How to Plant a Rosemary Bush

Rosemarinus officinalis is the scientific name for the rosemary bush. This evergreen woody herb produces 1-inch-long, needlelike leaves with a pinelike fragrance. Some varieties grow 6 feet in height and 4 to 5 feet wide. All rosemary bushes bloom in late winter or spring with small flowers in pale blue, pink or white. Rosemary leaves are commonly harvested and dried for use in cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Organic mulch


    • 1

      Weed an area with good-draining soil. Rosemary bushes grow best in poor, sandy soil and dry conditions. Do not locate your rosemary bush in an area with constantly wet soil, because it promotes root rot in rosemary plants. Check the light in the area to make sure that it receives 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.

    • 2

      Loosen the soil with a shovel to the depth of 12 inches. Break up the dirt clumps and remove large rocks. Dig a hole that is the same depth as the rosemary bush root ball. Tip the bush on its side and squeeze the container's sides. Gently shake the rosemary bush into the palm of your hand.

    • 3

      Place the root ball in the hole and fill the hole with soil. Pack the soil in around the root ball to hold the plant in place. If planting more than one rosemary bush, space them at least 6 inches apart, depending on the size of the variety.

    • 4

      Pour water around the base of the rosemary bush until the water soaks down to the bottom of the rosemary root ball. Keep the soil moist until new growth begins at the tip of the rosemary branches. Water only once a week once the plant is established.

    • 5

      Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the root area of the rosemary bush. Use straw, shredded bark or wood chips to reduce weed growth and excessive moisture evaporation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pinch the ends of the fresh growth to harvest the rosemary needles. Lay the branch tips out to dry and store in a dark, airtight container. Pinching the ends controls the size of the rosemary bush as well.
  • Rosemary bushes are not cold hardy and need winter protection from freezing weather. Cover with a sheet to protect the rosemary from frosts. For longer freezing spells, turn on a portable light and place it under the sheet with the bush. Move container-grown rosemary bushes into protected areas during cold weather. Rosemary bushes survive winters outside in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 8 to 10.
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