(See individual varieties for specific product information, but in general the growing information will be the same for all rosemary.)
Average Days To Maturity: 70-90 days
Distance Between Rows: 2-3 feet
Spacing Between Plants: 12-18 inches apart
When To Plant: Charley recommends planting Rosemary in mid to late April after the threat of frost, but experienced gardeners can plant earlier and protect the young plants with buckets and milk jugs or start them out in a cold frame or small greenhouse.
Planting Tip: When growing Rosemary in a pot or container, make sure there is good drainage. This can be achieved by putting a layer of gravel or small rocks in before the dirt. Also, make sure the pot is fairly deep to allow plenty of room for the tap root to develop.
Rosemary likes to bask in the sunshine but does not enjoy the wind in it’s hair. A Southern location around your house is best for Rosemary. One that allows shelter from the wind.
If you want to grow Rosemary as a perennial, you will need to research which variety grows best in your area.
Preparation and Care: Work some organic matter into the soil before planting if growing as a perennial in a climate with warmer winters. The more fertile the soil the better the plants will look but it will decrease the aroma.
Rosemary likes to have around 6 hours of sunlight per day if grown inside.
Rosemary can be trimmed into most any shape and is often grown as a fragrant topiary because the branches are very pliable. You may have to trim twice a season in order to keep the desired shape.
Make sure there is plenty of air flow around the plants to prevent rot and disease.
Watering: Rosemary is a drought tolerant shrub-like plant that can take dry conditions. The soil should be left to dry out a bit between watering. Wet conditions are not ideal for this plant.
Fertilize: As with many herbs, Rosemary will be less aromatic if too much fertilizer is applied. It may only require an application 1 to 2 times per year.
Harvesting: To harvest Rosemary, simply clip off the leaves or sprouts that you need. You can store these in a plastic bag in the fridge for a couple of weeks to use fresh. The best way to preserve the flavor if you are not able to use it fresh is to freeze it. You can freeze the stems on a cookie sheet and then remove the leaves and keep frozen in an air-tight container. Another way is to remove the leaves and combine with a little bit of olive oil and then freeze them in an ice cube tray. Drying is also an option however the flavor is lost just a bit. Tie the stems together and hang them in a warm, dry place.
Common Insect Problems
Rosemary is not usually bothered by insects but you may notice a few of the following:
- Aphids – http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7274
- Whitefly – http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G7275
- Spider Mites – http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef438.asp
- Mealybugs – http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/flowers/note19/note19.html
Common Disease Problems
Rosemary is not bothered by many diseases. If the soil is kept too wet it could develop root rot.