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Growing Rosemary from Seed to Harvest

Growing Rosemary from Seed to Harvest

Mary Smith |

Rosemary is one of my favorite culinary herbs. Growing Rosemary from seed can be a bit tricky but it's definitely a worthwhile endeavor.


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. The leaf and its oil are commonly used in food and also to make medicine.

This herb can be grown outdoors as a perennial shrub in Zones 7 and warmer. In colder areas, it should be kept in a pot and brought indoors for the winter.


Growing Rosemary from Seed

Like many herbs and flowers, rosemary seeds benefit from cold stratification. You can read more in our article The Wonder of Seeds and Germination.

Cold Stratification simulates a brief winter dormancy that the seeds would otherwise experience if they had been grown in the wild.

Sow seeds indoors in mid-February to April and transplant or direct sow into the garden in May. When planting seeds, barely cover them with a seed starting mix and apply bottom heat.

Germination is notoriously low, so plant more seeds than needed.

Rosemary should be grown in a pot that can be brought indoors during the winter if winters are harsh in your zone (or in an area that can be covered and protected). Outdoors, rosemary can tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees.

If growing rosemary in containers, provide monthly feedings of liquid fertilizer. Keep watered in hot weather.

Plant Rosemary in full sun. For optimal growth, plant in well drained soil as Rosemary does not tolerate consistently wet/soggy soil.

Choose a garden spot with plenty of room to grow. Once established, Rosemary can grow 5 feet tall and even 4 feet wide. This is a gorgeous perennial that will continue to produce for many years with adequate care

Companion Planting

Rosemary is a good companion for beans, Brassicas, and carrots.

Harvesting Rosemary

To harvest rosemary, pull individual leaves off the plant or cut entire stems. Use a sharp knife to harvest the rosemary, as scissors may damage plant tissues. Rosemary is also often used dried. To dry rosemary, hang bunches of the plant upside down on a rack. Strip the leaves from the stems once the stems are dry. Prune the rosemary heavily in the early spring before new growth begins.

Store fully dry Rosemary in a labelled container.


If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com



1 comment

I love reading your articles. I’m recently retired to Tennessee from California. We bought a home with property and we’re working on starting a small farm. Looking forward to learning more from you.

Ann Bridge,

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