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Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Posted by david1948 5b Wa (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 14, 11 at 19:33

I live in zone 5 and I am tired of purchasing plants each spring. I read pulling a branch and stripping 1/2 and putting in zonolite will work for a new start. Then I read the plant has to be 2-3 yrs old. So I guess taking a cutting of this years plant is not an option.
Sooo, I am thinking of digging up the plant, rinsing the vegetation and roots and potting in zonolite / perilite / potting soil. Is there a recommended ratio of any or all of the above that I should use ?
Watering during the winter...will a weekly spray of water be adequate ? Humidity here around 30-50 in the winter indoors.
I think I drowned the other plants I tried to keep for the winter. I have read they live on humidity just fine. Leave them alone.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

No, they cannot live on 'just humidity'. Your potting medium should be very coarse textured and fast draining. The problem with vermiculite (zonolite) is that it collapses VERY quickly once wet. It will not provide the porous structure required for healthy indoor plants. By the way, the vermiculite brand Zonolite still has a red flag over it regarding asbestos. Did you know that?

I've never heard that rosemary must be 2-3 years old before you can take cuttings. I don't believe that to be true. But I don't think that you will have your best luck with cuttings at this time of year. Best on new growth in the spring (soft wood cuttings).

Be sure that your potting mix is a good one. I'd like to see pine bark fines as an ingredient and sometimes the big box stores carry them...not mini nuggets but much smaller. The perlite is a good addition.

Your rosemary should be watered thoroughly when it pretty much dries out. If the medium is coarse enough, over watering will not be a problem. If you just rely on misting, you'll soon have a dead rosemary plant.

Please note that rosemary which has been happily growing outside will not adapt well to the indoor environment. Especially one that has been growing in the ground and not in a container.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

If you go visit the Container forum, I believe there are soil mix "recipes" that people have referenced here before. If you can't run across them, bonsai soil mixes would provide the drainage required for plants like rosemary, sage, and thyme.

That said, I do agree with rhizo. Bringing a plant that was happy outdoors in for the winter is difficult. I bring things in each winter. Last year I tried digging up some of my chili peppers and bringing them in, half survived to be planted in the garden this summer. About 3/4 of my holy basil survived. I've never had rosemary, thyme, or sage make it through winter. For the winter, you need to have plant lighting (definitely too little light in the frozen North) and need to be aware of the plant's needs. And those needs may change during the course of the winter.

FataMorgana


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

FataMorgana & rhizo.....Morning.
Thanks for saving me a bunch of frustration trying to save the plants.....
Do you have a method for saving the needles/leaves to use in the winter ? Freeze in water, put in EVOO and use the oil for flavor ? Dried rosemary sucks....

Now to head over to the container forum and make a plan for next year.
Buy a plant- put in a proper container- summer outside- move indoors for the winter- hope it lives-
At least I can grow great garlic up here........

Dave


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

I wish I could help you...rosemary grows outside all year 'round, here. Someone will help, I'm sure.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

'Dried rosemary sucks....'

Personally, I find dried rosemary strongly flavourful, more so than fresh, and I use it in large quantities, even though I live in a climate where rosemary is hardy. (Mine is getting on for 20 years old.) Maybe you have only experienced bought dried rosemary? Home grown and dried is very different. I always have a few branches lying around my kitchen. I find that woody herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme and bay are all extremely good dried, unlike soft, sappy herbs like parsley and chives which I wouldn't ever recommend using dried .


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Flora is right. Could be you had something that had sat on a shelf in the spicerack above the stove too long - something that lost its flavor long ago?

My kids have recently learned the difference between pre-ground black pepper (that was ground who knows how long ago) sitting on the table at a restaurant versus the peppermill and freshly ground pepper we always use at home. The pepper in the restaurant was so pale tasting that they easily used twice as much pepper as they would have at home. In fact, I had to tell them "whoa" on the pepper.

FataMorgana


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

I plan to bring fmfy rosemary plants in this winter too. They are just little ones, some I started from cuttings at the grocery store and some from seed. I want a large amount of it next year so need these to survive.

Does it go dormant in the wintertime? Can I pot it up after it goes dormant and put it in the cold cellar with my tropical bulbs, then replant in the early spring when the ground thaws?

Maybe I will try both methods, putting the larger in the basement and the tiny ones on a south windowsill. Nothing to lose...


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

sheryl - it depends what you mean by 'dormant'. In climates where rosemary overwinters outdoors it behaves like other evergreens ie although it does not generally put on new growth it remains green and just ticks over biding its time until spring. So putting it into a cellar, presumably with no or little light would kill it. In the winter rosemary needs light, ventilation, a little water and a cool temperature which can be as low as a degree or so above zero (c). It is not a tropical plant and can cope with brief periods below freezing. The best place in winter, if it can't go outdoors, would be a glass porch or sunroom which is not too dry and not too hot.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Great summary, Flora!

We grow rosemary outside here in Northern Alabama. Our winters are chilly and sometimes downright bitter. Single digit temps don't visit us too often, but teens are very common, sometimes for several days in a row (day and night).


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

flora_uk, mornin'..Do you dry your own rosemary ?? w/stems ?? I have a drier and was thinking 100-110*F..That is the temp I dry garlic and it is good...

In the winter rosemary needs light, ventilation, a little water and a cool temperature which can be as low as a degree or so above zero.
That gives me hope for a transplant...

fatamorgana..you are right on about fresh cracked pepper...that stuff in the can is bland....


