Rosemary Left Outside in Zone 5: An Update

narcnh(z5nh)January 10, 2006

Here is a pic taken 02 Jan 06 of two rosemary plants I have left outside up here in New Hampshire as an experiment. They were planted this past spring/summer and are about 12in/30cm tall . The one in front is a Hill Hardy/Madeleine Hill and the one in the rear is an Arp. The Hill Hardy (as Companion Plants calls it) looks a little browner than the Arp, but both are in full leaf with flexible stems, and the plant looks healthier live than it does in the pic. Both plants seem to be fine. They are on the south side of the house, receiving full sun most of the day. They are protected on the west side by the bulkhead doors to the basement, visible in the pic. Fallen leaves are the only mulch, which is minimal. Soil is sandy and drains very well. They are in front of the brick basement with a few bricks around them to help retain heat. Temps have been mild this winter with minimal snow, and they have only experienced a couple of days of -6F/-21C nights, so far. Normally, we get down to around -16F/-27C for a while, and it is very snowy. We still have a lot of cold, snowy weather ahead, so it remains to be seen if they will make it through a typical zone 5 winter. But, so far they have shown that in the right spot they can survive to at least zone 6.


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Having plants next to the house helps tremendously... if we get frost here in Sacramento *gasp* it usually stays away from the house, usually a few feet in like a perimeter.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 10:15AM
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bmckay(Z5b MA)

You have been fairly fortunate; other than the cold spell in mid December, it has been fairly warm this winter. The thing that will kill your plant, in addition to outright cold, is the ice/wind, etc. If you can give it a bit more protection from that sort of stuff, it should do ok.

I had a plain old ordinary rosemary in an unheated hoophouse hat survived five winters. It was almost four feet tall and had been cut back a lot. I kept it in the hoophouse (planted in soil) year round; in winter, it had a covering of heavy duty remay cloth.

It lasted until the winter of 2004 (when we had -16F temps for quite a few nights on end. Never came back that spring.

Bill McKay in E. Mass

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 10:27PM
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dpinker1(z4 NY)

Hi everyone. I thought I was crazy seeing my sage, rosemary and thyme were still alive in my herb garden. All of them still have a great sent. Just maybe they might survive until spring.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 8:23AM
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Thanks for the update, narch!

My 'Madeline Hill' has only browned out in the center down here in USZ6. It, too, is near a reflecting cement wall and is sheltered with a Salvia (still harvesting) and reseeding Fennel.

We'll see what happens during the freeze/thaw of 55degF and pouring rain to 20degF and 5" of snow in the next 24 hours.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 12:01PM
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pepperhead212(6b / S Jersey)

I have a rosemary that is about 12 years old, and usually we have only weather in the teens a few times each winter, and only at night, so there is no problem. Last year, however, we had a cold snap of 7º, with 13-14º for highs for a week or two (no negatives here), which would kill normal rosemary. I "had" an arp, which died in this, even though it is supposedly resistant, but my big one I covered with a tarp, with a lamp inside, with a 100w bulb, sealed around the base with bricks as well as I could, and left it for 3 weeks, and the only problem was the brown tips on the branches where they were in contact with the tarp. This is how I keep my rosemary alive, and it has a trunk of about 2 1/2".


    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 12:20AM
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I planted rosemary from a seed packet about ten years ago and its still going strong though I've moved I guess I should have dug it up and took it with me when I moved because I have yet to get another one survive a 5 zone was next to a cinder block wall maybe that's why it lived?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:45PM
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