Growing rosemary in the garden and in pots

The rosemary is one of the most widely used aromatic in Spain. Perhaps it is because of its autochthonous origin or because the properties in popular medicine prove it.

Its content in active principles is very complete. Its essential oils are widely used for their properties in addition to their culinary use.

A complete crop, complementary to the aromatic garden and very, very easy to maintain.

SOME DATA ON THE ORIGIN OF ROSEMARY

Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis ) “belongs to us” unlike many other crops and plants that have been introduced and adapted.

Rosemary has its origin in practically the entire Mediterranean basin and areas near the Black Sea. Currently its natural distribution covers the Mediterranean basin.

It belongs to the lamiaceae family such as marjoram , basil or mint .

We already talked about Pío Font Quer and his book on medicinal plants .

In it he also tells us about the etymological origin of the word rosemary and mentions that it may come from «ros» «marinus», (from the Latin sea spray), or from the Greek rhos : bush, and myrinus : aromatic, this second option being the most accepted .

USES AND PROPERTIES OF ROSEMARY

GASTRONOMIC USE

Rosemary is an aromatic herb that has a strong but pleasant aroma. Its use has been and is a great condiment for many dishes such as stews, rice, legumes and grills of meat, fish, etc.

As it has a powerful aroma, it is always recommended not to add too much because it can mask the flavors of the main component of the dish.

It is also widely used to make olive oil or vinegar flavored with rosemary, leaving one or two fresh shoots to marinate for a while.

USE AS A MEDICINAL PLANT

Rosemary has a large amount of active principles, especially in its essential oil (1-2%), which has a large amount of organic components from the group of terpenoids .

Among them is cineole (the most abundant), borneol and camphor, which are the 3 most abundant within the essential oil.

1.8 cineole is also known as eucalyptus oil because it is very abundant in trees of this species. It also contains a high content of tannins.

It has been used and is used for its diuretic properties, as a tonic, antispasmodic if taken as an infusion. (the taste of the infusion is very bitter).

The essential oil is used for muscle aches, rheumatic disorders for its anti-inflammatory effect. Other properties are antiseptic, healing and disinfectant.

Consulting various bibliographic sources, there are many differences in the concentrations of the major compounds.

It is usually normal that in many of the medicinal plants, the concentrations of active principles vary greatly depending on the soil and climate conditions, hence the differences.

Interestingly, in the case of rosemary, the highest concentration of active principles occurs in limestone, poor and light soils .

Although rosemary can grow in more humid and less light soils, its concentration in oils and other compounds will be lower.

USES OF ROSEMARY IN THE GARDEN

The culinary and medicinal use is known to many, but do we know the benefits of rosemary in the garden ?

Let’s do a little summary:

  • It can be an effective windbreak, it is used a lot as a hedge, so we can delimit the boundaries of the plot with rosemary or a piece near the garden as a windbreak
  • Its flowers attract pollinating insects , an aspect that will come in handy to increase natural pollinations in the garden (courgettes, tomatoes …) and therefore improve productivity. In addition, the flowering period is very wide (from February to November), it can even be throughout the year in some cases.
  • Due to its ease of cultivation (as we will now see) it is incredibly easy to maintain in the orchard or aromatic garden.

CULTIVATION AND MAIN CARE OF ROSEMARY IN THE GARDEN

PLANTING AND FIRST CARE

At the time of planting and multiplying it we can do it, either  vegetatively  or by seeds, although the second method is not allowed to be used for a long germination time that they need.

In the first way, stakes of between 10 and 15 cm are selected in late summer or early autumn and placed in a pot, with medium-humid substrate and at a good temperature.

If we see problems in rooting, we can look for a rooting product that is found in many nurseries and stores in the sector. In about 2 months they are ready to transplant to the field.

It is advisable to protect the plant in its early stages of development from winter colds if they are very hard (frequent frosts) with plastics etc.

Aromatic Seeds – Rosemary – Batlle

  • Use: It is used as an aromatic and can be taken as an infusion with good digestive properties. Also used in rockery and border gardens
  • Sowing: From March to May in the seedbed when the plants are about 10 cm high, transplant about 60 cm apart
  • Harvest: from 40 Days

CLIMATE AND SUN EXPOSURE

It is an indisputably Mediterranean plant so the climate it needs will be Mediterranean. It withstands high temperatures and sun exposure very well, although above 35 ºC it stops its growth.

In any case, it is a plant that is very resistant to cold as well, so if it acclimatizes little by little, it can be maintained even with snowfalls and winter frosts (its base temperature for growth is 2 ºC). We can find rosemary in cold mountains but they are already acclimatized.

If we buy or cut a small plant and immediately give it a bath of frost and snowfall, it will not hold.

It is therefore advisable to protect them from the cold.

SOIL, IRRIGATION AND FERTILIZER

When planting it in your garden, take care that the soil has  good drainage conditions , and is moderately dry (it is tolerant to drought and strengthens its roots).

Its pH is around 6 and 7.5 , if we talk about optimal pH, but it ranges from 5 to 9. Come on, we will not have problems regarding the acidity or alkalinity of our soil.

By the way, if you have any questions regarding the pH of some vegetables in your garden,  you can solve them in our article on the pH of the plants. 

It withstands drought, grows in limestone soils even poor in organic matter, although contributions of compost will improve its development significantly.

If we grow it near the orchard, the quality of the soil will undoubtedly be better so that the exuberance of the hedge will be greater and therefore the work can lead to control and pruning actions to avoid its excessive spread.

The watering should be light .

It is necessary that there be periods of dry soil between waterings . Withstands drought well. Do not confuse endure with adequate. If the pertinent risks are made it will have a better development.

COLLECTION AND CONSERVATION

Being a perennial plant we can collect rosemary depending on the needs. If you want to dry, it is better to do it in summer, hanging the bouquets in a cool and dry dark place without exceeding temperatures of 35 ºC.

When they are completely dry, the leaves are detached from the stems and stored in airtight jars.

Fresh leaves can also be frozen in zip-lock plastic bags for up to 6 months.

As we can see, rosemary may be one of the easiest aromatic plants to grow in a multitude of climates and soils, so there is no reason not to try its cultivation.

It also lends itself very well to growing in pots, planters and balconies.

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

Ryan Heagle

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

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