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole for your rosemary herbs that's 1 ½ times the depth and width of the nursery container. Add ½ to 1 inch of sharp sand to the bottom of the planting hole.

Step 3

Mix into the displaced soil some sharp sand, so that you have equal parts native soil and sand. Remove the rosemary shrub from the nursery container and set the roots into the planting hole.

Step 4

Backfill the planting hole with the soil and sand mixture, planting the rosemary at about the same depth as it was in the nursery container. If you're planting more than one rosemary shrub, space them at least 3 feet apart.

Step 5

Water the rosemary to soak the soil around the roots. Throughout the year, water your rosemary herbs only when the soil is dried out.

Step 6

Feed your rosemary plants once each month from April until October with an all-purpose liquid plant fertilizer. Follow the dosage instructions on the fertilizer label.

Step 7

Harvest the rosemary needle leaves throughout the summer. In autumn, pick the leaves in the morning for best oil-content and quality. You can use the fresh leaves in dishes immediately after picking them, or you can dry or freeze the leaves.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid disturbing or separating the roots of your rosemary plant when you're removing it from the nursery container. Rosemary herbs don't tolerate root disturbances. Be sure to protect your rosemary shrub from high winter winds, especially if you're allowing the plant to grow large. Insert a sturdy wooden stake or pole into the ground beside the rosemary shrub and tie a string around the plant stem to secure it to the stake.

Things You'll Need

  • Rosemary shrubs
  • Garden trowel
  • Sharp sand
  • Garden hose
  • All-purpose liquid plant fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Garden Action: How to Grow Rosemary

Who Can Help

  • Garden Hobbies: How to Grow Rosemary Herb
Keywords: grow rosemary, rosemary herbs, planting rosemary shrubs

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.