Rosemary is a highly beneficial plant that everyone should be growing in their garden. Learn about all the reasons to grow rosemary and its benefits for the garden, your health, and as a delicious culinary herb.
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Grow Rosemary in the Garden
To me, growing rosemary is a given. What I mean by that is, whatever life gives me and wherever I end up, I will always have rosemary.
It’s hard to think of an herb that resonates the way that rosemary does; its pleasingly piney aroma lingers in the air long after it’s left the room.
A flowering shrub native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus, formerly Rosmarinus officinalis) has been revered for its culinary and medicinal uses for thousands of years.
The word rosemary comes from the Latin ros marinus, meaning “dew of the sea” — it is said to have been worn by the goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea.
Despite what rosemary’s presence in Greek mythology might suggest, growing your own rosemary is an easy, mostly-hands-off endeavor anyone can accomplish.
In fact, it’s so beginner-friendly that I recommend growing rosemary especially if you’re new to the world of growing your own herbs.
It’s such a laid-back shrub in terms of care that here in the Pacific Northwest rosemary can be found growing everywhere; it thrives in parking lots, along sandy hiking trails, and as ornamental bushes in commercial areas and public parks.
In the rare times of my life when I haven’t had a rosemary plant to call my own, I never had to go very far to find a giant bush where I could glean a sprig or two for my bread.
Usually, though, I always have at least one rosemary plant growing, if not multiple.
Whether you’re looking to create a save-haven for bees or you’re curious about some of the medicinal properties behind this herbaceous herb, let’s take a closer look at why you should grow rosemary in your garden.
Rosemary is an Easy to Grow Hardy Perennial
Rosemary is an extremely heat tolerant shrub and can withstand fairly low temperatures.
The evergreen shrubs don’t even seem to mind minimal snow coverage for short amounts of time (if the temperature is 30 degrees Fahrenheit or less during the winter the plants should be moved indoors).
Rosemary grows well outdoors when planted in a plant hardiness zone of 7 or warmer.
Rosemary will also root fairly easily from cuttings, which is how I’ve acquired several of my plants.
Rosemary Grows Well Indoors
When planted in a container, rosemary can spend part of the year outside before being moved inside for the winter (this is ideal if you live in zone 8 or lower).
Use well-draining, sandy soil and water infrequently — the soil should be completely dry before watering.
Place rosemary in a south-facing window and allow for six to eight hours of direct sunlight or natural light each day.
Here are some tips for keeping rosemary indoors.
Rosemary is Drought Resistant
This is one plant you don’t need to worry about under watering!
Rosemary grows wild in very warm, arid areas of the world — Greece, North Africa, and Southern France to name just a few!
Fans of this resinous herb believe rosemary that has been grown in extremely dry soil has the best flavor.
Rosemary should only be watered when the soil is completely dry, be careful not to over water as this can cause root rot.
Rosemary Attracts Pollinators
Rosemary has beautiful blue and purple flowers which attract a variety of welcome pollinators.
Depending on where you live, you can expect to see flower bees, bumblebees, honeybees, and mason bees. If you’ve ever tried rosemary honey you’ll appreciate the influx of pollinators in your garden!
To recreate the taste of rosemary honey without the beekeeping equipment you can follow my instructions on How to Make Infused Honey.
Related: 12 Common Flowers to Plant for the Bees (that are good for us too!)
Rosemary Makes the Perfect Cocktail Ingredient
A sprig of rosemary or a drizzle of rosemary simple syrup will elevate a wide array of specialty cocktails.
I especially love the combination of rosemary and gin, the pine and eucalyptus flavor of the rosemary is a natural pairing for the clove and juniper berry taste of the gin.
My recipe for a Pomegranate Martini with Rosemary Honey Syrup captures the essence of this partnership perfectly.
Not a gin fan? Try my Rosemary Champagne Cocktail with orange (you can substitute any other dry sparkling wine or sparkling water for a mocktail).
If I’m serving a rosemary or citrus-based cocktail I always like to crush some fresh rosemary in my hand and wipe it around the rim of the glass for an added sensory experience.
For a non-alcoholic probiotic drink, try this Winter Herb Kvass with rosemary.
Rosemary is Delicious in Food and Baked Goods
Dried and fresh rosemary is a commonly used ingredient in cooking, but did you know it can be used in both sweet and savory baking recipes?
