How to Grow Rosemary Indoors: A Beginner’s Guide (2024)

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Rosemary is a fragrant herb that is often found in the kitchens of people who love cooking. You’re probably wondering if it can be grown in pots indoors, and with some special care, it definitely can.  Bonus:  you will have fresh leaves every time you need them.  If you’re interested in learning how to grow rosemary indoors, read on!  

Rosemary is an evergreen woody perennial that is often found on hillsides of Mediterranean regions where summers are hot and dry with winters cool and wet.

It grows up to three feet tall and blooms small, white or lavender flowers. This perennial can grow indoors if you provide what it needs.

BENEFITS OF ROSEMARY PLANT INDOORS

There are several benefits of having a rosemary plant indoors and some are surprising!

Benefits include:

Quick access to use rosemary in dishes and drinks. Using rosemary in food has proven to have anti-cancer effect!

Cognitive benefits from the aroma of rosemary, including improved concentration and mood lifting.

Having rosemary indoors will help to purify the air.

You can read more about the above benefits in THIS ARTICLE.

GROWING ROSEMARY IN POTS INDOORS

Rosemary can grow out of control, which makes potting it a much more attractive option, than putting it in a garden bed, where it might overgrow its space.

There are a couple of ways that you can get your rosemary started in pots:  Growing from seeds and growing from cuttings.  

Let’s take a look at both ways so you can decide what method you want to use.  

GROWING ROSEMARY FROM SEEDS

While germination can take up to 4 weeks, growing rosemary from seeds is possible.  Here is how to do it in 8 easy steps:  

1 |  Get a good non-GMO pack of Rosemary seeds

2 |  Using loose potting mix, fill up a seed starter tray (with dome). This Coco Peat and Perlite mix is top-notch for indoor growing.

3 |  Place 2-3 seeds in each space and make sure not to over seed. 

4 |  Cover the seeds with a little bit of potting soil mix.  Enough to cover, but also for them to get sunlight on them for germination.

5 |  Use a misting bottle, lightly spray until the surface is moist, and put the lid on the starter tray. 

6 |  Place the tray in a sunny spot.  

7 |  When you see seedlings, you can water more diligently and take the top off of the tray.  

8 |  When the seedlings are about 5-7 inches tall, they can be transplanted into bigger pots.  

GROWING ROSEMARY FROM CUTTINGS

Growing rosemary from cuttings is much faster than growing from seeds.  You can purchase rosemary cuttings online

You can also take cuttings from another established plant.  To take a cutting here’s what you need to do:  

1 |  Don’t take a cutting while the plant is flowering

2 |  Using sharp scissors or a good knife, cut right below where there is new growth of a leaf or stem.  This is key to successfully propagating.  

3 |  Trim any lower leaves from the stem, to preserve the plant’s moisture and energy.  

4 |  The easiest way to get the cutting to root is to put it into a jar of water, in a sunny window, and change the water every few days to prevent disease.  

5 |  In a few weeks, the cutting should have roots that can then be planted in soil.  

6 |  Water the plants well and continue to water them every few days until they are established. 

REQUIREMENTS FOR GROWING ROSEMARY INDOORS:

SOIL:  Rosemary growing inside your home requires some special conditions.

This plant can be grown in various types of soils, but it does best growing in a good quality potting soil mixed with perlite or sand.

LIGHT:  Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant that loves sun, but not hot afternoon sunlight.

It prefers bright light all day long with an hour of morning and evening shade to cool its leaves down. It does well in dry climates so you have to have good drainage for your plant.

Rosemary does require at least six hours of sunlight during each day for optimal health– an east-facing window should work well for this plant’s light requirements.

ROSEMARY PLANT CARE INDOORS

WATERING ROSEMARY

During the growth season (in spring, summer, fall), the plant needs water every week until established in its new home. During the winter months, the plant needs water every month.

When growing inside, the plant needs more water than when grown in a garden bed because there is no natural rainfall or irrigation to support it during the growing season.

You should always use lukewarm water and provide enough of it until the excess runs through into the bottom soil layer before drying up again.

Do not overwater this plant because rosemary is susceptible to root rot when there’s too much moisture around its roots.

FERTILIZING ROSEMARY:

Growing rosemary inside your home also requires some extra care and attention, such as feeding it with a slow-release fertilizer that is preferred over organic fertilizers.

You can choose not to feed the plant for six months after planting, but then begin growing it again in fall by diluting one-quarter strength liquid fertilizer.

TRIMMING YOUR ROSEMARY PLANT

Rosemary care should include trimming for size or shape as needed and removing flowers as they appear if you don’t want your rosemary to go to seed. If it goes to seed it will weaken the plant.

HOW TO HARVEST ROSEMARY

Harvesting rosemary is another great way to extend the life of your plant.

Rosemary harvesting can be done at different times depending on how you plan to use it.

If harvesting to dry for winter use, you can hang sprigs upside down in a cool dark place until brittle and then strip leaves off stems by hand or with pruners. Store dried rosemary in glass jars out of direct sunlight; it will last up to six months if stored properly.

The harvesting tips below are for fresh-cut sprigs, which will last up to two weeks if stored properly in oil or vinegar and placed in the refrigerator.

Do not wash rosemary before harvesting.

Remember to harvest only healthy stems with small leaves and flowers. 

Rosemary harvesting is best done just above a pair of leaves or at the tip of a stem that’s about pencil size.

Take care not to remove more than 30 percent of rosemary stems during one harvesting period as this could weaken your plant.

In addition to having fresh leaves for cooking or seasoning, you can cut off sprigs when growing inside your home for beautiful arrangements that will last two weeks without water if kept away from sun.

When harvesting sprigs for indoor arrangements, plan to use them within a week or two because they will start losing their freshness and fragrance after that time.

Harvesting rosemary is a great way to enjoy this fragrant herb year round. 

PROBLEMS WHEN LEARNING HOW TO GROW ROSEMARY INDOORS:  

Why is my potted rosemary plant drying out? 

If your rosemary plant seems to be drying out, you need to assess how much you have been watering it.  

Most of the time, a dried out rosemary plant is because of overwatering that has led to root rot or a fungal disease.  

Make sure your potted rosemary has adequate drainage and once that has been fixed, make sure you aren’t watering too frequently. 

Your rosemary plant should bounce back if you fix the drainage and watering frequency.  

My rosemary has outgrown its pot, now what?  

Once your rosemary has outgrown its pot, you can either plant it in a larger pot, or you can prune the roots.  It is important to note that root pruning should only be done during times of active growth.

If you opt for pruning the roots, you need to take the entire plant out of the pot, including the root ball.  If you see a lot of roots around the outside of the root ball, pruning will be beneficial.  

Pruning roots helps to promote plant health and growth while also ensuring better root aeration. 

HOW TO PRUNE THE ROOTS:  

When you root prune rosemary, you are loosening the root ball and cutting off any excess roots. This will help to promote new root growth in areas that need it most! 

Once you have the plant and root ball out of your pot, you can use sharp scissors to cut about 2-3 inches of roots off of the plant.  You will have to cut through soil to accomplish this.  

When the pruning is completed, you can replant the rosemary plant back into fresh soil in its pot.  

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Growing rosemary requires a lot of attention and care, but the reward is great in return. With proper research and time, you can have a wonderful herb garden that you can enjoy and continue year after year.

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