Rosemary is a very easy plant to grow and take care of. Still, it has its own preferences for where it likes to be grown. It will do best if you provide it with the right resources. If you’re looking for some guidance on how to provide the right growing conditions for your rosemary plant, keep reading. Below, I cover why grow rosemary, where to plant rosemary outside and whether you should plant it in pots or in the garden, what soil conditions you need, when to plant rosemary and much more to keep your rosemary happy, healthy and growing.
Why Grow Rosemary?
Growing your own rosemary is a great idea. It’s an appealing plant to look at and it has many uses. It is a perennial plant, so it continues growing throughout the year. This means that you can enjoy its rich green leaves during every season.
Many people use these shrubs as ornamental hedges in their garden or as part of wreaths and bouquets.
Many people also use it in cooking and for medicinal uses. It is used in so many dishes, in fact, that it can get quite expensive if you’re constantly buying fresh rosemary from the grocery store.
If you choose to grow your own plant, you’ll be left with a large supply of rosemary for years to come.
Rosemary can also repel some pests in the garden. Read more here.
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Where Does Rosemary Grow Best?
Where is rosemary grown in nature? Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean regions where the weather is warm and dry. It does best in air temperatures of 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, ideal soil temperatures should be above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is commonly found naturally throughout southern Europe and parts of Asia. In these Mediterranean regions, rosemary can be found growing along the coastlines and nearby grounds.
Whether in the wild or in your garden, rosemary grows best where it is sheltered from the elements. Despite this, it still needs full sun. It also does best in warmer climates where the air and soil is dry.
Grow Rosemary in Pots Or the Garden?
It’s not hard to pick where to grow rosemary. Whether you choose to grow your rosemary in a pot or in your garden is really up to you. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll go over here.
Growing Rosemary in Pots
Pots make it easier to take care of your plant, especially if you live in a climate where it gets cold. During the winter months, you’ll need to go through steps to protect your rosemary plant which can be a hassle. If you keep your plant in a pot, you can simply bring it inside over winter without much of a fuss.
Pots can be nice because you can move them wherever you like. Moving pots around can get your plant the best sun, and it can allow you to change up the aesthetic of your garden. It also makes it easy to bring your plant inside in the winter.
If you’re planting in a pot, it’s best to place the pot to the east where it will get full sun until about midday. If you place it where it gets full sun all day, you’ll need to have a large pot. Too much sun can easily dry out a pot and your plant will become underwatered.
You also need to be careful of overwatering in pots, especially if you’re keeping the pot inside. Too much water can drown your plant, especially if there aren’t sufficient drainage holes. Too much water can also cause fungus to grow on your plant.
Planter feet are useful to keep the pot lifted from the ground. This allows for proper drainage and keeps the rosemary’s roots from becoming rotten.
However, growing your rosemary plant in a pot can be a hassle too. It all depends on which kind of rosemary plant you have.
Some stay on the smaller side and are easier to keep in pots. Likewise, rosemary plants that grow more upright will be easier to plant in pots. Some rosemary plants grow more widely. Some will grow outwards up to 8 feet, making it almost impossible to keep in a pot.
Still, plants that grow wide, but don’t become overly large look great in pots. For example, creeping rosemary will beautifully sprawl over the side of its pot, creating a nice look.
Growing Rosemary in the Garden
Planting rosemary in the garden also has its advantages. It will have a permanent place to grow and spread out. Pots can sometimes hinder the plant’s ability to grow to its full potential. Living in the garden will give it full access to grow as large as it pleases.
Growing rosemary in the garden also leaves you more space in your home. Most people that grow their rosemary in pots do so to keep the plant inside. However, rosemary can grow to be quite large and will take up considerable space in your home.
Having rosemary grow in your garden will also give your house a nicer look, overall. Rosemary is a very attractive plant that will make a nice addition to any garden.
Because the plant becomes so large, it’s best to let it grow up against the wall of your house or shed. Some species can grow up to 8 feet tall, so the wall provides support for it to grow. The wall will also provide some insulation and warmth. Remember that rosemary grows best in warm climates.
Some people advocate planting rosemary by the garden gate. Click here to read if that’s a good idea.
If you live in a region that gets cold over the winter, you’ll need to take steps to protect it. Read more here.
