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.
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.
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.
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!