Rosmarinus officianalis can be used for ornamental, culinary and medicinal purposes. The aromatic, evergreen shrub, native to the dry hills of southern Europe and North Africa, can be grown as a clipped hedge, as a cascading plant along the edge of a retaining wall, pruned and shaped as topiaries and as a container patio plant.
Rosemary leaves are like soft pine needles, finely chopped they can be used to flavour a variety of dishes, especially stuffing. Many cooks simply cut sprigs of rosemary and place with roasted meats, especially lamb, pork, chicken and turkey with great results.
Another great advantage of rosemary is that it is a perennial and will last for twenty years or more with only minimal pruning once a year. While rosemary can be propagated by taking cuttings, the finest, more aromatic plants are said to be raised from seed.
Sowing: Sow in September to October, or sow March to May.
Sow seed on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Press the seeds lightly into the compost but do not cover, as they need light to germinate. They will germinate in less than two weeks.
The germination rate for Rosemary can be low, perhaps 30 to 50% so, either plant a few more seeds than you would normally do, or increase germination by sowing at one week of warm temperatures of 18 to 24°C (65 to 75°F), followed by cold temperatures of 4°C (40°F) for four weeks. The fridge is the ideal temperature!
Seedlings should be ready to transplant in six to eight weeks. Avoid keeping the medium too moist. Transplant to 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out, after all risk of frost. When transplanted, pinch out the tip of each stem to encourage the plants to bush outwards. Trim new growth to maintain a compact shape.
Rosemary, like Thyme and Lavender is one of those plants which will not re-grow if cut back too hard, if you need to trim them wait until new growth buds appear in the spring and cut back to the lower ones. If trimmed back when you can see new growth buds, it will stay fresh and healthy for many years and flower well. Outdoors, plants should be placed in an area with good air circulation and well-drained soil.
If you intend to use your rosemary within a week or two, store it in the refrigerator. It will last around 10 to 14 days in the refrigerator when stored properly. Loosely wrap the rosemary sprigs in a slightly damp paper or cloth towel, and place it in a reusable storage container.
If you have more rosemary than you can use in two weeks, freeze it for later use. Rinse off the rosemary sprigs and let them thoroughly dry. Finely chop into smaller pieces, place in a tightly sealed storage bag and place it in the freezer. Or, divide the rosemary into ice cube tray compartments, fill with water or soup stock and freeze. Once it is frozen, transfer the rosemary ice cubes to a storage bag until ready for use. For the best results, use within 4 to 6 months.
Dried rosemary isn’t quite as pungent as fresh, but it lasts the longest. Simply arrange whole sprigs of rosemary in a single layer on a plate and place in a cool, dry place for several days. Once they are completely dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store in a tightly sealed container.
Container Growing Rosemary:
The herb Rosemary grows extremely well in large pots or other containers. The pots need to be reasonably deep because rosemary is a deep rooting herb. Use a mixture of 20% sharp sand or grit and 80% standard potting compost. Water the plant well to help it settle in and consolidate the soil around the roots. Container grown plants are more likely to affected by severe frosts, so move the containers close to the house walls in winter.
Rosemary leaves are known for relieving cold symptoms and headaches. Made into an herbal tea is also believed to stimulate liver activity and improve blood circulation.
Rosemary is the companion plant to Cabbage, Beans, Carrots and Sage. It repels Cabbage Butterfly, Bean Beetle and Carrot Fly. It attracts honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies
Native to the Mediterranean basin, Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, is a woody member of Lamiaceae, the mint family.
The name 'rosemary' is from Latin and means 'dew of the sea' Rosmarinus is from ros (dew) and marinus (of the sea.). It is thought that the name originated because the plant lives in the harsh, dry climate and seems to exist with only the humidity from the sea.
When Linnaeus invented the binomial system of nomenclature, he gave the specific name 'officinalis' to plants (and sometimes animals) with an established medicinal, culinary, or other use. The word officinalis is derived from the Latin officina meaning a storeroom (of a monastery) for medicines and necessaries. It literally means 'of or belonging in an officina', and that it was officially recognised as a medicinal herb. It conjures up images of a storeroom where apothecaries and herbalists stored their herbs.
In ancient times, when all plants were associated with an emotion, rosemary was known as the herb of remembrance.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Common Name Herb Rosemary Family Lamiaceae Genus Rosmarinus Species officianalis Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Pale Blue in May to June Height 120 to 180cm (4-6ft) if unclipped Position Full Sun Soil Light Well Drained Soil Time to Sow Sow in September to October or in March to May.