Many chefs and cooks love to cook with rosemary. They know that it tastes best when it’s fresh so it’s best to get the herb directly from the source. It’s super easy to get rosemary if you grow it in your own backyard. It’s even a nice-looking plant that blooms beautifully in the spring. Still, if you’re going to grow your own rosemary, you’re going to want to know how big it gets. I this guide to growing rosemary, I’ll describe why you may want to grow rosemary, how big does a rosemary plant get, tips for helping your rosemary grow as big as possible, and when and how to harvest your rosemary.
If you want to keep your plant small, I also discuss how to do this.
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Why Grow Rosemary?
Rosemary is a very nice smelling herb that is used for cooking many dishes. Rosemary, or Salvia rosmarinus, is a perennial plant. This means that it comes back year after year, rather than dying after it’s first bloom. It is also an evergreen plant which means that it retains its leaves year round.
Not only does rosemary smell and taste good, but it’s visually appealing as well. As we said, it’s an evergreen shrub, so you can admire it and use it year round. The plant boasts firm, wooded stems covered by thin, needle-like leaves. The leaves are a beautiful gray-green color.
Rosemary plants even produce pretty flowers to add to their appearance. Small, light blue and white flowers will grow in clusters across the plant. You’ll most often see these flowers in spring and summer when the conditions are right for them.
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How Big Does Rosemary Grow?
How big your rosemary plant will grow depends on your environmental conditions and what kind of rosemary plant you have. Ideal conditions will help your plant grow the best it can.
However, there are several types of rosemary plants and they all grow a bit differently. So, how big can rosemary grow? Here are four of the most common varieties:
Rosemary Varieties and Their Size
Arp: This first rosemary plant is more moderate in the growth department. It will grow about 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. It is also known to grow stiffly upright, its foliage not spreading out as much as the others.
Golden Rain: This is one of the smaller kinds of rosemary plants. It will usually only grow to heights of 2-3 feet, and its width will be about the same.
Albus: These plants are another one of the taller rosemary plants. They also grow in a more rigid, upright orientation. They will typically grow between 4-6 feet tall.
Prostratus: This form of the rosemary plant is best known for its low growth. This is the shortest kind of rosemary plant, only reaching heights of about 2 feet. Instead, it grows wider, spreading about 2-3 feet across the ground.
How Tall Do Rosemary Plants Grow?
Rosemary is actually classified as a shrub and can grow to be quite large. At it’s smallest, it might only be 2 feet. However, some plants can reach upwards of 6 feet. Their large size doesn’t stop with height, either. As a shrub, it can grow 2-4 feet wide. Of course, the overall height depends on the type of rosemary plant, as we covered above.
How Big Is A Sprig Of Rosemary?
A sprig is much smaller than the plant itself. A sprig refers to the short clipping that you remove from the plant. Most people use these clippings to cook, and the recommended length is 4-6 inches long.
You can read my guide to how fast rosemary grows here.
Tips To Help Rosemary Grow As Big As Possible
If you want your rosemary plants to grow as big as possible, you’ll want to do everything right. Growing these plants in the right conditions are bound to leave you with wonderful, healthy plants.
When Should Rosemary Be Planted?
Rosemary responds best when it’s planted in the spring after any chance of frost is gone. If you are still worried about a frosty morning popping up, don’t chance it. Your new rosemary plant won’t withstand a cold frost.
If you don’t want to wait for spring, you can always begin growing your plant inside. A rosemary plant kept indoors can be grown at any time of year. Just make sure all their other growing conditions are just right.
How Fast Does Rosemary Grow?
These plants grow moderately fast.
Seeds will germinate in about 15-25 days when under ideal conditions.
It will take about one year for it to go from its seed stage to its permanent position outside. Still, it won’t reach full maturity for a few years.
The second year is when you’ll begin to notice flowers blossoming.
If you want to help your rosemary plant grow faster, you should transplant the plant into a larger pot twice a year.
What Sun Exposure does Rosemary Need?
Rosemary does best when it’s in full sun. You should not plant your rosemary plant in an area where there are other trees or shrubs.
If you’re growing your plant indoors, the same thing applies. Make sure your plant is by a sunny window at all times with nothing overshadowing it. A south facing window will be the best option if you have one available. Many caretakers also purchase grow lights made specifically for plants. When it is warmer, you can bring your plant outside for some natural sunlight.
