Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 2 meters. It has narrow greyish-green and extremely aromatic leaves. Its thin 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. Rosemary blooms in the spring, where the small flowers fill the stems.
In this article
Plant profileCommon name: Rosemary
Scientific name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Plant type: Shrubs
Height: 1.5m - 3m
Spread: 50cm - 1.5m
Flower color: White
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Well drained
Garden type: Mediterranean Garden, Patio & Container Garden, Rock & Gravel Garden
Other characteristics: Aromatic leaves, Drought resistant, Edible leaves
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).
Rosemary enjoys direct sunlight for at least a few hours of the day.
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 scent and flavor when cultivated on nutrient-poor soils, exposed to the sun.
How to water rosemary plants
When plants are young or newly planted, water regularly so the soil is kept slightly moist. When the plants are well developed, watering should be less regular, allowing the soil to dry slightly between irrigation. Rosemary is quite resistant to periods of drought.
How to propagate rosemary
Rosemary can be propagated from seeds although it is normally reproduced by cuttings.
Rosemary seeds can be sown 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 rosemary
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 of medium to large size but usually does not grow as much as when grown in soil.
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.
In the garden
It can be cultivated as an informal hedge, being trimmed after flowering.