Wondering if rosemary spreads like mint? Click here to read our full guide to this.
Where To Plant Rosemary Outside
We covered most of this above, but we’ll go over some of the basics again. Rosemary likes full sun, so it should be placed in an area of the garden where it will receive full sun for 6-8 hours a day. It also needs to be in soil that is well draining, in an area that allows for more growth.
We’ll go more in depth about what your plant needs here:
Does Rosemary Like Full Sun?
Rosemary loves full sun. It needs to be placed in full sun for at least 6-8 hours a day. It can tolerate a bit of shade as long as the shade isn’t covering it the entire day.
It’s recommended to plant your rosemary on the eastern side of the house. This gives it plenty of sunlight for most of the day without if becoming dried out from too much sun.
How Much Spacing Does Rosemary Need?
Depending on the type of rosemary plant you purchase, some can grow quite large. Some kinds of rosemary can grow up to 6-8 feet wide and tall.
Because of this, they also produce quite large and extensive root systems. You won’t want your rosemary plants competing with each other for resources, so they should always be planted at least 2-3 feet apart.
Click here to read more about how big rosemary plants grow.
What Soil Conditions Does Rosemary Need?
The best soil for rosemary is sand-like soil that drains easily. For the healthiest rosemary plants, you should use soil that is one part sterilized soil, one part perlite, and one part peat moss. This combination aids in aeration and drainage. It prevents your rosemary plant from becoming too waterlogged.
Rosemary is tolerant of a wide range of pH’s and can live in a pH from 5-8. Still, it does best in soil that is just slightly acidic. This includes pH’s of 6-7.5.
Click here to find out the best soil for rosemary.
Should I Fertilize My Rosemary Regularly?
Rosemary plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can actually be detrimental to rosemary, so you should use caution when providing fertilizer.
Rosemary that is growing outside in the ground really does best without any added fertilizer. The only time it’s recommended to provide ground-growing rosemary with fertilizer is if the plant appears sick. This includes if the plant has dry or yellowing foliage.
When you notice this, you’ll do best to provide a balanced liquid food to help your plant perk back up.
If you are growing your rosemary inside in a pot, it will need fertilizer. A balanced liquid fertilizer should be provided every spring.
How Often Should I Water My Rosemary Plant?
Rosemary prefers less water, and it’s actually better to underwater your rosemary plant than to overwater it. Rosemary is even quite drought resistant, but can’t withstand overly long periods without water.
To avoid overwatering, potted plants should only be watered when the soil is completely dry. Avoid watering your rosemary while the soil is still damp because that can cause overwatering and rot.
Likewise, plants living in the ground only need to be watered after the surrounding soil has completely dried out.
The difference here is that you can water while the soil is still slightly damp. The surrounding soil will soak up the water and prevent the rosemary from becoming overwatered. Note that the keyword here is “slightly” damp. If the soil is still significantly wet, don’t water your plant.
When To Plant Rosemary
The best time to plant rosemary is in the spring after any risk of frost is gone. Spring and summer is when rosemary plants naturally grow the most, so this is clearly the best time to plant new rosemary.
Planting in spring also gives them more time to grow out than it would if you planted them in the summer or fall.
When To Harvest Rosemary
Because rosemary is a perennial plant, they can be harvested at any time of year. However, harvesting is best done during the spring and summer. Spring and summer is when the plant grows the most and is at its healthiest.
Rosemary will produce lots of new growth during this time. New growth is the ideal section of the plant to harvest for cooking or propagation.
Keep in mind that you never want to harvest from a young plant. Harvesting from a young plant can damage its growth and prevent it from growing well in the future. You should wait until your plant is at least 12-15 months of age before doing any harvesting or pruning.
Final Words on Where to Plant Rosemary
Rosemary is an easy plant to take care of, but you can still provide it with the right conditions to grow it best. If you want your rosemary plant to be happiest, you should provide it with lots of sun. Don’t overwater it, and make sure the soil is well drained. It doesn’t matter much whether you choose to plant your rosemary in a pot or in your garden. Simply provide it with the right resources, and it will continue growing for years.
Want to learn more? Click here to learn how much sun rosemary needs or here for when to plant. You can also find all our guides to growing rosemary here.
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