Overall, you should make sure that your rosemary plant is receiving at least 6 hours of full sun a day. If your plant doesn’t have access to enough sunlight, your plant will be weak and won’t grow well.
Click here for my full guide to how much sun rosemary needs.
What Temperature & Humidity does Rosemary Need?
As you can probably tell, rosemary plants like to be warm and sunny. They grow best in temperatures that are warm with moderately high humidity levels.
We stated above that you shouldn’t plant your rosemary plant when there’s still a chance for frost. This is because they will die in temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
On the other end of the spectrum, rosemary plants can survive much hotter temperatures and will even do well throughout a drought. Still, they do best in more moderate temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Just as these plants don’t tolerate the cold, they also won’t tolerate higher humidity levels. Too much humidity and moisture will cause rotting and fungal issues. These problems will increase the less circulation is in the air.
What Soil Conditions Does Rosemary Need?
Rosemary doesn’t like a lot of water. It does best in sandy, loamy soil that is well drained. You should never plant them in clay soils or soils that get very wet. Your rosemary bush won’t do well in these conditions.
The plant can handle soil that is slightly acidic. The pH of the soil should be kept around 6.0-7.0.
Besides knowing what kind of soil to plant rosemary in, you’ll want to know how to plant it. Rosemary plants should never be planted directly side by side. If you want multiple plants, they should be spaced 2-3 feet from each other.
If you purchase seedlings or nursery plants, they should be planted at the same depth you got them in their container. If you are starting from scratch with seeds, the seeds should be just barely covered with soil.
Click here to read more about the best soil for rosemary.
How Much Water Does Rosemary Need?
Rosemary plants are very tolerant of drought. Unlike many plants, it’s actually better to underwater rosemary than it is to overwater it. They are more likely to survive a slight drought than they are to survive oversaturation.
Because they’re so intolerant of water, you should allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Of course, you don’t want the soil to dry out completely, although it’s not the end of the world if this happens. Instead, water your plant when the soil is moist, but not overly wet.
When To Harvest Rosemary
Because rosemary is an evergreen plant, it can be harvested at any time of year. However, the plant grows the most during the spring and summer, so this is when it’s best to harvest its leaves.
Also, the leaves smell and taste better just as the plant is about to bloom, so spring and summer are certainly the best times of year to harvest.
How To Harvest Rosemary
Harvesting rosemary plants is quite easy. Because the plant is so big, you can usually take as much as you like. It’s recommended to use plant pruners to cut the stem tips off.
You should cut about 4-6 inches from the stem tip for best results. You can harvest as many of these stems tips as you like, and there will still be plenty left over.
How To Best Keep Your Rosemary Plant Small
Many people like to grow their rosemary plants inside. Obviously, if you’re keeping your plant inside, you won’t want it to become too big. So, how do you keep it smaller?
The best option if you want a smaller plant is to pick one that is naturally small. The Blue Boy rosemary plant is a great option because it grows slowly and never gets above 2 feet tall.
But, there is one way that you can manually keep your plant small as well.
Every two to three years, you’ll want to remove the root ball and trim the roots. This will prevent the plant from becoming root-bound, and it will keep the plant on the smaller side. Here’s how to prune the roots:
- Take scissors or pruners and remove the bottom third of the plant
- Next, starting from the bottom of the root ball and working up, make two vertical cuts. You’ll make these cuts inwards of the root balls. The cuts will be an inch in from the sides. You’ll only want to do this for about a third of the way up from the root ball.
- Replant with fresh soil and water.
This is the only known way to keep your rosemary plant smaller, and it’s not entirely effective. You can only prevent your plant from growing so much without causing damage.
Your best bet is to simply get a rosemary plant that is naturally smaller.
Final Words on How Big Rosemary Grows
Growing your own rosemary is a great idea. It’s a nice looking plant that will produce beautiful flowers in the spring. The best part, of course, is having fresh rosemary herb right at your fingertips. Growing your own rosemary is the best way to get it. Just know that these plants can grow quite large and need specific care. If you’re up for the task, you’ll have fresh rosemary for years to come.
Want to learn more? Click here to find all my rosemary guides. You can click here to find out how to freeze rosemary and here for whether you can plant rosemary with tomatoes. You can also read where to plant rosemary here.
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