As someone who appreciates freshly baked bread, this recipe for Crusty Roasted Garlic Garlic and Rosemary Bread hits all the right flavor notes.
You could also add in some rosemary to some No Knead Sourdough Bread or this amazing Sourdough Focaccia Bread.
Serve these Roasted Olives with Rosemary on the side and you have an amazing appetizer!
Rosemary isn’t only for savory dishes, it’s equally impressive when used in my recipe Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Shortbread (and it adds a gorgeous decorative touch).
Rosemary is a Digestive Aid
Rosemary is a well-known digestive aid and helps with a wide variety of stomach ailments.
Specifically, drinking soothing rosemary tea (such as this Mint Rosemary and Maple Tea) can help with bloating, gas, or recovery after a stomach bug.
Rosemary contains carnosic acid, a type of chemical compound associated with healthy microflora and improved gut health.
Rosemary Stimulates Hair Growth
Rosemary, like peppermint, is often used in hair products because of its scalp-stimulating properties, and because both herbs smell incredibly invigorating, especially when combined!
Rosemary essential oil is also used to prevent and treat dandruff, slow down premature graying, and to remedy itchy or dry scalp.
For healthy hair that smells amazing you can try making my Rosemary Pine Beard Balm or Homemade Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bars.
Bearded people can also try this Rosemary Beard Oil to soften and condition.
Rosemary has Anti-inflammatory Properties
Rosemary is often used in commercial salves and balms for aching muscles and with good reason: it’s believed that compounds found in rosemary help to alleviate tissue inflammation.
Whether you have regular aches and pains or you experience stiffness and swelling from arthritis, my customizable recipe for Herbal Salve is ideal for massages and self-care.
It is also used for easing headaches and migraines, as well as being great for the circulatory system.
Rosemary is Calming and Improves Brain Health
The scent of rosemary is often used in diffusers and beauty products to instill a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Rosemary oil has powerful aromatherapy properties in addition to its relaxing effects, it’s also known for promoting mental alertness, stress relief, and concentration.
When rosemary essential oil is added to a carrier oil such as coconut oil it can be rubbed on the temples to help soothe headaches and promote feelings of calm.
More Herb Guides
Learn 10 reasons to grow all of these common herbs in your garden!
I hope this post inspires you to grow rosemary in your garden! It is an amazing plant with so many benefits—definitely one of my favorites to have growing!
Can one use rosemary for the treatment of kidneys?
Grow Forage Cook Ferment says
Hi Malesela. Yes, rosemary tea is often used for kidney support.
Susan Everett Breton says
A very long time ago, when my daughter was growing up, we didn’t have much money for food, let alone medicine. I loved herbs and natural cures even then, and had read several places that pine needles contained vitamins A and C and Rosemary was great for helping relieve colds. I think Michelle was 6 at the time, and she helped me gather pine needles and rosemary from our back yard. I made these into a tea, added local honey, and we would drink this together for several days, about 4-5 times a day. Her cold healed in that time period and I didn’t get a cold. Her coughs were controlled and stopped in 2-3 days, along with other symptoms. She is 44 now and I’m 65. I’ve got use that remedy again.
Grow Forage Cook Ferment says
Thanks for sharing, Susan. Rosemary is magical!
My rosemary plant stays right beside me by the computer in a west window. I’ve never had it flower. It gets watered once a week and sprayed down in the sink. That seems to encourage it. In the past I’ve had other Rosemarys outside and they seemed to get buggy so I’ve protected this one even though it would probably enjoy being outside.
Have only made Rosemary chicken. (Yum) Would like to make bread.
Has anyone tried frying Rosemary and using it in a buttered Parmesan pasta dish? One of my favorite pasta recipes is Fried Garbanzo Beans and Rosemary Pasta. It’s a sure winner!
Sharon D says
Can you please send me this recipe
Michelle Scott says
I have a corner of a couch that my kitties like to scratch. I put some rosemary sprigs around it & they soon lost interest. Plus it made the house smell great!
If you add a bundle into your campfire, the mosquitos disappear
I brought a Rosemary plant in at the beginning of Fall a few years ago. It didn’t last the whole winter but it really made the room smell wonderful when I vacuumed it up as it dried up.
