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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an attractive perennial herb that easily grows in garden beds or pots. The shrub can grow up to 1.5-2m tall, but you can find dwarf or low-growing forms, like Rosemarinus ‘Prostratus’ that only reach 20-30cm high.


All forms have attractive small lavender-blue or white flowers that bloom in late spring or summer, although they do have a tendency to appear sporadically throughout the year. Native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary grows well in hot and dry climates and is incredibly drought tolerant, once established. Pick stems regularly and use to flavour meat dishes – roast chicken, lamb and casseroles – and this will also promote a more compact and bushier shrub.

Location

Rosemary grows best in hot dry climates, but it will also grow in cool or cold climates, provided there is protection from frost in winter. Plant rosemary in full sun or in a spot where it receives between 6-8 hours of sunlight.

Soil

Rosemary prefer well-drained soils that are slightly alkaline. Check your soil pH (see The importance of soil pH) and apply Yates Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime & Dolomite to help raise the pH, if required. Prior to planting, enrich the soil with organic matter, like Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser and fork in well.

Fertiliser

Feed rosemary during the warmer months of the year with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.

Water

After planting, water regularly and deeply. Once established, rosemary can withstand longer periods without watering – ideal for waterwise gardens – but will perform better if watered, especially during hot dry periods. Mulch well with an organic mulch like sugarcane or pea straw to help keep the soil cool and moist.

Pests and diseases

Rosemary are fairly tough plants but can sometimes be attacked by sap-sucking pests like aphids and whitefly. In humid climates, rosemary is susceptible to fungal diseases, like powdery mildew. To reduce the risk, trim stems and branches regularly to improve light and air circulation. If any leaves are affected, remove and bin them.

Maintenance

To help keep rosemary bushy and compact, lightly prune stems after flowering – you can use these clippings to grow more plants (see How to grow rosemary from cuttings). Feed lightly after pruning to help plants recover.

How to grow rosemary in a garden

  1. Choose a spot in the garden that receives full sun to part shade. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well. 
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots. 
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised ring around the plant, creating a well so that water will go where it’s needed most. Water in well. 
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk. 
  5. Water deeply, twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. Feed every 6-8 weeks from spring to mid-autumn Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.

 

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How to grow rosemary in a pot

  1. Choose a pot at least 400 mm wide. Position in full sun to part shade and fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter
  2. Add a small amount of Yates Waterwise Water Storage Crystals to the mix. These will help hold extra moisture.
  3. Remove the shrub from the container and gently tease the roots.
  4. Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  5. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk. 
  6. Once planted, keep the plant well watered, but don’t let the water sit in a saucer at the base of the pot.
  7. During the warmer months, feed weekly with Yates Thrive All Purpose Liquid Plant Food.

How to grow rosemary from cuttings

Rosemary grows easily from cuttings. You can take softwood cuttings in spring or semi-hardwood cuttings in late autumn or early winter (wood is relatively firm but still fairly flexible).

  1. Cut lengths between 10-15cm long, ensuring you make the cut just below a node (the bump on the stem, where leaves emerge). Remove lower leaves, leaving a few leaves at the top of the cutting.
  2. Fill a pot or deep tray with propagating sand. Use a finger, dowel or similar to poke planting holes in the mix.
  3. Dip the base of the cuttings into rooting hormone, like Yates Clonex Rooting Hormone Gel – Purple and insert into the preformed holes. Gently firm the sand around the stems.
  4. Water lightly and position in a warm brightly lit spot, out of direct sunlight. You can cover the pot or tray with a plastic bag – use sticks to prop it up to prevent it from being in contact with the stem and leaves.
  5. Water to keep the soil moist. Once they have rooted, plant up in individual pots filled with Yates Premium Potting Mix.

Growing tips

To form a low hedge, plant 3 saplings per meter and prune regularly to avoid leggy growth.



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Yates Premium Potting Mix 6L

A premium potting mix, ideal for all potted plants and shrubs, including ornamentals, fruit trees, vegies and herbs.