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Yes - I dry my rosemary. Or rather it dries itself. I do not have a drier. I just leave a branch or two on the kitchen counter. Because Rosemary is hardy here I can pick it any time and don't need to put it in jars. So it doesn't need to be bone dry to avoid mould in storage. I just pull bits off the branch as I need them. I use the same method for bay which is also hardy here. By 'branch' I mean a piece about a foot to 18 inches long. If you want to strip off the leaves it's easier to do after they are dried on the stem.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

flora, morning....I think leaving it on the kitchen counter would be better for retaining flavor and oils in the leaves....Great idea...I think I will try that along with others...something will have to work here where I live...


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Thank you Flora! I will pot it up and put it on the south windowsill in the spare bedroom, where we keep the door closed all winter. It's dry and cold, but not freezing. The window gets quite a lot of light. I'll hope for the best. I have nothing to lose anyway, so I think I will give it a try.

It's getting cool at night here now and our first frost date is about a month away. Should I be bringing it in now or wait longer?


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

If it was a very tender tropical, I'd say bring it in sooner rather than later. But rosemary is more hardy than that. I would bring it in before it gets frosty but not rush it. Let it bask for as long as it can in the real sunlight. Even having it outdoors during the day on warm sunny days even after the nights get cold is great. It will keep it's time indoors to the most minimal you can - that will increase its chances for survival. But always keep an eye on your weather reports and go from there.

FataMorgana


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

I totally agree with Fatamorgana. Rosemary will not turn to mush the instant the temp goes below freezing by a few degrees. Keep it outside as long as possible.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Ok, that's what I will do! It has another month or so outside and I can put it out during the daytime when it's fairly warm for awhile after that and in the early spring, as well. Thanks for the info!

If left outside here, it would not get light, anyway, under the snow.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

I just gave my rosemary away like 2wks ago because I knew it wasn't going to survive at my house. It's not the cold that would have killed it, it's our shallow water table & spring floods. My SIL dug it up, potted it & took it home. It's perked up quite a bit & is showing new growth already.
I don't see why you couldn't overwinter it in your zone, I've used this method (linked below), it lived just fine. It's not so much the cold you need to protect it from, it's the ice/wind/snow that will kill it. Do you have it close to your house? That would help too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Overwintering Rosemary Z6


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

pagirlmint, Thank you for the link on overwintering. I just put on a new roof and removed an old skylight that was leaking. Now I can re-purpose it to the garden....


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

I am zone 5 but will do some testing this winter to see what works best. I do have a couple of cold frames made with patio doors. I think I will plant one of my small rosemary plants in there for the winter as an experiment. I have 6 smallish plants made from cuttings last spring so I can afford to do some experimenting.

I don't know what kind they are. I grew two from seed I got in a trade and four from grocery store cuttings.

I will also put one in the cold cellar with the squash, perhaps on the NW windowsill in there. It's not much light but a little might help. Should I give it a little water occasionally or let it go completely dry while dormant?

The rest I will put on a south windowsill in a cold unheated bedroom, watering sparingly.

When can I plant them back outside in the spring? I don't need to wait for last frost do I? Can they go outside as soon as the ground thaws and dries out some in mid April?

I think I'm going to blog this test and keep it updated over the winter.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Don't let any rooted plant "go completely dry." It will die for sure if you do that.

I shop each spring in at a local nursery that sells and ships bareroot plants. Their bareroot warehouse and it is temperature and humidity controlled. It is a very humid for all the dormant plants so their roots do not dry out. Even the evergreens like pines are not allowed to dry out.

You will need to wait until after the frosts have past in the spring to harden off your plants. They were kept protected from frosts all winter and won't be acclimated to those temperatures. It is the same with us. Think about early fall - a 40 degree F day is very cold. We need coats and warm clothes. In late winter, that same 40 degree F day is a heat wave and we can go outside in t-shirts. It's all what we've become acclimated to - to a point obviously. Plants are the same.

FataMorgana


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

I realise that you have plenty of plants and that you are experimenting, Sheryl, but I really don't think there's much point trying a rosemary in a gloomy cellar, even with a little light. Rosemary is a plant which in its natural habitat gets all available light all year round and that's what it needs. It is not truly'dormant' insofar as it is green and photosynthesising year round, like a pine or fir, even if it is not putting on new growth. It needs all the light it can get and sufficient water. If you let it go dry it will die.


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Hello everyone :) I'm a newbie to herb gardening & this forum, and some of your content on this conversation made me think ya'll could help me with a "conundrum" I have...
I've looked at several topics on "winterizing" a few types of herbs, but none speak specific to my location.
I live in a zone 5a/5b region with solid snow cover all winter (late November through March) and consistent below freezing temps. I have a brand new herb garden from this last springtime with rosemary, sage and lavender that I would really like to prepare for winter... any suggestions as to how I should go about doing this? (Like, should I bring them all inside in pots, or see how they do outdoors?) I'd greatly appreciate your advice!


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RE: Rosemary--transplanting to indoor pots

Rosemary is a no-go for outdoors. You'll have to bring it in.

Lavender's hardiness depends upon the variety. Is it an english lavender perhaps? English varieties like "munstead" are the most cold hardy and would be hardy in zone 5. Drainage is key for winter survival.

Sage's survival depends upon variety. I'm assuming you have S. officinalis, garden sage which is the one used in cooking. They survive well for me and are supposed to be hardy in zone 5 but winter survival seems to vary wildly for people. Drainage is again key to survival.

Snow coverage all winter long is a good thing. It protects the plants underneath the snow from more bitter temperatures and winds.

FataMorgana


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