A Comprehensive Guide About Rosemary Propagation, Growth, Care and Harvesting


  • Rosemary is an easy-to-grow plant for home gardens.
  • There are many perennial and annual varieties of rosemary and growers should select only compatible varieties according to local climatic conditions, and soil types.
  • Rosemary can be easily planted both in the pots and garden soils.
  • Rosemary grows and survives well in the slightly acidic and loamy soils.
  • Good drainage conditions must be ensured in both pots and garden soil to avoid root diseases.
  • Soil pH levels must be maintained between the 6-7 pH range. Growers can use good-quality organic and inorganic amendments to maintain pH. However, the use of organic amendments is greatly recommended.
  • Rosemary requires a minimum of six hours of sunlight exposure. Its best growth and development can be observed in full sun conditions. Therefore, rosemary must be planted in sunny locations.
  • The perennial rosemary plant should be planted in such a location where its growth and roots will not be affected by the tillage practices.
  • All rocks, weeds, shrubs, roots, and debris must be removed from the selected site for growing rosemary.
  • Soil samples must be properly collected from the desired site to analyze the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. This is essentially important for the fertility optimization of soil.
  • A thin layer of compost or organic matter must be added to the growing soil to improve solubility and availability of nutrients. Moreover, it also helps for moisture conservation and temperature regulation of soil.
  • Rosemary is a drought-resistant plant and can easily tolerate light freezing.
  • Excessive watering may cause root rot and therefore watering schedule must be decided according to the requirements of plants.
  • Rosemary plants can be grown both from seeds and cuttings. Propagation from cuttings is greatly recommended as the germination of seeds is 15% only.
  • This plant is fairly resistant to diseases and insect pest attacks. However, regular inspection is essentially important to reduce the probabilities of disease development and insect attacks.
  • This article is intended to provide a detailed guideline about how to grow and propagate rosemary.
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How to Propagate and Grow Rosemary.

  • Rosemary can be easily propagated by taking cuttings from healthy, disease-free, and vigorously growing plants.
  • Rosemary can also be planted from seeds but its propagation from cuttings is most effective.
  • Obtain three inches of a branch from good growing rosemary plant.
  • Do not take cuttings from woody and older stems.
  • Prefer younger, flexible, green stems to take cuttings.
  • Use contaminant-free and sharp scissors to take cuttings.
  • Trim all the lower leaves on the stem.
  • Plant 1-2 cuttings to a depth of 3-4 inches in the pots or garden site.
  • These cuttings can be placed in peat moss or perlite to assure effective rooting.
  • Cuttings can also be placed in a water jar filled with good quality water.
  • Properly water the cuttings.
  • Plant the cuttings in a sunny spot where these can get proper sunlight and aeration.
  • Rooting can be observed after 6-8 weeks of planting cuttings.
  • After the proper establishment of the rooting, these cuttings can be carefully transplanted to any other desirable location.
  • The appearance of foliage yellowing is an indication of repotting requirements.
  • Propagation from cuttings offers quick maturity of plants and early harvesting.
  • Moreover, various cuttings can be obtained from a single plant without affecting the growth of the parent plant.
  • The cuttings that will not survive well in the water, perlite, or peat moss will turn brown in color and needles will be dropped.
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What is the Rosemary Plant?

Rosmarinus officinalis, rosemary is an evergreen, fragrant, and easy to grow plant. It belongs to the Lamiaceae a mint family. Rosemary’s name is derived from the Latin word ros marinus meaning dew of the sea. This plant is also known as Anthos in some areas and Anthos word is derived from the Greek word meaning flower.

It produces a pine-like scent and pungent flavor and is an ideal choice for cooking. Rosemary bears needle-shaped leaves and produces blue, purple, pink, or white-colored flowers. It has a fibrous root system and minimum fertilization requirements.

Rosemary is a hardy plant in the cooler climatic regions and its needles are similar to the hemlock. It is a potentially invasive plant species in some parts across the globe and can reach 4-11 inches in length. Usually, these plants can have 25-30 years of life span.

