What Not To Plant With Rosemary:
Rosemary does not like warm temperatures. If it gets too hot, it will die off quickly. So if you are planning to grow rosemary outside, make sure the temperature stays cool during winter months.
If you have roses growing in your garden, they may get damaged by frost and need protection from cold weather conditions. Roses do not tolerate freezing temperatures well. They need to stay at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 C) or higher.
The best way to protect roses from frost is to put them into pots when the temperature drops below 50 F (-10 C). Put them back out after the snow melts. Do not leave them outdoors where they could freeze again.
How To Grow With Rosemary:
Rosemary likes full sun and can survive in partial shade. It prefers moist soil but doesn’t mind dry soil. It grows best in rich, fertile soil.
It needs lots of water and fertilizer regularly to keep it healthy. You can use regular potting mix or a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle Gro’s Garden Power or Miracle Gro’s Lawn & Landscape Mix 2-Part. Follow the directions on the package for best results.
You can prune rosemary back anytime during the year. More rosemary flowers are produced when it is pruned in late summer and early fall. You can also take softwood cuttings in summer and root them to start new plants.
It takes about three years for a rosemary plant to reach full size when grown from an indoor plant. It will get about 2 feet high and as wide. It grows slowly so you don’t need to prune it back often.
Rosemary can also be planted outdoors in the ground or in a large pot. It needs well-draining soil so dig a hole big enough for the roots. When planting rosemary in a pot, make sure it has a hole at the bottom so the water can drain out.
If you live in a cold climate zone, plant rosemary in an area that is protected from harsh winter weather conditions. When planting outside, the soil should be prepared the previous fall by incorporating organic matter and sand for good drainage.
You can grow rosemary in large containers on your patio or balcony and move it inside before the cold weather sets in. Be sure to keep it indoors where it can get as much sunlight as possible.
After the top growth has died back, cut it way back and keep it in a cool (not cold), dry place for about 8 weeks. Then move it back outside in a sunny location to start growing again.
You can also grow rosemary hydroponically or in a water-based container. Follow the directions that come with your container for best results.
If you’re growing it hydroponically, you’ll need a well-lit area. A northern facing window is good because it won’t be in direct sunlight most of the day.
After your rosemary is planted, keep the soil damp but not wet. Too much water will cause the roots to rot so don’t over water. Use a liquid fertilizer at half strength each time you water.
If you’re growing it in a container outdoors, site it in a sunny location and keep the soil moist. Water it weekly and fertilizer it when you water. It will need more frequent watering in hot weather conditions (every 5-7 days).
After growing it hydroponically for about a year, you can plant it in the ground. Dig a hole and remove the root mass. Re-fill the hole with rich soil mixed with organic matter and water well.
You can also grow rosemary in a large container outdoors or in a pot on your patio or balcony. When grown in a container, it needs to be transplanted into the ground after about 3 years.
Rosemary growing tips
Cut back or prune after flowering. You can cut it way back to promote new growth and flowers. Be sure to keep the pruned stems. They can be dried and used for cooking or make rosemary herbal tea.
You can also take softwood cuttings in early summer and root them to start new plants. Look under “pinching and cutting” on this website for directions on how to do this.
Rosemary is easy to grow from seed but it takes a long time. You can collect the seeds when the flowers start to die back after about 6 months.
Before you plant, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. Then plant 1 inch deep and keep the soil moist until they start to sprout. It may take 2-3 months before they sprout so be patient!
You can harvest leaves from your rosemary at any time during the growing season. Cut or pinch off what you need and remove any dead or diseased parts of the stems.
The woody stems need to be harvested by pruning in early spring just before new growth appears. Then dry the stems out in your drying area.
To harvest the leaves, cut or pinch them off just above a set of true leaves. Discard the top part of the stem since it is woody.
If you grow rosemary in your garden, you can easily harvest by just bending the stem and rubbing a finger down it to release the needles.
Storing your rosemary
Fresh: Store in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Use within 2-3 weeks.
Dried: Store in an airtight container out of direct light (a jar or ziplock bag works well). Use within 6 months to a year.
To make the most of your dried rosemary, crush or crumble between your fingers before using. The fragrance and oils are more accessible when it’s broken up a bit.
If you live in a dry area, you can keep a container of fresh rosemary (still in the pot) at room temperature during the growing season. It will need to be watered about once a week like a house plant. Put it back in the fridge when temperatures start to dip or it starts to go dormant.
Culinary uses for rosemary
Adds flavor when used as a seasoning. Typically used in meats such as lamb, pork, beef, and game. Also used in soups, stews, sauces, vegetables, breads, stuffings, and eggs.
Goes well with garlic, basil, lemon, onion, oregano, and thyme.
Always chop or crush the leaves before using. This releases the oils and flavors into your food.
Combine with salt to make a rub for meat.
Do not over cook with rosemary since this can make the flavor bitter.
Add chopped leaves to jars of olive oil and keep about 6 months before using for cooking.
Add fresh sprigs to jugs of water and keep in a cool dark cupboard to infuse your drinking water.
Try rubbing cut sprigs on your palms then through your hair to give yourself a rosemary-lavender scent.
Make herbal tea by pouring a cup of hot water over a teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves.
Historical uses for rosemary
Ancient Egyptians used rosemary for embalming and preserving their dead kings and queens. The Romans wore wreathes of it at their celebrations. In the middle ages, couples would give each other a sprig of rosemary to declare their love.
In gardens, rosemary was planted near doorways to keep witches from entering the house.
Greeks thought that burning rosemary in the home kept away evil spirits. They also placed it on graves and laid it on coffins during funerals.
During the Black Plague, people burned rosemary and pine to try and sanitize the air.
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