My rosemary plant went from a spindly little sprig to a big woody bush
(14" across/high) over the course of the summer, despite frequent
trimming for various culinary exercises.
I have dug it up and put it into a pot with some of the soil from its
What is the best way to ensure a good watering level? The bed it was
in was well-drained, and we rarely watered the garden this year thanks
to frequent-enough rains. Inside, the atmosphere is going to be a lot
drier, and I wonder if there are any easy tips on making sure the
plant gets the right amount of water.
Brought my rosemary, basil and sage in a couple of weeks ago.
I water them when dry, like any house plant.
The rosemary a little less often.
If there is a bit of sand in the rosemary's mix, it promotes the good
drainage they enjoy.
Clip judiciously indoors, sometimes they don't regrow as quickly.
My hope is that I can find a trick that keeps a rosemary plant alive
for years. I remember seeing a huge "mother plant" in a nursery long
ago; it must have been 5-6' high, 8' across and it had a main stem
about 4" in diameter. The nursery evidently took cuttings from it to
propogate new plants.
This was in central Kentucky, zone 6. At the time, I didn't think to
ask them how they managed to keep the plant alive from year to year,
but it was in a big greenhouse. I don't recall if the greenhouse was
Kentucky is pretty warm and if it's in a greenhouse the temperature is
going to be pleasent all year round. I'm not surprised that it survived
there, I'd expect that it would survive outside also. I live in New
England where we have real winters. I gave up trying to get rosemary to
survive from year to year. I've tried keeping it in a pot during the
summer and then bringing it in and I've tried transplanting it back
from the ground into a pot, it always dies. I just buy a couple of new
plants each spring and plant them in the ground and hope for the best.
Things planted in the ground here grow well without doing any work. We get
plenty of rain so I don't even water my plants, I just stick them in the
ground in May and then start to use it on my lamb chops from July until
the plants die. I do the same thing with spaghetti sauce herbs (oregano,
basil and thyme), I plant them in the spring and then make 5 gallons of
sauce at the end of August when the local farm stand starts selling cases
of tomato seconds. The oregano surrives the winter but the others don't.
Actually, Kentucky can get quite cold. The coldest I remember was
-17F, but that's unusual. We do, however, regularly get a few freezes
a year which go below 0F.
I tried last fall to construct a greenhouse over one of my raised
beds, but the PVC-and-plastic-sheeting approach literally fell apart
as soon as the winds topped 20 mph. I might build a small greenhouse
lean-to on the side of my garden shed for hardening off plants, but I
doubt it would do for wintering over anything.
Try one of these:
I bought the biggest one, the 8' x 8' and they are reasonably priced,
have a 3 year warranty and are FAR sturdier than they look!
A single 100 watt light bulb in a closed up one will keep it above
freezing for your plants for wintering over.
I bought 4 of them and have no regrets. :-)
My Rosemary plant is 3 years old now. I just leave it in the ground over
the winter. The herb bed is on the west side, right next to the
foundation of the house. My sage, thyme, dittany, oregano and mexican
oregano have also been wintering over in the ground. I have two
varieties of sage and two varieties of thyme, and this year I put in a
new curry plant and am hoping it also survives.
The longest I ever had a rosemary live was 8 years, but I think that one
died because it got shaded out...
During the winter, I just cover the herb bed with a tent of old white
sheets when it's going to freeze. I think the location being right next
the house keeps them warm...
It helps that I'm in central Texas tho' so our winters are not as cold.
It might drop down into the teens when we get a hard freeze!
I'd recommend that, if you have to bring Rosemary inside during the
winter, that you start it and KEEP it in a large pot all year and keep
it outside as much as possible! Only bring it in when there is a freeze
Use sandy soil.
Well - where i live it's way too cold to just bury them outdoors, so as
i said in the first response, it goes in a south window and just gets
watered occasionally when it looks droopy.
I recently gave a six year old plant to my daughter, and the one i'll have
in for this winter is two. It should to fine until mid May when it's
safe to put out.
I take a bunch of cuttings and start them indoors under lights; most of
them take, and I have a little Rosemary for cooking (also dried a bunch of
stuff from the outdoor plant), and plants to put out in the spring.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic
Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark) wrote in message
This doesn't strike me as a good idea. Transplanting is a shock to any
plant, and best done when it is dormant. If your long term plan is to
move it between the indoors and the out by transplanting it twice a
year, I think you should change plans. Either put it in a big pot, and
move the pot, or find a variety that can overwinter outdoors in your
area. 'Arp' is supposed to be quite cold hardy.
There is some info about rosemary at my Web site:
http://www.efn.org/~bsharvy/edible.html . I'm not sure if it needs
chill hours. No need to worry about dry soil; like most herbs,
rosemary preres dry sandy soil.
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