Growing Rosemary

Rosemary is woody stemmed, hardy and tough, making it an easy herb to grow.  It is tolerant of a variety of conditions, is wonderfully fragrant and has a robust flavor for cooking.

Rosemary by Midwest Gardening.jpg

Sun Requirements:  6-8 hours sun, but will tolerate light shade.

Soil:  Well drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Moisture:  Water regularly and allow to dry well before watering again.

Spacing:  Rosemary can get quite large.  In northern regions where it is grown as an annual space 18-24” apart.  In zones 7-10 rosemary is perennial and can grow even larger unless persistently harvested and pruned.

Feeding:  Mix a slow release balanced fertilizer into the planting soil and reapply in late spring.

Growing from Seed:  Rosemary is difficult to grow from seed.  Start plants from cuttings or purchase starter plants.

Problems:  Rosemary is typically pretty resistant to problems but may be bothered occasionally by whiteflies, spider mites and mealy bugs.  Good drainage and air circulation are important to prevent mildew and root rot in humid regions.


Rosemary can be snipped with a pruning secateur in small or large stem sections as needed.  It grows quickly and can become woody, so harvest or prune frequently to encourage young tender growth for harvest and leave the woody stems.


Harvest fresh as needed, wrap in paper towel and store in the refrigerator when necessary.


Rosemary freezes very well, cut sprigs and freeze in resealable freezer bags.  Or dry sprigs, strip the leaves and preserve in vinegar or oil.

Sharon Dwyer