How To Grow Rosemary In Pots

Growing rosemary plant in a medium-sized terracotta pot.

If you are a frequent gardener then growing rosemary has probably crossed your mind. However, some of you may not have enough room in your herb garden to grow it and that is completely fine! A single pot container can do the trick and will even add the same amount of flavor or perhaps more.

Growing rosemary in pots is not difficult at all so let’s get to it! 


Rosemary

Rosemary plant ready to harvest.

Rosemary is an attractive plant native to the Mediterranean that possesses needle-like leaves that fill the air with a subtle pine fragrance, particularly during spring and summer.

This herb has a pungent flavor and is one of the most useful herbs for adding taste to many different types of dishes.

Rosemary belongs to the mint family along with many other herbs such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender which are all quite beneficial in their own ways.


Soil Suitable for Rosemary

Potting mix for repotting rosemary plant.

This herb is known for a solid potting mix that can contain ingredients such as perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, and wood chips.

Rosemary needs a soil that is between a pH of 6-7, and like succulents, well-draining soil is essential to prevent rotting.

When searching for garden pots, pick those with drainage holes as rosemary roots tend to rot in soggy soil.


The Right Amount of Sunlight and Ventilation

A rosemary plant in ceramic container pot.

Growing rosemary from seeds can be tough at first but seedlings from garden centers is the most convenient way to start.

Planting this herb at the same depth as the seedling is necessary as it may suffocate the plant if done otherwise.

Rosemary thrives in a warm spot like your patio but unfortunately this herb isn’t too capable of surviving in the cold. However, it does well on a bright windowsill with 6-8 hours of sunlight every day along with enough ventilation if you happen to grow in the winter.

If adequate sunlight is hard to meet, supplementing with artificial light will work also.


Potting Rosemary

Rosemary plants grown in black container pots.

Moving your rosemary back outside once the danger of the winter frost has passed is essential to ensure your potted plants get the right humidity level and sun exposure.

Taking care of your rosemary in container pots is quite easy, and the only secret to making this herb thrive is correct watering. Easy, right?

Spicing up your favorite dishes and enjoying a limitless supply of rosemary all year-round is not difficult.

Start with the right type of soil, a container pot with drainage holes, followed by TLC, and then with the right care this herb will become a favorite in no time.

Re-potting Your Rosemary – An Important Step

Rosemary that has outgrown its pots is required to be transplanted into a bigger container so that it can obtain adequate water. Re-potting your plants isn’t too hard and shouldn’t take you too much time.

If you prefer to maintain the size of your plant, slice off a couple of inches from the roots on either the bottoms or the sides. Don’t forget to trim off some of the top leaves to lessen the stress of the roots workload placed upon the trimmed plant.

Rosemary is a root-bound type of plant, and it is beneficial for the herbs to be re-potted once at any time of the year. The lower foliage turning into a yellow color is an indication that it might be time to re-pot.

However, re-potting your rosemary in the spring is the best time as this herb prefers it on the dry side.


Common Pests and Diseases

Mildew, aphids, and spider mites in a rosemary plant.

Keeping the right level of humidity is definitely the toughest challenge when growing rosemary indoors.

Environments with a lack of humidity can sever their leaves which causes the plants to die. Poor ventilation and high humidity can cause powdery mildew to appear on rosemary plants and a fungus will develop over time which is not a pleasant site to see on your plants.

Powdery mildew won’t kill your rosemary right away, but it will long term. Keeping the right balance of humidity by misting the leaves when necessary and sitting the plant under moderate sunlight if needed will prevent the plants from forming mildew.

Aside from powdery mildew, you should also be aware of aphids and spider mites.

Like mildew, these insects can cause harm to your plants as well. With that being said, eradicating them before an infestation will be a lot easier to control.

Spraying your plants regularly with insect repellent soap can help you save your plants from dying or obtaining anything unpleasant.


Overwatering – The Usual Cause of Death

a white watering can watering pink flowers

Rosemary leaves don’t wither as broad leaves do, making it hard to determine if the herb needs water. Usually, it takes 1-2 weeks for its soil to dry out thoroughly, but the size of a plant and climate conditions also matter.

Always perform the soil finger test before watering, and water only when you find the top of the soil dry. Let the excess water drain completely, as overwatering is the usual cause of death for this plant.


How to Propagate Rosemary

Getting rosemary seeds to germinate is a little bit tricky – hence, making rosemary growers opt for propagation as their usual method for producing rosemary quickly.

Procedure to propagate rosemary:

  • Take cuttings from an existing plant.
  • Next, cut the stem at about 2 inches long.
  • Remove leaves on the lower part of the stem, leaving only a few leaves on the top.
  • Set the cuttings in the soil with a mixture of perlite and peat moss.
  • Spray with water and leave temporarily until the roots begin to grow.
  • You can transplant the cuttings into a bigger container pot as you would with any rosemary plant once the roots are completely set.

Varieties of Rosemary

Aside from adding flavor to many dishes, some rosemary growers have grown the plant as ornamental near paths and walkways, to fill the air with fragrance when you walk past them.

Tuscan Blue

Tuscan Blue rosemary in a garden center.

Tuscan Blue Rosemary is one of the best varieties of rosemary from topiaries. A highly tolerant beautiful shrub that thrives even in inner-city environments with grayish-green needles that are sheared easily to any shape.

It is often harvested from early to mid-summer and has several benefits in the kitchen. It grows wonderfully in a container outdoors and grows upright up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide.


The Trailing Rosemary

The trailing rosemary cascading down a raised bed.

Prostratus or the trailing rosemary is familiar to almost everyone. This variety of rosemary can thrive even in compact soil once the roots establish fully. However, young plants need loose soil and proper aeration to encourage root growth. It is also commonly used as a decorative outdoor piece. 

