How big should I let rosemary get?
I have a "problem" that I've never had before. I have a rosemary plant that I've successfully over-Wintered for two years, and as we begin on the journey of its third Winter in the kitchen, I realize that it's become quite large.
This rosemary lives in a terra cotta pot. It spends its Winters (as brief a time as possible, usually mid-December to mid-March) on the kitchen counter, and in the Summers I sink the pot into the ground in the herb bed. I have been re-potting into a larger pot in the Spring.
At any rate, this lovely plant is now quite large and living in a 12" pot. When I pulled it up from the garden, a reasonably sized root was coming out of the drainage hole (but not as big as the one from the 8" pot last year). This makes me think that it would still be happy to to into a bigger pot in the Spring and just keep going (I really hoped that I'd get 2 years out of this pot!). Looking at the plant and the pot, my gut says the plant could probably be half again as big and still be reasonably happy in this pot, escaping roots notwithstanding.
Nevertheless, I'm starting to wonder whether I should call it quits on the annual pot upgrades, so that I'll still be able to lift it in future years. Until the last couple of years, I had never successfully over-Wintered a rosemary, so I can't claim to have considered how to handle this situation.
So tell me, wise gardeners in northern climes...how big do you allow your over-Wintering rosemary to get? How big of a pot do you keep it in? What kind of pruning do you do, for branches or roots? What does long-term rosemary over-Wintering look like? Etc., etc.
This is additionally complicated for me on an emotional level, because this year I acquired an Arp rosemary that I've planted in the garden, which should be Winter-hardy in my zone. If this succeeds, I do have wonder how much energy I'll be willing to devote to hauling pots in and out every year.