10 Best Tips for Ensuring Your Rosemary’s Survival

Are you looking for a practical plant that is simple to care for, functional, and delicious? Rosemary is a beautiful Mediterranean plant that thrives best in warm, humid climates and typically cannot survive frigid temperatures below 30F. 

The ideal temperature range is between 60 to 85 F (15 to 30 C). Here are some tips to ensure your Rosemary plant’s survival. 

1. Determine Your Grow Zone Conditions

Rosemary flourishes best in Grow Zones 7-10, with Zone 6 commonly reporting successful cultivation. Various types of rosemary grow differently, pending on climate conditions. However, if you live in Zone 7 or lower, you must pot them up and bring them indoors. 

2. Pot, Planter Box, or In The Garden?

Like potatoes, rosemary can prosper potted in large containers. However, planters, raised beds, and freely growing in the garden, are viable, provided you have good drainage and direct sunlight. 

They need drainage holes, and pots should be at least 12 inches across and 10-to-12 inches deep to accommodate their growth. The choice is yours. 

However, while you can use plastic, metal, and vinyl successfully, terra cotta heats slower for an ideal root zone temperature. It also provides a heavier base for taller growing plants. 

3. Don’t Overwater Your Rosemary

Overwatering rosemary causes root rot and will kill your plant pretty quickly. So it’s essential to wet the plant generously, allow the excess to drain from the pot’s base, and wait to water again until the soil is dry. Don’t water rosemary during wintertime to avoid root rot. 

4. Use Sand to Boost Drainage

Using sand with well-drained soil, organic material, and regular dirt mix is ideal for optimal drainage. Additionally, avoid using potting mix because root rot is common under those circumstances for rosemary. 

5. Mist Indoor or Overwintered Plants

If your Grow Zone requires you to bring your plant inside or if you grow it indoors in an herb garden, misting it is critical to its well-being. 

Again, overwatering it is guaranteed to kill it. But misting the plants several times a week with a hand mister will help ensure they thrive by providing humidity. 

6. Pruning Your Rosemary

Depending on plant size, you must prune rosemary plants every year or two. Signs that it is time include: roots growing out of the drainage holes and if the water drainage has slowed down. 

7. Use Mulch to Protect Rosemary From The Elements

If you don’t want to overwinter indoors and are on the cusp of rosemary’s winter survival in Zones 8 and 9, you’ll need to take measures and add extra protection. 

You can prune and mulch the rosemary immediately before the temperature drops. First, cut it to about six inches tall with your pruning shears. Then, use a mulching material to cover the entire plant—for example, mold, leaf, straw, or wood chips. 

The mulch will protect against chilled air and drying wind. Additionally, your rosemary will remain dormant throughout winter without damaging the roots.

8. Consider Using Floating Row Covers 

Alternatively, you can cover them with floating row covers. Floating row covers are draped and secured over the plants to ensure a higher temperature around them for survival. They need to be secured to the ground with heavy objects such as cinder blocks or bricks. 

9. Digging Rosemary Up for Overwinter

If you must dig up your rosemary plants for an overwinter, you must do it before the first freeze to avoid damage. A substantial intact root ball is crucial to ensure your plant’s survival. 

Rosemary develops an extensive root system the older the plant, and it benefits you to keep more of it intact. Using your shovel, dig at least six inches from the main stem, circling the plant. 

Lift the root ball from the ground carefully (it should be at least a foot in diameter and depth), shake away excess soil, and plant it in a large pot. Then, put your soil mixture and pat it to secure your rosemary. 

10. Harvesting Your Rosemary Plants

Harvesting your rosemary frequently encourages growth and new shoots. You can clip sprigs or pick them off individually, depending on how much you need. 

Also, you can store fresh rosemary between wet paper towels in the fridge, glass jars, or airtight Ziploc bags for freezing, but make sure you push out all of the air. 

Rosemary is an excellent seasoning for vegetables, including roasted potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes. We hope you enjoyed this post inspired by this Reddit thread. Also, check out these excellent companions for growing Dill.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.