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An ultimate guide to growing, pruning and maintaining rosemary in the garden

An ultimate guide to growing, pruning and maintaining rosemary in the garden


Salvia rosmarinus is a perennial, evergreen, aromatic and medicinal herb that is grown both in the indoor and outdoor garden. It belongs to the mint family called Lamiaceae. It is evolutionary and naturally adapted to sandy, stony, and well-drained dry soils. It is native to the Mediterranean region.

It is a perennial herb with sticky needle-shaped leaves with small flowers of varying colors. There are 24 total cultivars of rosemary with flowers ranging from white to yellow and yellow to pink. Unlike other mint family herbs, rosemary needs lots and lots of sunshine for proper growth and development. 

Majorca Pink, Tuscan Blue, Huntington Carpet, and Golden Rain are some of the most widely grown rosemary varieties all over the world.

The first section of this article will elucidate how to grow rosemary in the garden. The second section is predefined for major factors affecting growth and development in the rosemary. The third section explains flowering in rosemary and the importance of rosemary in our daily diet. Last but not least the last section is all about frequently asked questions.  

How to grow rosemary in the garden?

Rosemary is grown both in an indoor and outdoor garden. Pot plating is also an important form of growing rosemary. The following points are crucial to follow when you consider growing rosemary in the garden:

Growing rosemary plants through seed is possible but the rate of growth and development remains too slow. So, it is considered a good gardening practice to grow the herb from cuttings taken from established plants. When good soil and environmental conditions are provided to cuttings grown in the soil they grow at a good growth rate.
Avoid growing the rosemary in the garden during the winter season because winter frost will damage the herb.
The soil in the garden and pot must be well-draining with sandy or stony soils. Rosemary hates slow-draining soils with wet conditions. 
Plant the seedlings or cuttings in such a spot where it receives plenty of sunshine. Six to eight hours of daily sunlight is always recommended for growing rosemary in the garden. 
Always maintain the soil temperature of around 21 degrees C.
The roots of the rosemary herb do not withstand wet conditions. Over-watering the herb in the garden leads to the development of various diseases in the root section such as root rot and other fungal infections. 
Over-watering is directly correlated to rosemary turning black.
Water the garden every two to three weeks during the dry and hot summer season and avoid watering during the cool rainy season and winter because the herb soaks the water from the environment.
Rosemary adores dry and hot temperature and lots and lots of sunshine.
To avoid the problem of overcrowding and the spread of various diseases consider seasonal light pruning. Light pruning must be done during the early spring season when frost conditions are over.
To maintain a bushy appearance of the rosemary in the garden consider hard pruning with the help of loppers and pruning shears.
Do not make hard and deep cuts while pruning in the garden. It gives a great deal of damage to the herb. 
Always check out for bugs such as spiders, mites, mealy bugs, mites, whiteflies, and thrips in the rosemary garden. They are primary factors for the spread of mold and other secondary diseases in the garden.
Cut off or prune disease-infected leaves and stems in the garden to avoid further infection and spread of the disease. 
Six to eight hours of daily sunlight with the fresh flow of the air reduces the probability of turning the rosemary black in the garden.
Proper row to row and column to column distance of at least 1 foot must be maintained between rosemary plants in the garden. 
Horticulturists and veteran gardeners advise not to grow the rosemary in soggy and wet soils. Rosemary is a dry soil-loving herb and can withstand dry conditions. It is drought tolerant herb. 
Unlike other herbs in the mint family, rosemary does not require fertilizers to grow and thrive. 

Follow all the above-mentioned guidelines for growing the rosemary in the garden.   

Causes of the rosemary turning black in the garden

When you grow the rosemary in the garden you probably have seen the herb turning black. Various factors play their key role in turning the rosemary black. 

The factors which cause the herb to turn black in the garden are as follow:


Over-watering is the first and most prominent factor which turns the rosemary black in the garden. It leads to the development of various fungal infections such as leaf fungal spots and root rot etc. Rosemary adores dry soil and avoids wet soils. So water the herb every 2 to 3 weeks during the hot summer season and avoid watering the herb during the cool rainy season and in winter.

Slow-draining soils: 

Rosemary is naturally and evolutionarily adapted to the high-draining soils of the Mediterranean Region. It needs sandy, stony, and high draining soils to thrive and grow. When you grow in wet and clayey soils it leads to root rot and fungal infection. So, good gardening practice involves growing the herb in well-draining soils such as sandy and stony soils.

High and frequent rainfall:

The third most probable cause of the rosemary turning black in the garden is high and frequent rainfall. Rainfall makes the soil wet and as the result turns the rosemary black.

