Plants A to Z

How to Grow Rosemary in Pot

Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus) is a fragrant perennial evergreen plant with a rounded shape. A gray-green leaf with a needle-like shape grows on tall woody stems. It is poisonous. It blooms in late spring to early summer, with clusters of small, light blue to white flowers, though it can also bloom at other times of the year. After any fear of frost has passed, plant rosemary in the spring. The shrub grows at a modest rate. In the second season, it will attain maturity and begin flowering.

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Rosemary Planting Instructions

  • When Should You Plant?

Rosemary is best planted in the spring, once the weather has warmed up and there are no frost warnings. Indoor containers can usually be started at any time of year.

  • Choosing a Planting Location

This plant requires a sunny location with well-drained soil. Make sure there aren't any larger trees or bushes in the area that will shadow the rosemary. Rosemary thrives in pots, both outside and indoors, as long as it receives sufficient light.

  • Support, Depth, and Spacing

Rosemary shrubs should be spaced at least 2 to 3 feet apart. Ideally, seedlings and nursery plants should be transplanted at the same depth they were previously housed in their container. When planting, the seeds should only be covered by a thin layer of soil. This shrub does not usually require a support structure.

Light Rosemary Plant Care

On most days, Rosemary prefers full sun, which means at least six hours of direct sunlight. Indoor growth thrives in a south-facing window, and grow lights are frequently required to supplement natural light.

In the summer, take your indoor plants outside to get some fresh air and sunlight. Insufficient light can cause leggy, stunted growth. A well-draining sandy or loamy soil is ideal for rosemary. It is not suited to hard clay or wet soils. The soil pH should range from mildly acidic to normal.


Once grown, rosemary plants can withstand drought well, and it's preferable to submerge rather than overwater them. Allow the top several inches of soil to dry out between waterings, then water evenly but not wet.

Humidity and Temperature

Warm weather and moderate humidity levels are ideal for this shrub. Most rosemary varieties are not heat tolerant, even though they cannot tolerate temperatures below 30 degrees. It is best to keep them at temperatures ranging between 55 and 80 degrees F. Furthermore, if there isn't adequate air circulation around the plant, extreme humidity might cause rot and fungal difficulties.


Rosemary isn't a big eater. Compost can be added to the soil at the time of planting to assist the shrub in getting off to a healthy start. Then, following the label's recommendations, use a balanced liquid fertilizer to maintain quality growth. Rosemary shrubs pollinate themselves, attracting bees and other pollinators to the yard. Bring indoor plants outside in the summer while their flowers are open to allow pollination to occur naturally.

Rosemary comes in a variety of forms.

There are a variety of rosemary plants to choose from, including:

  • Arp': This plant is recognized for its cold resistance and has light green foliage with a citrus aroma.
  • Golden Rain': This plant has yellow markings on its leaf and stays compact at 2 to 3 feet high and wide.
  • ‘Albus': This cultivar is known for its white blossoms.
  • Prostratus': This cultivar grows around 2 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet broad, with a low, spreading growth habit.

Lavender vs. Rosemary

Lavender and rosemary have a similar appearance. Both are shrubby with woody stems and scented long and thin leaves. Rosemary plants, on the other hand, tend to grow larger than lavender plants. Lavender blossoms rise above the leaves on flower spikes, while rosemary blooms grow amid the foliage. Lavender's flavor and aroma are softer and more flowery than rosemary's.

  • Rosemary harvesting

Rosemary can be picked at virtually any time of year, though it thrives in the spring and summer. And just before the plant blooms, the leaves are at their most tasty and aromatic. To harvest, snip off the 4- to 6-inch stem tips using pruners. Fresh rosemary sprigs or leaves can be used in cooking as desired. Alternatively, hang the stems upside-down in a dry, cold, well-ventilated room for a couple of weeks to dry. Remove the leaves from the stems once they've dried and stored them in an airtight jar in the pantry.

  • Rosemary in Pots: How to Grow It

You may bring this herb indoors during the winter by growing it in a container. Containers can also be kept near your kitchen on a patio or deck for convenient access while cooking. Choosing a pot that is just a little bit larger than the plant's root ball is a good idea. Check to see if it has drainage holes. To allow excess soil moisture to evaporate through its walls, use an unglazed clay container. 


After the plant has finished flowering, prune rosemary as needed to guide its growth. However, don't prune more than a third of the plant at a time, as this may cause the shrub to become stressed and sensitive to diseases and pests.

Rosemary propagation

If you want to grow your rosemary plant, the best way to get started is to take a cutting. Not only is this a cheap way to get a new plant, but cuttings from an established plant can also aid in stimulating more branches and bushier growth. Spring and summer are the greatest times to take a cutting. Here's how to do it:

  1. Take a few inches of healthy stem and cut it into a chunk. For the greatest results, choose new softwood growth.
  2. Remove the lower portion of the stem's leaves, leaving at least five.
  3. Apply rooting hormone to the cut end.
  4. Place the cutting in a tiny container with drainage holes and damp soilless potting mix.
  5. Place the container in a warm, indirect light environment. Make sure the cutting is moistened daily and that the growing medium does not dry out.
  6. Gently pluck on the stem after two to three weeks to look for roots. You'll know roots have been established if you experience resistance. The cutting is now ready to be transplanted.

How to Start a Rosemary Plant from Seed

Rosemary seeds are notoriously difficult to germinate, and they rarely develop to be identical to their parent plant. Plant several times as many seeds as the plants you want to grow if you try growing from seed. Plant seeds three months before the last expected frost date in your location in the spring. Please place them in a tray filled with damp seed-starting mix, lightly covering them.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap to keep moisture in and prevent the mixture from drying out. Keep the soil between 80 and 90 degrees by placing the tray on a heat mat. Remove the plastic wrap as soon as seedlings sprout and set the dish in solid light. Seedlings can be moved to individual pots or outside if the weather is warm once they reach about 3 inches in height.

Rosemary Potting and Repotting

When growing rosemary in a container, use a light, well-draining potting mix. Repot into a larger container every year, using fresh potting mix. Repotting is best done in the spring. Gently remove the plant from its former container and place it in the new one at the same depth, filling the container with dirt around it.


Bring rosemary indoors well before the first frost of the season is forecasted. Keep it warm and dry by keeping it away from draughts and heat vents. Please continue to give it at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, either through a bright window or a grow lamp. Also, reduce the amount of water you use, but don't let the soil completely dry out. The plant can be moved back outside once the threat of frost has passed in the spring.

Common Plant Pests and Diseases

Powdery mildew, a white, powdery fungus, can develop on rosemary plants due to high humidity and inadequate air circulation. Powdery mildew does not usually kill plants, although it does weaken them.

Make sure the plant's soil isn't too wet, and leave a few feet of space around it for airflow to avoid powdery mildew. Aphids and spider mites, especially on indoor plants, should also be avoided. To prevent an infestation from spreading, use insecticidal soap as soon as you notice one.

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Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci, the owner of the website, and senior writer of New York Garden; graduated from Santa Barbara City College – a famous public school in California with many diverse training professions, and she majored in horticulture.