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Prune/harvest rosemary before the Winter?

Posted by leira 6 MA (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 15, 09 at 11:36

Hi folks,

Last year I successfully over-Wintered a rosemary plant for the first time. It was rather pale and spindly by the end of it, but by golly, it survived. In the Spring, I got it outdoors as soon as I could. I re-potted it into a somewhat larger clay pot, gave it a bit of an organic herb fertilizer, and sank the pot into the ground for the Summer.

It's been doing great! My formerly sad-looking rosemary is lush and green and has plenty of sturdy new growth. The plant has been mostly ignored this Summer, in part because I didn't want to cut it back too much while it was getting itself healthy again, but mostly because I had a baby, and there just wasn't time to do much of anything.

Now the Winter is approaching. We had our first frost last night, so the rosemary will need to come inside again sometime soon. I know it can handle light frosts, and that it does better outside rather than in, so I don't want to rush it...but I'm sure it will be inside within the next month or so, and will be there until April or so.

So now my question. I never did harvest any rosemary for drying, and I never pruned it to improve its shape, both of which I wanted and intended to do. Is it too late to do this now? Will cutting it back now encourage new growth at just the wrong time? Can I take a harvest now, or should I just plan to use it fresh through the Winter, taking cuttings with an eye toward proper pruning?

Its over-Wintering location will be in a West-facing window in the house, which is the best I can offer. We have no South-facing windows, and no unheated breezeway or attached garage or anything like that.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Prune/harvest rosemary before the Winter?

You can harvest as much as you need. But if you want to shape it (round, conic, etc ) you should do it next spring when you move it outside,
In my area winter lows can dip into mid teens (15F +/-) and rosemary can survive outside without any protection and stay green. So then, any overwintering locatios that will not get colder than, say 20F should be fine. UNLESS you have a variety that is not winter dary.
Drying rosemary is so easy. Throw it anywhere in your kitchen, pantry. It will dry in no time. Rosemary has relatively low moisture content and high essential amount of oils that will dry fast and will retain its aroma and flavor for a long time, even when not containered. Only thyme can come close to rosemary in this characteristic.

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