When To Plant Rosemary: What You Need To Know

If you’re considering buying rosemary but don’t know when it should be planted, then you’ve come to the right place. Plants like to be planted at different times of the year, and rosemary is no exception. There are a few options when planting rosemary, but really, planting during springtime is best.

In short, spring is when rosemary grows best, so this is the season it should be planted. But, we’ll go more in depth with that later including whether you can plant rosemary at other times of year.

And don’t forget, it’s not enough just to know when to plant rosemary. You need to know how to take care of it, too. We’ll cover all of that here too.

Keep reading for all of this with our full explanation of when to plant rosemary inside and outside as well as the best time to harvest rosemary.

Why Grow Rosemary?

Rosemary is one of the best plants to add to your garden because it has lots of benefits. Unlike some plants that are just nice to look at, rosemary has practical purposes too. Still, rosemary is a very beautiful plant and it will spice up any garden.

Appearance

Rosemary is a spectacular plant to add to your garden if you’re looking to fill up space. It’s a large plant that can grow up to 6-8 feet tall and wide. There are all kinds of rosemary plants though, and not all are the same. Some grow taller than they are wide, and others grow wider than they are tall.

Some rosemary shrubs can be used as large hedges that can be sculpted and used almost like fences. Others only grow a foot off the ground but spread out, almost like ivy. The different kinds of rosemary even come in all different colors or green, so there is undoubtedly a rosemary plant to match every preference. Even better, most rosemary plants bloom flowers in the spring!

But, maybe you don’t care so much about the plant’s aesthetic appeal and are more interested in what it can provide you. Like most herbs, rosemary is a very useful plant.

when to plant rosemary
Rosemary leaves

Cooking

Rosemary is used in all kinds of dishes. Professional and amateur cooks all over love to cook with rosemary. It can be used in roasts, soups, and sauces. It can even be frozen or dried to be stored for later use.

Most cooks will tell you that buying fresh herbs all the time can get quite expensive. Why then would you want to purchase fresh rosemary when you could grow it yourself? Some people don’t like to grow their own herbs because it takes extra time and effort, but for many people, it’s well worth it.

Just keep in mind that you can’t harvest rosemary off a plant that is under a year old. If you do this, you can damage the plant and prevent it from growing properly in the future. However, if you’re willing to be patient, a full-grown rosemary plant can provide you with fresh herbs for over 10 years.

Even better yet, rosemary is a perennial herb meaning that it can be harvested anytime during the year. It’s recommended to harvest during the spring and summer when the plant grows the most, but it isn’t necessary. Some people will harvest all the rosemary they want during spring and will freeze it for later. Others will simply clip sprigs off as they need them throughout the year.

Besides looking nice and being a tasty herb for cooking, rosemary has even more uses. It has been used for years in medicine.

Medicine

There are a few minor ailments that rosemary can help you with. It can relieve symptoms of anxiety, mild joint pain, stomach upset, and memory improvement.

You may notice some improvements just by using rosemary to cook with. Still, others will use rosemary as incense, and others will use it as essential oil. Although most people purchase these products, you can make them with your own recipes and rosemary.

When To Plant Rosemary Outside & Inside

The answer to when to plant rosemary seeds, cuttings, or juvenile plants is spring time. Spring and summer is when rosemary grows the most, so it makes sense that it should be planted during the spring.

Rosemary is a plant native to the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is most acclimated to warm and dry climates. This is why it grows better during spring and summer.

Although rosemary is cold tolerant to an extent, it doesn’t handle the stress of frost well. You should never plant your rosemary plants until you’re sure that the last frost of the season is over.

Of course, if you live in a climate that is warm year-round, you can certainly plant your rosemary at any time during the year. The same goes for rosemary plants grown indoors. Still, they’ll do better when planted in the spring, regardless.

Can You Plant Rosemary At Other Times Of The Year?

Technically, it’s possible to plant rosemary at other times during the year, but it’s not recommended. Summer and winter temperatures are too extreme for the plant to really take off well. Depending on what region you live in, winter temperatures might be so low as to kill your new plant.

Read more about how rosemary copes in winter here.

Moderate temperatures like that of spring and fall are much better suited for a newly planted rosemary plant to grow.

Although spring is preferable, fall is also a suitable time to plant your rosemary shrub. Fall has moderate temperatures similar to spring, and there is usually adequate rainfall as well. These conditions are good for helping your rosemary plant become well established.

Some people even argue that planting in fall is better than planting in the spring. This is because, in the fall, the rosemary shrub has started to become woodier. While this may seem counterproductive, it can help the plant remain sturdier and help its roots get a better hold of the soil.

The only problem with planting in the fall is that the plant has already begun to slow down. It’s not growing nearly as much because it’s preparing for the colder temperatures ahead. This is particularly true of regions in the USDA hardiness zones of 8 and 9 where your rosemary plant is likely to go dormant over winter.

Overall, expert botanists and gardeners alike agree that spring is the best time to grow rosemary.

how fast does rosemary grow
Rosemary

How Long Does Rosemary Take To Grow?

How long it takes rosemary to grow depends on what life stage you’re at.

If you’re growing from seeds, it will take about 2-3 weeks for the seeds to sprout.

If you’re propagating from clippings, it can take 2-8 weeks for new roots to appear. Roots will appear sooner if you use rooting hormone, and will appear more slowly if left to their own devices.

After 2 years, you will begin to notice blooming flowers during the springtime.

The exact time frame for a rosemary plant to become mature isn’t known, but it is thought to take several years.

Tips For Planting Rosemary

Rosemary is a very easy plant to grow and care for. Still, it has its own preferences. As long as you follow our tips, you’ll have a healthy rosemary plant for 10+ years.

Here’s a quick guide on how to care for your rosemary plant:

SunlightSoil TemperatureAir TemperatureWaterSoilSpacingHumidity
6-8 Hours Of Full Sun65+°F65-80°FSparinglySandy, well-draining
pH 6-7.5
2-3 feetModerate
IDEAL GROWING CONDITIONS OF ROSEMARY

For tips on what other plants you can grow alongside your rosemary, check out this article.

When To Harvest Rosemary

Similar to planting rosemary, it’s best to harvest rosemary during the spring and summer. This is because — you guessed it — this is when the plant grows the most.

Rosemary is a perennial plant, so it continues to grow throughout the year. That is, except during winter when it goes dormant. Because it’s always growing, you can harvest it at any time. However, the plant will have most of its new growth during spring and summer. This is when the plant is healthiest and the leaves will taste the best.

Will Rosemary Survive Winter?

Rosemary is a very cold tolerant plant and can survive in temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, it doesn’t handle frost well, and it needs some protection if it’s going to be experiencing very cold temperatures.

For temperatures under 10 degrees — USDA zones 7 and under — the rosemary plant needs to be brought inside over winter or they won’t survive.

To learn more about how to protect your plant over winter, check out my full guide.

Final Words

Technically, rosemary can be planted at any time of year because it’s a perennial plant. Still, the best time of year to plant will always be spring.

Spring is simply when rosemary is at its healthiest. This is when it grows the most, and you will see lots of new growth appearing on the stems. It also gives the plant plenty of time to establish itself before the oncoming winter.

If you’re thinking about adding rosemary to your garden this spring, you’ll want to start planning now!

Want to learn more? Click here to learn more about where to plant rosemary or here to learn how to grow rosemary from cuttings. You can also find all our guides to growing rosemary here or find the best growing conditions here