Growing Rosemary

Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, is a hardy evergreen subshrub. Growing rosemary has been a past time for ages. Well-known for its aromatic leaves, which are used for seasoning food. In the past, rosemary oil was used as medicine. The foliage is dark and shiny on the leaf face and white and woolly underneath. The plants can grow up to six foot high and live for years if protected from extreme winter conditions.

Its lovely name, rosemary, is from Latin, meaning 'dew of the sea.' In an herb beauty contest, Rosemary would come in first, hands down. In the spring, the plant puts on a display of delicate blooms in colors from pale to dark blue. An appealing part of growing rosemary is the longevity of the plant. This perennial will last for decades with only minimal care.

In ancient times, the shrub was believed to possess healing powers for strengthening memory. Recent studies have found that rosemary contains blockers that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. This is a brain chemical, which is involved in memory function. It is amazing that centuries ago people were aware of the medicinal properties of growing herbs that science is proving today.

Springtime is the ideal planting season for growing rosemary. The best method of propagating rosemary is by taking cuttings. Take six-inch stem cuttings and strip the leaves bare a couple of inches from the bottom. Stick these stems into a mixture of compost. Cover the rosemary with a clear plastic bag to retain heat. A temperature of 60°F to 70°F is needed for the cuttings to root.

The rosemary can be transplanted in the garden when it has rooted, in approximately eight weeks. All rosemary varieties prefer full sun and can tolerate a degree of shade.

When growing rosemary in containers, be certain the pot has proper drainage. Line the container to ensure the drain holes do not become plugged.

The ideal space for growing rosemary is to place the plants two feet apart. Rosemary prefers dry, well-drained soil, and grows extremely well with only occasional watering. The plant performs even better, where the soil is alkaline. You can increase the pH level in the soil by adding lime.

Rosemary is not too fussy about soil condition as long as it is not waterlogged. Add sandy soil to aid your soil's drainage system. Growing rosemary in areas that receive little rainfall is advantageous for this drought tolerant scrub.

Water only when the compost is dried out and feed once a month with liquid fertilizer from spring until fall. When growing rosemary, you catch a break from the usual thirsty plants in the garden. To harvest Rosemary simply cut the stems with a sharp knife.

Growing Rosemary for cooking

Rosemary has leaves that resemble pine needles. The needles can be finely chopped and used to flavor a variety of dishes. Sprigs or whole stems can be added to meats in the roasting pan.

Growing Rosemary tips

Growing rosemary near cabbages and beans will repel moths and beetles.

Rosemary's fragrant flowers will attract bees, butterflies, and birds to your garden.

Rosemary medical uses

Rosemary is well known as a pain reliever, treatment for nervous conditions, and stomach ailments. It contains natural organic compounds, which have been shown to inhibit carcinogens that may lead to cancer.

Growing rosemary is for the savvy gardener who wants year round pleasure from the garden without a lot of fuss. Kind of like a happy marriage. Plant rosemary and you are sure to be pleased with the results.

Michael Floren is a gardening enthusiast and has been Growing Rosemary for more then a decade. Visit his website at to learn more about growing rosemary and other great herbs.

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