Another interesting fact is that it can be called the creeping rosemary based on its unique trailing growth dangling over a retaining wall or cascading down a raised bed. Its broader creeping characteristic makes an excellent ground-cover. It bears light blue flowers, can grow 3 feet in height and spreads 4-8 feet wide with beautiful trailing and natural draping nature.


Roman Beauty Rosemary

Roman beauty rosemary with its beautiful lavender-blue flowers.

Roman Beauty is a Mediterranean native with arching stems and a slow-growth species of rosemary. This variety is compact and has a semi-trailing form. It bears beautiful lavender-blue flowers appear in spring, and its aromatic gray-green foliage creates a cascading effect either in landscape or container garden.

This variety can tolerate poor soil, salt spray, and even drought. It grows from 12-16 inches high and spreads from 18-24 inches wide.


Gorizia Rosemary

Gorizia rosemary in a container used to repel moth and flies.
Image by: hillcrestnursery.com

Gorizia Rosemary is famous for its extraordinary wide flat leaves which is twice as broad as common rosemary.  A mildew resistant variety can grow up to 4-6 feet high and can bear clusters of light blue flowers from late winter until summer.

This type of rosemary is easy to grow and doesn’t require extra watering. It does well in container pots and can tolerate part shade but may weaken its flavor without adequate exposure to the sun. It has unique characteristics that attract honey bees and repels moths indoors and carrot flies outdoors. 


Golden Variegated Rosemary

Golden variegated rosemary has a green needle-like foliage that displays bright golden patches. A perennial type of plant that bears pale blue flowers in spring and grows upright up to 2 feet tall that spreads 3 feet wide. This specific rosemary plant needs full sun exposure.

This short stature type of rosemary is an excellent choice for edging the garden aside from its culinary uses. Some growers use this plant as a low-cost way to fill out space in their garden. It becomes very convenient when gardening on a budget.


Majorca Pink Rosemary

Majorca Pink Rosemary in bloom.

Majorca Pink Rosemary is commonly known as an evergreen shrub with aromatic needle-like gray-green foliage that blooms in spring and repeats in summer with its pale blue-lavender flowers. It usually grows up to 4 to 6 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide in winter hardy areas.

Aside from its uses in culinary flavorings, this plant is an excellent aesthetic decor choice on pathways which also provides a nice smelling fragrance while you walk by. It thrives well in container pots but requires to be brought indoors come winter.


Benenden Blue Rosemary

Benenden Blue Rosemary has a pine-scent and golden specks in its green needle-like narrow leaves with a branching habit that often creates a loose and attractive appearance. It grows upright and reaches up to 2 feet tall and spreads equally wide while its pale blue flowers usually bloom in spring.

It does well in the sloped area and can survive almost all types of soil, including drought, and even frost. It thrives nicely in the full sun and can even tolerate moderate shade.


Barbecue Rosemary

Barbeque rosemary infuses an appealing aroma in grilling.

Barbecue variety of rosemary named after a barbecue because of its sturdy stem often used as skewers for shish kebabs while infusing an appealing rosemary flavor and aroma when grilling.

It provides bright blue flowers that quickly spread onto the plant, contrasting beautifully in its dark green foliage. This variety of rosemary is perennial in zones 8 to 11 and best grown in containers in cooler areas.


Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary in white ceramic bowl.

Rosemary is commonly prepared as a dried herb or powdered extract, while its teas and purees are made out of fresh leaves.

The medicinal attributes of rosemary are famous since ancient times. The herb is widely known for its ability to alleviate muscle pain, boost the immune system, improve memory, and promote hair growth.

Facts About Rosemary

  • Rosemary is a perennial herb that lasts for more than two years.
  • Its needle-like aromatic foliage is commonly used in culinary flavorings.
  • The health benefits include proper digestion, improved concentration, and brain aging prevention.
  • Excessive doses may cause vomiting, coma, and pulmonary edema.

Possible Health Benefits of Rosemary

Dried rosemary along with other spices.

  • Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds

Aside from playing a big part in neutralizing free radicals, many studies have shown rosemary to be a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help boosts the immune system and blood circulation.

  • Improve digestion

Rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion in Europe, but until recently, there was no scientific evidence to support this claim.

  • Enhance memory and concentration

Research in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology outlined that rosemary can:

  1. Improve concentration
  2. Speed
  3. Performance
  4. Accuracy
  5. Mood
  • Good for the brain

Rosemary has been found to be good for the brain, as it contains carnosic acid known to fight off free radicals.

Other studies identified rosemary appears to be protective against brain damage and is useful for people who have experienced a stroke.

  • Prevent brain aging

Research conducted suggests that rosemary can significantly help prevent brain aging, and its therapeutic ability to prevent Alzheimer’s is promising. However, more studies are needed.

  • Slowed cancer spread

Research published in Oncology Reports that rosemary has “slowed the spread of human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells.

According to the article published in Biotechnology and Biochemistry, and Bioscience, rosemary can be useful as an anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent.

The Journal of Food Science published a report concluding that adding a rosemary extract to ground beef reduces cancer-causing agents that may develop during cooking.

  • Protection against macular degeneration

A study revealed as published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science that carnosic acid in rosemary can significantly promote eye health.


Final Thoughts On Growing Your Rosemary in Container Pots

Rosemary is a must-have herb that has many assets including a ton of cooking and health benefits. As you can see, limited space isn’t a hindrance, and growing rosemary even in container pots can be just as good or even better. Find the right rosemary for you and then begin to grow as it will help you immensely. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please leave me a comment below.

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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