Its leaves are broad, and evergreen, with woolly, short, and dense hair. Flowers are produced in the summer and spring seasons in the temperate regions but constant blooms can be observed in the warmer climatic conditions. Moreover, this plant can also produce flowers outside the normal flowering seasons.

Twigs, leaves, and flowering apices of rosemary plants are used for decorative and cooking purposes. Rosemary has a good position for xeriscape landscaping due to its drought-tolerant nature. It can be easily pruned to low hedges and formal shapes and thereby adds significant beauty to the gardens and landscapes.

The Rosemary plant contains numerous beneficial phytochemicals such as carnosol, carnosic acid, betulinic acid, ursolic acid, caffeic acid, camphor, and rosemarinic acid. Therefore, rosemary plant extracts and oil are being used in folk medicine due to potential medicinal effects. How to grow and propagate rosemary has a significant influence on final yield and quality. Therefore, growers should be careful about the management measures.

Care of your plant

  • Site Selection and Site Preparation

Rosemary can be planted in both garden sites and pots. This plant requires good drainage conditions and slightly acidic loamy soil. It is fact that all gardens and places may not have loamy soil and therefore gardeners can take good quality soil from any other site. This soil can be properly added and mixed with the gardening soil to improve its physical, chemical, and biological properties.


Rosemary plant requires good exposure to sunlight so it must be grown at a point where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight. All shrubs, weeds, rocks, tree roots, and plant debris must be removed from the site to minimize the hiding spaces for insects and pests.

  • Watering

Rosemary plant is somehow tolerant to the drought conditions but still over watering and under watering must be avoided. Excessive irrigation may cause root diseases and thus the capacity of plants to uptake nutrients, water, and minerals will be reduced.

Moreover, it is difficult to determine the watering requirements of rosemary plants because their needles do not wilt like that of broadly shaped leaves. Rosemary plants should be watered once in 1-2 weeks according to climatic conditions, plant age, soil type, and humidity levels. Excessive moistening and wetting of soil should be avoided between watering intervals.

  • Weeding

The presence of weeds is dangerous for all types of growing plants as they create competition for nutrients, space, and water. Therefore, unnecessary plants must be eradicated by manual, mechanical, or chemical weeding. Manual weeding is a good choice to remove small size and younger weeds.

However, weeds become persistent with time. So mechanical eradication must be followed to reduce the weeds. Chemical weeding offers immediate results at the reduced energy expenditure, but it is an expensive approach and also contaminates the surroundings.

  • Fertilization

Rosemary plants have low fertilizer requirements but complete neglection may result in poor growth. Extreme nutritional deficiencies may cause the pale-yellow color of leaves and stunted growth. Growing rosemary plants must be fertilized in the early spring season to provide macronutrients and micronutrients.

All-purpose fertilizers can be applied both in dry and liquid forms to correct nutritional deficiencies. Direct application of fertilizers must be avoided as it can cause leaf burn. However, the foliar application is significantly important to correct nutritional deficiencies immediately. Whereas doses and formulations should be carefully selected to avoid any negative effects.

  • Insects and Diseases

Rosemary plants have good resistance to insect pest attacks and diseases, but regular inspection is a must to protect other plants. Moreover, early detection is significantly important to reduce the further spread and use of synthetic harmful chemicals.

Overgrown grasses in the nearby areas should be properly pruned to improve air circulation and to reduce hiding places for the pests. Furthermore, pruning is an important practice to stimulate the emergence of new shoots and healthy growth.

While some insects such as scales, mealy bugs, and spider mites may attack rosemary plants. Their attack can be greatly reduced by using synthetic or organic insecticides. In case, if scales have attacked the plant, the infested branches can be clipped and dumped in the soil. The contact of infested branches should be avoided with other branches of the same plants and the rest of the plants in the growing spaces.

Mealybugs attacks can be controlled and reduced by using soap-based insecticides, pyrethrum soap, and water. Excessive nitrogen application may promote the attack of sap-sucking insects. Therefore, fertilizers must be applied according to plant needs. Proper fertilization, weeding, and watering are key most practices to reduce the insect pest attack and disease development on rosemary plants.

