Wintering Instructions for Rosemary

  

Let's be frank. Rosemary is a difficult plant to winter. If you live in an area where the winter temps don't go below 10 degrees Farenheight, cross your fingers and leave it in the ground. If your ground freezes, a mulch of something really airy, like evergreen boughs (recycle your Christms tree!) or straw will be a good idea. If you live somewhere where the ground doesn't freeze.....man, we're coming to spend January with you! LOL!

If, however, you live in a chilly spot like New England, you can overwinter rosemary inside IF you've kept it in a pot during the summer. (If you planted it in the ground, digging it up is going to make this MUCH more difficult - we recommend buying a new rosemary plant at your local greenhouse to winter over in the house.) Here's what you need to know:

  • During the late summer/early fall, make sure the plant is in a big enough pot - rosemary will die indoors if it is potbound. Terra cotta pots are a good choice for rosemary and other cranky plants. Use a good quality, light, well drained potting mix - ProMix is really good, if you can find it.
  • Keep rosemary in a room with bright light but cool temps (50 degrees is perfect). Yes, that 's tough to find in most modern homes , but you were warned this was a cranky plant!
  • Despite the needle-like leaves, rosemary is NOT related to the cactus family. Water when the surface of the soil dries out. If the air is really dry, it doesn't hurt to mist the foliage occasionally.
  • Don't worry much about fertilizer from November through January - light levels are too low for plants to grow much. If you'll feel better feeding your plant, use 1/2 strength fertilizer once or twice a month. Once we get to February, start feeding plants once a week.
  • Keep an eye on the roots, especially once the days start to lengthen, and if they get crowded, repot the plant pronto! Repeat after me: "Potbound rosemary dies!"

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Brian and Cindy Tibbetts
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