Of all the plants you can grow in your garden, herbs are some of the easiest to care for. One fairly easy plant to obtain and keep alive in your garden is Rosemary (Rosemary officinalis). Rosemary are in the mint family, so it is no surprise that they are wonderfully fragrant. That fragrance and the beautiful shiny leaves are the main reasons for growing rosemary in your garden.
Rosemary is a woody evergreen perennial, with beautiful needle-like shiny green leaves. It is native to a Mediterranean climate, and so does best with mild temperatures. Rosemary can tolerate slight drought. It can even tolerate a seaside location. It can not, however, tolerate a cold climate. Fortunately, rosemary can be grown in pots, and so those growing rosemary in areas which get killing frosts should be prepared to winter their plant indoors in a pt. Rosemary keep their leaves year round and do not have a dormant period. If your rosemary has lost all of it’s leaves it is probably dead.
If you are planting rosemary directly in the garden be sure to pick a spot that gets plenty of sun. Rosemary will grow best in loamy, well drained loamy soil. It will not look it’s best in a location that is waterlogged or in full shade. So, pick a sunny spot for your rosemary and amend the soil with plenty of compost, top soil, and peat moss. Be sure to keep your plant from getting too dry in it’s first year, as it will still be establishing a root system.
If you are planting your rosemary in a container you want to follow the same general rules as if you were planting in the ground. Be sure to use a pot or other container large enough to accommodate the rosemary. Put in a nice loamy soil, and make sure your plant gets plenty of sun. Do be sure not to let the soil in the pot get too dry. Plants in pots will often dry out more quickly and thoroughly than those in the ground, and while it is drought resistant rosemary is not a cactus. Once your rosemary gets established in it’s pot do not hesitate to prune it to keep it looking attractive and not getting too big. Rosemary does well with pruning and even takes to topiary, so do not be afraid to get out a pair of bypass pruners and shape your plant as you like.
Rosemary come in a number of varieties with different sizes and habits, so be sure to select one that is right for you. Some are big and upright, which is perfect for a hedge. Some are low growing and spreading, perfect to cascade over a hill or down a wall. Others are slightly smaller, and so great for containers. They also do have different colored flowers of white, pink, or blue. However, the flowers on rosemary are rarely showy, and so are not usually the reason for growing it.
Rosemary is extremely pest resistant. It is unlikely that a healthy plant would have any troubles with infestations. As a bonus, when in flower rosemary is an absolute magnet for bees. The flowers may not look very showy to humans, but bees love them. The blooming season for rosemary is quite long, making rosemary a good choice to help lure the little flying pollinators to your yard. In fact, it is such a good bee attractor that you might not want it too near your front door or other areas where you do not want bees.
You can either propagate rosemary from a cutting or purchase it from a nursery. To propagate, take a cutting about half a foot long, strip off the needles near the cut and dip in rooting hormone. Place the cutting in a small pot with very light soil or even directly in the soil. If you do not have a good source for rosemary cuttings you can find plants at most nurseries. Sometimes these will be sold already shaped as topiary. They are also often sold during the December holidays, as rosemary do resemble Christmas trees if pruned into a conical shape.