How to plant rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary is a perennial shrub that can reach 1.5 m in height or more, depending on the cultivar. Its thin leaves and branches are used as a spice, for medicinal purposes and to obtain an essential oil used in the manufacture of hygiene and beauty products. It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant, with flower cultivars that are white or some shades of pink, blue or violet.


Rosemary prefers a subtropical climate, but it can be grown under various climate and temperature conditions. The plant may or may not withstand cold winters, depending on the cultivar and the development of the plant (larger plants are generally more resistant than small, young plants).


Rosemary should receive direct sunlight for at least a few hours daily.


The soil must be well drained and light. The plant grows best in calcareous soils with neutral pH or slightly alkaline pH (pH 7 to 7.8), but is tolerant of pH and soil type. Rosemary has more aroma and flavor when grown in soils that are low in nutrients and do not retain much water.


Irrigate frequently so that the soil is kept slightly moist while the plants are young. When the plants are well developed, irrigation can be sparse, allowing the soil to dry superficially between irrigations. Rosemary is resistant to short periods of drought.


Rosemary can be grown from seeds or cuttings. The seeds can be sown in seedlings, small pots and other containers. 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 15 to 20 cm tall.

Planting by cutting is done by cutting branches about 15 cm long. Plant the branches in pots or other containers, left in a well-lit place, but without direct sunlight. The soil must be kept well moist until rooting, which takes three to four weeks. After rooting, the seedlings must receive direct sunlight. The seedlings are transplanted to the final location about a year later in regions where the winter is cold, but they can be transplanted about 1 or two months after the seedlings take root in regions where the winter is mild. Young plants should not be exposed to very low temperatures in their first year of life.

The spacing between the plants can generally be 80 cm, but it can vary with the cultivar and the cultivation conditions.

Rosemary can be grown in medium or large planters and pots, but it generally does not grow as much as those grown in the soil. They are also more sensitive to lack of water.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources.


The harvest of rosemary for domestic use can start from 90 days after planting. However, the ideal is that the harvest occurs only from the second or third year of cultivation, removing at most half of the branches so as not to harm the plants too much.

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

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