First time growing rosemary

mommalisyMay 31, 2007

I just planted my herb garden when I knew the nights were warm enough, everything seems to be taking off real well except the rosemary--the plant is about 6" tall--how long does it take and will it spread out like the other herbs?

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Rosemary is a very slow grower in its first year or so. It could take 3 years or more to get to full size. Be patient, and give it plenty of sunlight and heat. And don't forget to water it occasionally! It's not a desert plant, prefers a climate with long, hot summers, and wet winters.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:20PM
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I am not sure where you are, is your rosemary hardy for you?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:56PM
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ABQ_Bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

Highly depends on where you are zone-wise. My experience with rosemary in high-desert zone-7 is the bush type is touch-n-go. I have one that just kind of hangs on from year to year and doesn't get much bigger than about a foot across and about a foot high. Although I've seen a very nice specimen in "Old Town" (Albuquerque).

Prostrate rosemary, on the other hand, grows like gang busters, also about a foot high, but my one 4" nursery pot plant has turned into a 6' round patch in 3 years. I love the stuff. Where I work, prostrate rosmary fills the parking medians - yummy!!! And as a prostrate - it self layers quite well, so I expect the patch will just keep getting bigger. And yes the entire first year I kept wondering if the darn thing was ever going to grow.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 9:09PM
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On the other hand, I had two of the exact same rosemary plants from the nursery. Both planted in the exact same soil, in containers, the same size. One I took to my father's house. It's growing like crazy, has probably doubled in size, enough for me to cut the tips to encourage it to branch out. The one I have, the same type the same age as the one he has, had received direct sunlight for 8 hours and has not shown a lot of growth. Some branching out, but nothing like what my father's is doing.

Strange in that my father's yard doesn't get a lot of direct full sunlight because of all the trees in his yard. But his is doing better than mine. At least, it's growing at twice the rate.

So, you never know. Nothing is written in stone. I guess except rosemary doesn't tolerate "wet feet". Both plants, here and there, are given the same care. Yet, there is a marked difference.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 2:20AM
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I live in a cooler climate, Zone 2a - 3. If I can ever get my rosemary to make it past a 2" seedling, can I move it out to my garden? If so, can it survive a Manitoba winter or should it be wintered indoors?


    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 3:38PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I started rosemary from primed seeds last year in March. They were planted outside the end of May. By July the plants were nearly 18 inches tall and quite bushy. I cut most of them down in September and dried the leaves. They never survive our Z6 winters outside.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 5:20PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

mommalisy - we don't know where you live so can't advise on whether your rosemary will overwinter but remember it is a woody shrub. Nature designed it to grow relatively slowly and last many years. Many of your other herbs will be annuals or biennials designed to grow up, flower and seed in one or two years. Others will be herbaceous perennials designed to last a few years but to die down to the ground each winter. So you mustn't expect all your herbs to behave the same way just because they have an arbitrary label given to them by humans. If you live in a pro rosemary climate, as I do, some cultivars are capable of growing five feet high and spreading out over several square yards. I just had to reduce the size of my 15 year old plant with a saw. So, yes, it can spread!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 5:44PM
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I think when people talk about 'spreading' in regard to plants, they usually mean that they will 'travel'- much like the notorious mints, which will never stay where you want them. Most groundcovers 'spread', though not all.

But 'a spread' is the width of the plant. So you say 'this plant grows to X metres tall with a spread of Y metres'.

Certain vines, climbing plants (say, a grape vine), have a very large spread indeed (30-40 metres or more) but that doesn't mean that they are always a nuisance (like the notorious mints!).

Yes, rosemary has a spread at least as wide as its height. It's a largish shrub. 1.5 metres tall and about 1 metre wide. Mine is bigger than that, both ways. Or it was before I chopped it right back to prevent it getting bigger than its boots in my tiny garden!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 9:36AM
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