Salvia rosmarinus. Rosemary has stiff stems with crisp, fir-like leaves and a strong, rich aroma. Dried leaves release more flavour if freshly crushed. Plant in full sun in the garden or a big container. This is one of the woody stemmed perennial herbs, and in the right spot, plants can become large and shrubby. If growing Rosemary seeds in containers, protect the plants from severe winter weather by taking them into a protected area like a garage or garden shed. The flowers of this oil rich herb are fragrant and very attractive to honeybees and other wild pollinators.
To harvest, cut entire branches from the plant, and dry indoors, hanging upside down in some airy place free from direct sunlight. Once dry, the leaves can be pulled off and stored in sealed containers. They remain aromatic for many months.
Rosemary is not quite as simple from seed as many other herbs, but it can be achieved by novice gardeners if they take certain precautions. It is a woody perennial that grows slowly, and won’t be ready for harvesting during the first year of growth. If growing rosemary in containers, provide monthly feedings of liquid fertilizer. Keep watered in hot weather.
Zone: Hardy to Zone 8
When I Get My Seedling Home
Keep seedlings under very bright light to prevent legginess. Artificial lights are ideal, but a bright (ideally, south-facing) room will work for the short term. You may have to pot on seedlings more than once before they go out to allow for root growth. This is done by transplanting them into a slightly larger container with enough additional soil to keep the container mostly full. Keep the soil moist by daily watering and allow for free drainage so the plants are never sitting water.
Do not transplant outside until night time temperatures are steadily 10°C (50°F) or warmer. This may mean keeping seedlings indoors for up to a month. The plants should not require any fertilizer until transplant time. Transplant to the garden at a spacing of 60-90cm (24-36″).
If growing rosemary in containers, provide monthly feedings of liquid fertilizer. Keep watered in hot weather. Mulch around all rosemary plants as cold weather approaches. If their roots freeze in times of hard frost, the plants will die.
Harvest individual leaves by pulling them off the plant. Harvest branches or stems for drying by cutting with a clean, very sharp knife. Scissors may crush the plant’s tissues at the cut end.
Rosemary is a good companion for beans, Brassicas, and carrots.
More on Companion Planting.