Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a everegreen shrub that grows up to 2 meters. It has narrow leaves, greyish-green and extremely aromatic. Its fine leaves and its branches are used as a condiment in the kitchen for medicinal purposes and its essential oil is used in the manufacture of beauty and hygiene products. Rosemary is also cultivated as an ornamental plant, having cultivars of white flowers or with some shades of pink, blue or violet.

The rosemary blooms in the spring, where the small flowers fill the stems.

Common name: Rosemary
Scientific name: Rosmarinus officinalis
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Climate

They are plants from the Mediterranean climate and therefore enjoy well drained soils and lots of sun. In colder regions, it should be grown in pots or on high beds to be protected from snow and frost (larger plants are generally more resistant than small younger plants).

Sunlight

Rosemary enjoys direct sunlight for at least a few hours of the day.

Soil

The soil should be well drained and light. Rosemary grows best in limestone soils of neutral pH or slightly alkaline pH (above 7), but is generally tolerant of pH and soil type. Rosemary acquires a more intense aroma and flavor when cultivated on nutrient-poor soil, exposed to the sun.

Watering

When plants are young or newly planted, water often so the soil is kept slightly moist. When the plants are well developed, irrigation should be less regular, allowing the soil to dry slightly between irrigation. Rosemary is quite resistant to periods of drought.

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) - dearplants
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) – bluish flowers

Propagation

Rosmarinus can be propagated from seeds although it is normally reproduced by cuttings.

Rosemary seeds can be planted in seed trays or in small pots. Seed germination can be time consuming and plants can take up to three years to become fully developed. Rosemary seedlings are transplanted when they are about 15 to 20 cm high.

The propagation of rosemary by cuttings is made by cutting branches about 15 cm in length. You should plant the branches in pots or other containers, left in a light place, but without direct sunlight. The soil should be kept well moist but aerated until rooting, which takes about three to four weeks. After rooting the new plants should receive direct sunlight. They can be transplanted to the definitive site after about a year in regions where the winter is cold but can be transplanted about one or two months after rooting in regions where winter is mild. Young plants should not be exposed to very low temperatures in their first year of life.

How to plant

The spacing between the plants may be generally 80 cm, but may vary with the cultivar, the growing conditions or the intended effect.

Rosemary can be grown in flower pots and pots of medium to large size but usually does not grow as much as when grown in soil.

Harvesting

Harvesting of rosemary for domestic use can begin as early as 3 months after planting. However, the ideal is to allow the plants to grow two to three years before harvesting, taking out at most half of the branches to avoid damaging the plants.

Rosemary is a perennial plant and can produce well for over ten years.

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) - harvested dry leaves
Harvested dry leaves

In the garden

It can be cultivated as an informal hedge, being trimmed after flowering.

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