I may have goofed, this is my first herb garden and I think I planted the
wrong items next to each other.
I have rosemary planted next to my lavender plants and it looks like the
rosemary is going to take over the entire section - it's easily 5 times
larger than it was when I planted it in March. So now the lavender is
leaning to the sun, growing into the rosemary with the rosemary spreading
out in all directions growing into the lavender. The only thing that grew
more than the rosemary is the catnip - that thing is HUGE!
When I planted it I understood that rosemary was a bush, but I wasn't
expecting it to be a large bush. Can I clip it back and still maintain its
health - if so how do I clip it and where?
My rosemary has a trunk about four inches in diameter and can grow four
feet high and four feet wide in one growing year. I live in USDA Zone 9b
so it's pretty warm here. I've been in Seattle a time or two and it gets
a bit colder but rosemary will still grow into a tree if not pruned.
I whack mine back by about half the height and half the width each year.
Hasn't hurt it yet. YMMV
Yikes, I wasn't expecting a something that large. I guess I assumed
rosemary would be like thyme - something bushy but small and controllable.
So do you just cut it wherever? I just didn't want to kill the branches by
cutting them in the middle to shorten them up. I guess as a benefit I can
then tie the branches up and hang them in the kitchen - make it smell nice.
I just cut back everything that is encroaching on my other herbs.
Finally cut it all the way down one year, darned thing grew back from
the roots. You're right about the thyme though, makes a low-growing bush
for me. Oregano grows like a wild weed, which it once was, as were most
Finally started potting up all the new starts in 3 inch pots and sold
them at the local farmer's market for a dollar apiece. Still do about
twice a year. Rest of it we dehydrate and send to relatives in a goody
box each year at Christmas along with home canned jams and jellies. I
use mostly the fresh herbs in my kitchen because it's an easy step out
back to cut some when needed.
One of the things that comes back every year and does well for me is
leaf celery. Found in many of the seed catalogs. Stalk celery doesn't
grow well here but I've found the leaf celery adds the wanted flavor to
stews, soups, and even salads.
Nope, leaf celery. I think I bought my seed from Johnny's Seeds in Maine
but it could have been some other seedsman. Not lovage at all, very
clearly labelled as leaf celery. Leaves look like celery, smells like
celery, tastes like celery. A Google search should turn up someone with
the seeds plus several descriptions of the plant.
Either remove a branch entirely or else cut it above the lowest foliage.
Rosemary and lavender are somewhat related. For both of them, cutting
a branch below the lowest growing foliage will kill that branch.
My rosemary is about 6 feet tall, taller than I am. The trunk is about
4-6 inches in diameter. Because the branches have interesting twists
and bends, I prune it to expose the trunk and main branches.
Take a 12-inch branch of rosemary with foliage. Strip the foliage into
a blender. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 3-4 cloves
of garlic finely diced. Blend to puree the garlic. Pour into a Ziploc
bag. Put chicken parts or large cubes of lamb into the bag. Marinate
at least overnight. Grill, basting with the marinade. Yum!
(The garlic must be diced before blending. Garlic is fibrous and will
not be chopped enough by the blender.)
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
Depends on the climate. In California (San Jose, for example) they
grow hedges out of rosemary. Here in Washington, DC we struggle just
to get it to overwinter (although it can get to small shrub size if it
lives long enough, which I guess is largely a question of drainage).
First of all, any idea where you live? It would help us to know that.
As far as cutting the bush, rosemary is often grown for use in the kitchen,
so it would seem natural to cut it sometimes. It dries easily. Cutting it
back will cause it to branch and grow more densely.
I clip my rosemary into an all-season Christmas tree-like cone. You
can clip it back, although you may have ugly holes that will take some
time to fill back in. With frequent clippings you can get any shape
you like. Use grass clippers or small hedge clippers.
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