Rosemary plant (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a renowned indoor and outdoor herbaceous plant. It’s easy to grow both in gardens and in pots and containers. With proper light, water, and soil requirements and some fertilizer , rosemary will thrive and grow into an aromatic that’s bound to be a great addition to your kitchen garden or a garden in general.
Facts About Rosemary Plants
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is grown as both an annual and perennial shrub and is a relatively easy plant to grow. It’s grown as a herb plant and a garden shrub.
Dried or fresh, it’s a trendy kitchen ingredient to add flavor and is very commonly grown alongside thyme, basil, oregano, etc. It’s great at adding flavor and scent to food. Rosemary has a pungent but pleasant smell and has various health benefits as well. Tuscan Blue and Tuscan spires are popular as flavoring herb plants.
There are over 24 rosemary varieties out there.
It’s a plant native to the Mediterranean hillside with leaves that are thin and needle-like. The plants also have tiny lavender or white flowers. Aside from its culinary use, rosemary is also used for medicinal and healing purposes and overall are very low maintenance plants.
How To Plant Rosemary?
When planting rosemary herb plants in the garden, be sure to choose a spot that receives enough sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours.
Before planting, you can enrich the soil with some organic or chemical fertilizers to ensure the healthy growth of the plants. Consider planting a herb plant with a root growth system from a nursery rather than seeds. To plant the shrub, dig a hole that’s twice the size of the root ball on the plant. Once you have an appropriately sized hole positioned, plant the shrub firmly and backfill it with soil. Firm it down more if needed and shape the soil in a ring form around the plant. Make sure soil adequately covers the area where the plants will require the water most.
You can then mulch the soil’s surrounding with organic mulch and water your plant at least twice a week.
Planting Of Rosemary In A Container
Although rosemary can be planted using seeds, they’re harder to germinate. It’s best to use a healthy cutting from another rosemary plant as that’s easier to grow. Rosemary has a high drought resistance and requires little maintenance to grow into a lush shrub. It’s very suited for a home garden as well.
Planting in pots is easy and can be done by cutting off the stem’s tip and removing most of the lower leaves.
A pot with a big diameter of up to 12 inches is better as the plant will require space for the roots to grow. Pot with good drainage holes is preferred as it would allow some measure of control when watering the plant. You can plant around one to two cuttings in a pot for healthy growth.
The surface potting mix can be light and airy with a light-medium of soil and perlite and peat moss if required, as this promotes higher retention of water.
Once it’s done, make sure to place it in a spot that receives enough light and use fertilizers to encourage better growth.
Depending on the plant size and weather conditions, you can water your plant every week or every alternate week. Sometimes you may need to water it twice a week, depending on the plant size and its water requirements. Rosemaries don’t like soggy soil but well-drained soil. So, avoid overwatering the plant as it can cause root rot.
Feeding of Rosemary Plants
To feed extra nutrients to the rosemaries, you can use fertilizers. Rosemary plants don’t often require fertilizing unless they display stunted growth and have pale leaves. In that case, you can feed the plant some dilated water-soluble fertilizer or some dry fertilizer. Avoid fertilizing around a couple of months before your area’s frost date, as that could damage the plant.
Nutrients Required By The Rosemary Plants
Rosemary plants require a good ratio of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) along with magnesium and sulfur to grow robust. An excellent way to find out what kind of fertilizer your rosemary would need is to test soil ph. Without testing the soil pH first, it’s advisable to plant or fertilize.
You can add some manure and mulch to support the growth. Composting the plant can also add beneficial nutrients. Rosemaries are not heavy feeders and like well-drained soil. A simple combination of fish emulsion or kelp meal to the soil will also go a long way to strengthen the plant.
What Is The Best Time To Fertilize?
The best time to fertilize would be when you notice stunted growth in the plant. That’s when you can add light or diluted liquid fertilizers to encourage healthier growth. Pale and yellowish leaves on rosemary are often the signs that the plant lacks nutrients and has grown stunted.