Pat Stoughton says
Bought Rosemary. Planted it. I think something peed on it. Rosemary died.
Bought 2nd Rosemary plant. I brought it in for the winter. It did not survive. Rosemary II died.
So what in the world do I do? How to grow Rosemary.
We live in South Georgia where it’s usually really wet or really dry. We planted Rosemary 3 yrs ago & it’s lived beautifuly! The first year it was dry & really hot so I made sure to water it once or twice a week. In the winter it can get in the 20s. When it got really cold I covered it with a sheet & removed it as the day got warmer.
I also live in South Georgia. I have two rosemary plants in containers. I am spare on watering them because I read that they don’t like wet feet. I hardly have to do anything to them. I love having rosemary. I think I will try to propogate them, too, now that I have read how to do it!
Hi I’m R from. South Africa.i planted my Rosmarybush a month ago it looks like its coping first one died .
Where are you buying your plants? I had the same issue until I went to a local nursery who grow their own plants.
I bought one at stodels.thumbs up
Mindy Meyerss says
We live in Juneau Alaska, had a hard time keeping rosemary through the winter until we got grow lights and also spritz the rosemary every day. We put the rosemary outside in spring. We have had 3-4 rosemary plants for 3-4 years.
I use rosemary in all my daily cooking even some times i drink rosemary tea i love it
Briget Bride says
I put rosemary, garlic, ginger, and orange zest in a togo mug and add hot water all day. A savoury alternative to teas.
Michelle Scott says
Great idea! I’m going to try this
Hello Coleen.. :-)
Thanks for your wonderfully generous sharing re all things herbal.
My BP tends towards borderline hypertension. I’m not medicated but do need to keep an eye out for it. I’ve read somewhere that Rosemary increases BP, and would appreciate your input re that .. Thank you for all that you do .. Many blessings to you,
Grow Forage Cook Ferment says
Rosemary does raise blood pressure, so I would not take rosemary in high doses if you have high BP.
i have a small pot of rosemary, under my children’s bedroom.We live in Indonesia where the sun is so hot. In the peak of the heat, the rosemary spread it’s perfume in the air! iwas so amazed! the fragrance gives me a warm feeling..wonderful!
I love rosemary with strawberry &orange infused water.
oh ,yes , I also do a Rosemary chicken .rosemary roasted red potatoes.In the fall I take several branches and place them in a freezer bag ,place them in the freezer use them in the winter months .can’t get enough of Rosemary .best stuff G-d ever made :) * my opinion only :)
Rosemary is my all time favorite herb besides Lavender. I make Rosemary bread with a bit of avacado and homemade butter and .sea salt toasted for breakfast .its to die for :)
Patricia Burton says
Thanks for the post of its many uses…. I have a rosemary plant with blooms…i love it! I also cook and barbeque with its branches. It is a staple in my holiday turkey!
gates of vienna says
There was a recent newspaper report about a town in Italy in which rosemary is used in many of their foods, all the time. Health investigators are hypothesizing that rosemary is the reason for the longevity of its citizens. Couldn’t find the URL…
Rosemary is a must have in any of my gardens! I “borrowed” a cutting many years ago and it has been serving me, my family and friends well for many years! Its worth giving growing your own rosemary a go
I love rosemary, I have some in my garden, it took a while to get established, we either have wet humid or hot dry weather for long periods, and neither is great for rosemary, but I’m happy to say its doing well at the moment. I’m yet to see it flower though. I use it regularly in cooking and add to herbal tea mixes. Thanks for sharing your experience :)
Don Cochrane says
– you’re talking here about Rose Mary ( as opposed to Mary Jane. haha ).
– long before i studied cooking ( when Ann left and i had to learn to feed George ), i was already cooking with Rosemary: i was cooking chicken with Rosemary and lemon.
– now you can show me more respect after this. d.
Mk Johnson says
It’s original name was Rosemarine, for the color of the flowers. When we lived in a milder climate we had an ancient rosemary bush in the back yard (the main trunk was almost 4 inches in diameter!) We used to cut off green branches and put over the coals for a hot smoke when we did a barbecue- the flavor was amazing on chicken!
Robin Jozovich says
This post was lovely in every way! Don uses Rosemary in salmon recipe…with butter and lemon juice and wrapped in foil…yum!