by Ron Binaghi
Thanks for choosing Stokes Farm Jumbo Rosemary plants!
To properly grow this giant beauty you will need to provide this plant with some basic things. The most important item is sunlight. Rosemary would love to have direct sun all day long but will do fine with 4-6 hours. Direct sun means sun directly on the plant… not reflected… not partial.
The next most important item for growth is water. If you are going to leave this plant in the pot it came in, it will require a good watering (1 gal) about twice a week if the plant is inside and 2-3 times if it is outside due to wind etc. If you plant it into a clay pot be prepared to water about twice as much due to the porous nature of clay. Some folks like to cut the bottom out of the plastic pot and put the whole thing into a big clay one. Then you get the water retention of plastic with the look of clay. We advise planting them into a larger container or into the ground before midsummer to achieve optimum growth. If you do not have the space or energy to re-pot them they will be fine, however, they will need more frequent watering.
A word about watering: Rosemary is native to hot arid climates so you would think it likes to be dry. This is true if it is planted in the ground because it can send out roots to find water, however if it is always kept in a container it can only drink what it is given. Therefore, if it is always potted, keep it watered… not every day… feel the soil… Is it moist? Then leave it…. If not, then water it.
Do not spritz the leaves… It leads to diseases and does nothing to satisfy its water requirement. A practical way to think about the environment for rosemary is to think of your own body. You need sun, you need water, and although you could put on shoes a little smaller than usual you would not be happy at the end of the day. If you are thirsty and I spray you with water will your thirst end? Plants exchange oxygen through the roots so if you over water it is just like holding your head under water. How long would you last?
Rosemary is also very tolerant to cold temperatures. The plant is a tender perennial which means that south of Virginia it will probably winter over. In the north there is a slight chance that it will survive the winter and in New York City the chances are even better due to the warmer temperatures. Rosemary will tolerate temps down to 20 degrees and for wintering outside it MUST be in the ground. The key is to keep the plant out of the wind but keep it in the sun. Being next to a building or surrounding (not covering) the plant with burlap will help. Rosemary can be brought in for the winter and many people do this every year and have plants that are 10 years old or more. Remember though, the same light requirement is needed in the winter so if you do not have a real sunny spot to put it indoors don’t waste your time.
Some things you could do is either leave it outside planted in the ground or cut it off at the base and hang the stems upside down for a few weeks to dry. The dry leaves will last for over 1 year.
Rosemary is not too picky about fertilization. We recommend any product that will supply the basic needs of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. This could be accomplished with a “Miracle Grow” type water soluble product, granular slow release fertilizers or many other organic products out there. Fertilization should be performed twice a month for water soluble or twice a season for slow release granular.
I hope this helps you to be a better grower and to add enjoyment to your life.
– Farmer Ron