To grow rosemary lushly and help the plant flourish:
- Feed some fertilizers to your plant in the early spring.
- Don’t fertilize your plant close to the frost date.
- Stop any fertilization at least two months before the frost date.
How To Fertilize The Rosemary Plant?
There are proper ways to fertilize the plant, and if you do it incorrectly, you could chance to damage the plant and stunt its growth. For rosemary, don’t fertilize directly to the plant itself, as that can cause the leaves to burn. Instead, using slow-release fertilizer for the plant, apply it to the soil or the potting mix.
How Often Should You Fertilize The Rosemary Plant?
You can fertilize it every 7-8 weeks from spring and fall, depending on the plant’s growth. If the plant seems stunted, add some fertilizer when you notice the lack of growth.
Make sure you do not fertilize two months in advance of the first date. The best time to fertilize rosemary is late winter or early spring. You might need to fertilize it more frequently, depending on the growth in the growing season.
What Kind Of Fertilizer To Use For A Growing Rosemary Plant?
Fertilizers rich in NPK, magnesium, and sulfur are good for the plant. When nitrogen is applied to the plant after harvest, it spurs new and healthy growth. However, be careful not to overdo it.
Organic fertilization that contains ingredients like herbivore manure and kelp meal can also be used.
Best Fertilizers For Rosemary Plant You Can Use
Here are some of the best fertilizers you can use for your rosemary plant. Although rosemary is a light feeder, you will not need to fertilize much in case of stunted growth, and after harvest, fertilizers can promote growth.
NPK ratio: 2-7-4
Jobe’s organic fertilizer is a good choice as it comes with remeasured nutrients with spikes that you can easily plant at the roots. The Bizome in the fertilizer encourages balanced growth and improves soil quality.
Moreover, the fertilizer is organic and will not burn the plant.
NPK ratio: 2-2-4
These earthropods are easy to apply, and since they’re organic, they provide robust growth to your rosemaries. Simply push an earth pod deep into the root system and let the organic ingredients do their work. The earth pods are entirely environmentally friendly, and there is minimal to no waste when fertilizing.
NPK ratio: 5-4-5
This fertilizer is made explicitly for herbs and includes recycled ingredients of the food industry to ensure its eco-friendliness. There are no added manure products in this, and true to its name, it doesn’t let any scraps go waste. It’s safe for the plant and does not cause plant burns.
NPK ratio: 7-6-9
This fertilizer has added claims for plant growth and lasts up to 2 months. Specifically made for herbs, Miracle-Gro-Nature’s completely organic fertilizer works best when applied lightly to the soil and mixed in properly. It’s an ideal fertilizer to use when the plant requires some added nutrients.
NPK ratio: 4-3-4
Since rosemary requires light fertilizing, a liquid fertilizer like Liquid indoor plant food is a great choice. The sulfur added in it promotes better growth in rosemary, and as it comes in a convenient bottle. It’s easy to use as well. Add a little diluted liquid fertilizer, and your plant of rosemary will never grow stunted.
NPK ratio: 4-6-2
These indoor organic plant foods are great for a container growing rosemary plant. The Spade to form plant food is a completely safe and organic option in eco-friendly and plastic-free containers. What’s more, they give a 100% growth guarantee, so you can’t go wrong with this one.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does the rosemary plant live?
Growing rosemary herb plants have an average lifespan of ten years.
2. Why do the rosemary leaves turn pale and yellow?
The yellow and pale color is a sign of stunted growth. It’s a sign your plant needs some fertilizers and extra nutrients.
3. Is it possible to take rosemary plant cuttings?
Cuttings from the plant are used to propagate new growth and the plant. The cuttings then need to have some leaves removed at the base to plant it.
4. Can rosemary be grown in the shade?
The herb plant grows best in full sun light, although light shade can also work. But preferably, a few hours of direct, full sun light is more beneficial than shade.
Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) is an easy and low-maintenance plant to grow to beautify your garden and add flavor to food. With some added nutrients, your growing rosemary can thrive and be a great multipurpose plant.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.