High Humidity:

High humidity is another factor that has a direct relation with rosemary turning black in the garden. Rosemary herb is adapted to environments where it receives lots and lots of sunshine with dry soils and low humidity. The following factors influence high humidity:

Not maintaining row to row and column to column distance 
The high density of the foliage
Not performing proper pruning


Insects such as spiders, mites, whiteflies, thrips, and mealybugs are major insects’ pests of the rosemary herb. They infect the herb and spread many diseases. They usually leave behind honeydew and other substances which lead to the formation of molds. Good gardening practice involves checking for the presence of the abovementioned insects. If found prune the foliage and stems and throw them away or apply insecticide instead. 

Low light: 

 As mentioned earlier rosemary herb adores growing in areas that receive lots and lots of sunshine during the day. The growth and performance of the herb drastically reduce in shady areas. So, grow the rosemary herb in such a spot in the garden where it receives lots and lots of sunshine. 

How to avoid the rosemary turning black

To avoid the rosemary turning black in the garden consider the following major points:

Do not over-water the herb in the garden. Water the herb every 2 to 3 weeks during the hot and dry season and avoid watering in the cool and winter season.
Use high draining, sandy and stony soils.
Avoid overhead watering the herb.
Lightly prune the herb every year to maintain the herb.
Always remove or cut off insects and pests infected leaves.
Grow the herb in such a spot where it receives lots and lots of sunshine during the daytime.

Medicinal Importance of the herb

Since prehistoric time’s rosemary is beingThe author started her life’s journey by studying Physics and Theology. The thirst to know how nature worked made Levi pursue Physics and connected her to the belief system, resulting in studying Theology.

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Her entrepreneurship relates to creating products, including perfumes, skincare products, handbags and vitamins for women. Levi believes in self-care and self-love and strives to instill this motto in women of all societies and races. used as a medicinal herb to treat various ailments and disorders in our body. Following are some of the advantages of the rosemary:

When the rosemary oil in the diluted form is applied to the joints and muscles it relieves muscle cramps and arthritis in the joints.
It helps greatly in preventing premature baldness and aids in hair growth. 
When rosemary leaves are used with tea and water it helps in reducing headaches and improve digestion of essential fats. 
Rosemary herb is a great source of vitamins, numerous minerals, and antioxidants which help to fight various illnesses and boost the overall health of individuals.
Aromatherapy-Therapy by smelling leaves smoke of the rosemary and it has many advantages such as it improves brain functioning and helps us in remembering things and events for a longer period of time.
Rosemary herb is always recommended for asthma patients because it reduces the risk of asthma. Use rosemary leaves and coltsfoot leaves and make a mixture and take smoke of it. 
The herb improves heart-related conditions when a person drinks the tea or water with rosemary leaves on an occasional basis. 
The herb is very beneficial for kidney-related problems. It reduces kidney-related complications. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my rosemary turning black?

The rosemary in the garden turns black because of overwatering, overhead watering, slow-draining soils, high and frequent rainfall, high humidity, insects, and low light. These factors when left unchecked leads to the development of black rosemary with black fungal spots.

How to prune rosemary in pots and bushes? 

To prune the rosemary in the garden follow the following guidelines:

Always prune the rosemary in late spring or early summer because these are the best seasons to prune the rosemary,
The pruning equipment used for pruning must be sharp i.e. pruning shears and loppers. 
Clear all the decolorized flowers and leaves before pruning. Consider removing the dead, diseased, and infected shoots and roots or foliage in the initial stages of pruning.
Use sharp loppers to remove thicker branches.
Always remove 1/3rd of a portion of stems and leaves in case of overgrown herb. 
Wait at least six to eight weeks after initial pruning for touch-up pruning.

Does rosemary go dormant?

As mentioned in the introductory section rosemary is an evergreen perennial plant but it goes under dormant phase during the winter season where its growth and development reduces to almost zero. The dormant phase of rosemary ends with the arrival of the spring season. 

What is rosemary good for?

Rosemary is loaded with vitamins, proteins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, and antioxidants which play a huge role in boosting and maintaining our immune system. This herb is also good for good and balanced blood circulation in our bodies. 

What is the best season to cut or prune the rosemary?

According to gardeners and horticulturists, the best season to prune or cut the rosemary herb is late spring and early summer. Pruning is one of the most reliable methods to boost its growth and maintain its bushy appearance in the garden.

Does rosemary sustain frost conditions?

The minimum temperature for optimal growth and development of rosemary is 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Below this temperature rosemary growth and development gets halted. Thus, rosemary cannot sustain in frost conditions. If the weather conditions in the outside garden are too cold or too freezing then it is advised to bring it to inside the house until the frost conditions are over. 

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