How to Grow the Herb Rosemary

Overview

The perfect addition to roast meats and winter soups, rosemary packs a load of flavor into its small, spiky leaves. This Mediterranean herb is compact and easy to grow in mild climates. For gardeners who live in harsh, cold climates, rosemary makes the perfect potted herb for the kitchen windowsill or covered porch. Rosemary is a perennial plant that can live upwards of 20 years, so plant one now and enjoy its unique flavor for years to come.

Step 1

Cut off a 3-inch piece of new growth from an existing rosemary plant. Use a pair of sharp pruning shears or garden scissors to make a clean cut. Late spring is the ideal time to propagate rosemary from a cutting.

Step 2

Pinch off the leaves from the lower inch of your rosemary stem, using your thumb and index finger.

Step 3

Roll the bare cut end of the cutting in hormone rooting powder. Rooting powder can be found at most garden stores and nurseries.

Step 4

Fill a 6- to 8-inch pot with a mixture of peat moss and potting soil. Choose a pot that has several drainage holes in the bottom to prevent water from pooling around the root system when you water.

Step 5

Put the cut end of the rosemary stem into the potting-soil mix. Bury 1 inch of the stem into the soil and leave the rest exposed.

Step 6

Water the pot thoroughly and set it in the sink or outside to drain.

Step 7

Place your potted rosemary cutting in a warm, sunny place such as a windowsill or in a greenhouse. Temperatures need to stay above 65 degrees Fahrenheit for the cutting to take root. Between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

Step 8

Prepare a large pot with a well-draining mix of coarse sand and peat moss. If you are planting outside and have heavy, wet soil, work coarse sand and peat moss into the soil where you intend to plant your rosemary.

Step 9

Remove your cutting from the planting pot, making sure to keep as much of the soil around the roots as possible.

Step 10

Dig a hole in the prepared pot or area of your garden that is slightly larger than the root ball of your plant. Choose a sunny spot; the more sun the better. If your garden area gets less than five hours of full sun a day, use a pot that can be moved for optimal sunshine exposure.

Step 11

Place the root ball in the hole and adjust the depth so that the base of the stem is level with the soil.

Step 12

Water the area thoroughly. After the initial watering, wait until the ground feels dry to the touch before watering again.

Step 13

Harvest and use your rosemary plant as soon as you begin to see new growth. Pinch off older stems for use in the kitchen and allow new growth to develop. Frequent light harvesting will encourage your plant to put out more growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or garden scissors
  • Rooting powder
  • 6- to 8-inch planting pot
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand

References

  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Growing Rosemary
  • WSU Island County: Rosemary
Keywords: culinary herbs, perennial herbs, herb gardens, growing rosemary

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.