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How to Grow and Use Rosemary

Summer Herb Series              

Rosemary is the second herb in our Summer Herb Series!  It’s one of my favorite herbs to keep in the yard.  Even if you don’t use it in the kitchen, it’s an excellent choice since it’s a perennial, green all year and gives off a wonderful smell as you walk by.  Check out the list below for some non-kitchen uses!

Where and How to Plant Rosemary

Location: Rosemary is a full sun herb that can tolerate some shade.  Plant in a flowerbed or large pot - not a temporary location like a raised bed.  It will be around for several years, so make it a place you'll be happy to see it. 

Seed or Plant:  Plants are the best way to go here.  You’ll find various sizes when looking around (see exhibit below in a gallon size behind sweet Abbie, which will run you around $25).  If you’re planning to use in the flowerbed as a filler plant, go ahead and buy the bigger size.  Otherwise, you’ll be fine with a smaller plant.

There are several varieties of Rosemary.  The only one you may want to stay away from is the Corsican, which has creeping roots.  It can be hard to contain if you want to keep it within a defined area.  The Prostrate Rosemary is not an upright bushy version.  It is great for cascading over walls or from a hanging basket.  All other varieties will be upright and bushy types. 

Water:  Rosemary will survive in dry soil – which is great if you often forget to water.  In fact, it can be overwatered.  Water sparingly and your Rosemary will thank you.  Make sure the soil doesn’t stay boggy or you will see your plant start to yellow and die.    

Growth:  Rosemary can grow to be quite large.  Many use it as a bushy, filler shrub in flowerbeds.  If you plan to keep it in a smaller area, you may have to trim it back once a year once it gets to its desired size.  Or this may not be a problem if you’re frequently snipping off stems to use in our suggestions below.  They have the ability to grow up to 5’ tall, but I have never seen one grow to this size.  Most will grow to be 2-3’ tall and you will need 2-3’ in width for spacing.


How to Use Rosemary in the Kitchen

Whatever you plan to use your Rosemary for, find a stem and cut from the plant.  You’ll either be stripping the leaves off inside or using the stem whole. Here are some daily use options:

  • Place a whole stem in a pot of soup and remove before serving
  • Strip the leaves and rough chop to add to:
    • Breakfast eggs
    • Roasted veggies such as cubed potatoes and zucchini
    • Kosher salt to infuse some flavor
  • Place a stem in olive oil to add flavor (wash and dry the stem first)
  • Use a stem as a skewer - add chicken and the stem will infuse your chicken
  • Place a sprig of Rosemary on top of your cloth napkin or through a card for a place setting.
  • Add to your flower arrangements
  • Tie a present with baker’s twine and add a couple of sprigs
  • Add to a sachet/small cloth bag for a drawer or closet

Tell us below how you like to use Rosemary!

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    • Narrelle on

      Planting rosemary is on my ‘to do’ list as part of our landscaping project. Thanks for all the good tips – good to know that it’s hardy and survives when forgetting to water (something I’m super guilty of…)

    • Melissa Montenegro on

      I have such a black thumb that I love reading posts with tips like this. It’s nice to see that some of my favorite herbs are actually low maintenance. I love putting rosemary in sweet potatoes. And really, rosemary on roasted anything is delicious!

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