10 Neat Things About Rosemary
by Dorothy Dobbie
by Dorothy Dobbie

The Local Gardener magazines, Ontario Gardener, Manitoba Gardener and Alberta Gardener, are published by Pegasus Publications Inc.

Drawing on her 30 years' experience as a senior executive in the magazine publishing industry, Dorothy launched Manitoba Gardener in 1998, initially running the business out of her home. Two years later, Dorothy's daughter Shauna, living in Ontario, jumped into the fray with Ontario Gardener. And two years after that, they started Alberta Gardener. Visit us at and register for our "Ten Neat things" newsletter. Watch Shaw TV for garden tips and Listen to CJOB for the Gardener Sundays at 9:08

December 24, 2017

1. All I need is light.

To overwinter rosemary, you need to give it light to live; these are Mediterranean plants. Many rosemarys die in the dark months because they simply don't get enough sunlight and they starve to death because they can't photosynthesize or use the nutrients from the soil you gave them. They need five to six hours of sunlight a day to survive. Put your plant in the sunniest south-facing window you have.

2. Look to the leaf.

Leaves can tell you many things. The grey colour of rosemary attests to the fact that this is a plant that needs plenty of direct sunlight. Rosemary leaves that appear dull and lackluster indicate that the plant probably needs water. Healthy rosemary leaves have a dull sheen.

3. More on those amazing leaves.

Just a few rosemary leaves can provide you with the total amount of vitamin A needed in a day. They are also full of vitamins C and the B.

4. Don't drown me.

While you should not let rosemary dry out completely, don't over-water. Good drainage is essential, so water your plant in the sink and let the water run through; then leave it there until it stops dripping. Add sand to the mix of soil you use for potting up rosemary and reduce the amount of peat (if any) used. Compost is fine. Rosemary prefers an alkaline soil and peat based mixes tend to be more acidic than the plant likes.

5. No fertilizer needed.

Rosemary is a tough little plant and can fend for itself if given water that drains well and plenty of light. It really doesn't need fertilizer. If you can't resist adding a tonic, give it a dose of seaweed tea in springtime.

6. Making little rosemarys.

Propagation is quite easy and simple. Just stick a soft tissue cutting in soil. To hurry up the process, strip off the bottom few leaves and touch the tip up with rooting hormone. You can also layer rosemary to get new plants.

7. Keeping witches at bay.

A few sprigs of rosemary on your doorstep should keep witches away. If you are troubled by nightmares, put a sprig under your pillow.

8. When rosemary grows up.

In her natural setting, upright rosemary can become quite a robust plant, growing about five feet tall and even taller when supremely happy. There is also a prostrate, trailing variety. She gets little blue, lavender, pink or white flowers that really show off her charms to the best advantage.

9. Rosemary's companions.

She's a wizard in the kitchen, pairing up very naturally with lamb, but also with chicken and potatoes and carrots. Rosemary adds a real sparkle to spaghetti sauces.

10. Lest we forget.

Rosemary is the herb of remembrance and has been studied for use in treating Alzheimer's. Carnosic acid in rosemary fights off free radical damage to the brain

Dorothy Dobbie Copyright© Pegasus Publications Inc.

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row