Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus), is one of the most popular and widely used herbs. These shrubs are native to the Mediterranean region, but have been grown all around the world. It gives off a warm and bitter taste that adds a nice aroma and unique component to any meal. Rosemary may appear simple, but its fir-like needles give your garden its character, not to mention that fragrant smell Rosemary is famous for. Today, we’ll look at growing rosemary indoors so you can have a fresh supply of this herb year round.
Is Rosemary Hard To Grow?
It’s often said that rosemary can be tricky to grow, and there’s some truth to that. The biggest obstacle you’ll face is likely watering which is a bit different than other plants. Don’t let that scare you though, growing rosemary indoors is perfectly doable, and we’ll cover all the key points to make sure your next plant is happy and healthy.
Planting Rosemary Indoors
Rosemary, like most other herbs, likes to have well draining soil that doesn’t hold moisture too long. You can simply use any high-quality potting soil accompanied by a well draining container.
For the container itself, you want it to be large enough to contain the root structure of the rosemary plant. Look for a container that is at least 12” deep to give your plant room to grow.
When planting, you have the option to start with rosemary seeds or a seedling. Seeds are generally cheaper to get started, but take longer to get usable herbs to harvest. If growing from seeds keep the soil moist and warm until you start to see sprouts.
Growing Rosemary From a Cutting?
With rosemary you also have the option to start by taking a cutting from an existing plant. The best time to take cuttings is during spring when the plant is growing as this will be the least likely to harm the plant. Here are the simple steps is growing your cuttings:
- Start with a clean, sharp knife and take a cut about 4” from the base of the plant.
- After dipping the end in rooting powder, place the plant into a small container of water with about ⅓ to ½ of the plant submerged. Let this sit in a sunny location and make sure to change the water every other day.
- After the appearance of roots, you can transfer it to a pot filled with well-draining soil and follow up with your normal care routine.
Lighting Needs For Rosemary
Rosemary loves to be exposed to full sunlight for at least six hours every day. This may be a challenging part when you decide to grow it indoors especially during cold seasons. Ideally, they are placed around a bright window or in an area that has access to full sunlight exposure.
If you’re having trouble hitting these numbers when using a grow light is a good option. LED grow lights provide a decent spectrum of light to supplement some natural sunlight. In these cases, aim for 10+ hours of light as artificial light is generally less effective than natural light.
If you’re growing rosemary outdoors and want to move it indoors during the winter do so well before the first frost date. You should also put your plant on a “sunlight diet” where you gradually expose it to less sunlight and more shade throughout the day. If you just move the plant indoors the drastic change in light intensity can cause the plant to die.
Getting the amount of water for rosemary can be a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it you’ll see that it’s not too bad. Rosemary enjoys soil that is allowed to mostly dry out, but is still quite thirsty and likes a good supply of water. This can seem a bit contradictory, and requires a little extra care to get right.
First off, it’s important to note that rosemary is an “upside-down” plant; which means that it likes dry soil but moist foliage. To satisfy this, look to mist the plant every couple of days to keep the leaves of the plant moist.
For actual waterings, look to do so about once every other week. In between, check the soil to make sure that it’s not completely dry. If it is, you can give it a small dose of water just to retain a bit of soil moisture.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to fill the pot saucer with water to allow the plant to absorb water as needed. This helps prevent the roots sitting in water but still allows the soil to absorb it as needed.
Aside from watering, it is also important to provide good air circulation to avoid the development of powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that are harmful to the plant. Avoid placing the plant in an area with little airflow, or use a fan to help keep the air from stagnating.
Pruning and Maintenance
Regular harvesting and pruning is essential to keep your plant healthy. Use a clean tool to snip off branches as they grow too large either for culinary uses or simply for aesthetic reasons. You’ll like prune the most in the warmer months when the plant does the most growing and not as much as the temperature drops.
Temperature and Humidity For Rosemary
Rosemary can survive in temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or even up to 80 degrees, but it’s best to avoid the extremes on either end. Normal indoor temperatures of most homes is ideal in most cases.
If you’re misting regularly you likely won’t have any problems with humidity. If you do find the plant drying out a bit you can try these techniques to help with local humidity around your plant. Be wary though, too much humidity can lead to mildew which is harmful to your plant. Only look to increase the humidity if your plant is in a very dry location
While it is not needed, feeding it with liquid fertilizers during its growth stage could help you to achieve better results. Compost and organic based fertilizers are your best bet. As noted, you only need to feed during its growth stage which will be when the weather is at its warmest. During the winter the plant will go dormant and feeding it can do more harm than good.
Growing Rosemary Indoors
Rosemary is a great herb to grow, and with countless benefits it’s no wonder it’s a popular choice for indoor gardens. It both provides excellent culinary benefits as well as a delightful scent that fills the room. Hopefully with the above in mind you’ll be well equipped to grow your own rosemary plant indoors!
Growing Rosemary Indoors FAQ
How Do You Move Rosemary Indoors
Start by gradually reducing the amount of sunlight your plant gets over a few weeks. This will help acclimate it to the reduced light it’s likely to get indoors.
How Do You Water Rosemary?
You should water it sparingly and only when the soil is dry. In between waterings mist it every other day. Rosemary is an “upside-down” plant meaning it gets a lot of its moisture from its foliage instead of its roots.
Why is There Mildew Around My Rosemary Plant?
This is often caused by lack of air circulation. Move the plant to an area with more air flow or add a small fan to the current location to aid in air flow.