When to harvest Rosemary

Rosemary plant is ready to harvest after reaching a suitable size. Smaller branches of the rosemary plant can be picked without damaging the growing plants. Rosemary cuttings can be harvested at various times in the season. However, cutting too many branches should be avoided as it will negatively affect the overall growth of the plant.

It is important to give enough time to the plants so that the growth can be resumed in a good fashion. Some rosemary varieties are planted for the flowering purpose that is used for eating and medicinal purpose. Its clippings can be consumed immediately after harvesting or after drying.

The flavor of fresh cutting retains well for 2-7 days in the refrigerators. However, these cuttings can be properly dried in cool and safe conditions to improve their shelf life. Both drying and storage places should be free from contaminants to retain their good quality.

  • Nursery plants are ready to harvest within three months.
  • Rosemary cuttings for cooking or other purposes can be harvested after one year of growth.
  • Rosemary seeds can be harvested after one and a half years of growth of rosemary plants.

Tips for Growing Rosemary

  • Rosemary grows well in the Mediterranean regions so its best growth can be observed in the humid, sunny, and hot atmosphere.
  • This plant should be quarantined in indoor conditions. Placing rosemary in separate conditions is helpful to trace pests and diseases and to protect other plants.
  • Place the growing rosemary plants in bright sunny locations. Grow lights or LED lights can be used during winter conditions to provide lighting intensity.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Allow good drainage of extra moisture by providing drainage holes in the pots.
  • Avoid direct contact with plants with the wood stoves and heat sources.
  • Humidity levels should be carefully decided in the rosemary surroundings.
  • Compensate reduced humidity by regular misting on the plants.
  • Moreover, rosemary plants can also be placed on a tray containing water and pebbles to improve humidity.
  • Regularly check the plants for pests and diseases and control the problems by using organic approaches.
  • Focus well to improve the aeration around the plants.

Compatible and Incompatible Plants for Rosemary

  • Compatible Plants

Rosemary is a healthy and fairly vigorous growing plant and can easily withstand insects and pests and therefore is an ideal companion plant. Compatible plants for rosemary companion planting include marjoram, oregano, strawberries, onion, cauliflower, marigolds, brassicas, parsnips, sage, carrots, beans, lavender, alyssum, chives, and thyme.

  • Broccoli is an ideal rosemary companion due to its insect repelling properties.
  • Both sage and rosemary require the same watering conditions, lighting intensity, and soil.
  • Sage is ideal for rosemary due to its great capacity for attracting pollinators and repelling insects.
  • Oregano has low creeping nature and can easily grow well under rosemary.
  • Rosemary aroma repels the bean’s beetle and thereby reduces the need for synthetic chemicals.
  • Planting rosemary and cabbage helps to attain caterpillar-free gardens.
  • Thyme is a deterrent to worms and can flourish well near rosemary plants.
  • The powerful scent of rosemary provides benefits to parsnips by repelling flies.
  • Both rosemary and marigold offer good insect repelling properties and thus benefit the whole growing space.
  • Rosemary and onion are also good companions as onions repel the bugs and rosemary repels the insects.
  • Companion planting of strawberry and rosemary greatly improves soil fertility.
  • The flavor and health of marjoram are greatly improved by its companion planting with rosemary.
  • Planting rosemary along with hot peppers improves the flavor of peppers.
  • Carrot’s plantation along with rosemary helps to repel carrot flies.
  • Incompatible Plants

Rosemary plant does not support the growth, development, yield, quality, flavor, and taste of all plants. Some plants must be avoided to grow along with rosemary.

  • Mint is an overpowering plant and can easily utilize most of the space in the garden. So, planting rosemary along with the mint should be avoided. Moreover, mint grows well in damp soil and rosemary requires well-drained and dry soil. Therefore, mint and rosemary do not have good companionship.
  • Rosemary plant negatively affects the growth of basil due to different moisture requirements.

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