By Jennifer Poindexter
When you think of the word ‘herb’ which one comes to mind?
For me, it’s rosemary. This gorgeous herb is full of lush foliage and packs a delicious flavor, too. Would you like to have more rosemary on hand without purchasing it?
You’re in luck because rosemary can be a great herb to grow indoors, so you can enjoy it throughout the year. I’ll be upfront in telling you that rosemary isn’t as simple to grow indoors as other herbs.
However, with a little practice, you might find that this herb is exactly what you’ve been looking for to add to your indoor herb garden.
Here’s everything you should know to grow rosemary inside your home:
What You Might Need to Grow Rosemary Indoors
When growing rosemary you might need a few things to help you develop a proper growing set-up. The first item is a grow light. You can also use LED lights.
If you don’t have a sunny enough location in your home, the rosemary might need to have its lighting needs supplemented with a grow light.
In this case, ensure you have a place where the plant can sit on a flat surface and have the light hung above it.
You could hang a shelf over a table or invest in a wire pantry rack. The only other items you’ll need when growing this plant is a well-draining planter and a spray bottle.
Choosing the right planter will make all the difference in your growing experience, and the spray bottle is to help produce adequate humidity surrounding the plant.
If you’re choosing to grow rosemary indoors, it’s a great idea to ensure you can create the best growing conditions in your home before you become too deeply invested.
Growing Conditions for Indoor Rosemary
Rosemary is a gorgeous herb and is considered a perennial in planting zones seven through ten. What makes it even more wonderful is that it keeps its gorgeous green color year-round.
If you’d love to have this beautiful herb decorating your home, you’ll need to provide a proper growing space. The main things rosemary needs are adequate sunlight, a proper growing container, proper soil, and adequate temperatures.
Rosemary needs approximately eight hours of sunlight per day. If you don’t have a sunny location in your home which can provide all, or some, of this sunlight you can grow the herb under grow lights.
They can be used full-time or to supplement the lighting your growing area can’t provide. Keep in mind, when using grow lights, your plant needs double the time under them.
For every hour of sunlight you’re supplementing, your plant needs two hours under the lighting. If you’re growing the herb full-time under the grow lights, instead of eight hours of sunlight, it will need sixteen hours under the lights.
Once you have the lighting correct, it’s time to discuss the container and soil. Pick a container which has an adequate drainage hole. The soil should drain quickly as well.
It’s recommended that you choose a sandy or loamy type soil because of how quickly it drains. Rosemary doesn’t enjoy having wet roots.
The plant actually takes in its moisture through the foliage. Having soil which can remove water from the roots quickly is ideal.
Finally, rosemary must be grown in temperatures ranging from 50- to 80-degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure you place the rosemary away from heating elements or drafty areas which would cause temperatures to fluctuate outside of this range.
By providing these basic needs in a growing location, you’re giving your rosemary the greatest chance to thrive inside your home.
How to Plant Rosemary Indoors
There are multiple ways to grow rosemary inside your home. You can bring in a mature plant you have growing outdoors, take a cutting from a mature outdoor plant and create a new plant, or grow rosemary from seed.
Growing rosemary from seed is probably the most complicated, with the least amount of return, out of these options. However, I’m going to cover them all and let you decide which method is your preference.
Let’s begin with the easier methods of growing rosemary. The first way is to grow this herb from a cutting.
Use scissors to remove a piece of a mature plant. Leave at least an inch or two at the base of the plant, so the foliage can regrow.
Your cutting should be around six inches long. Remove the foliage from the bottom of the cutting and place it in a glass of water.
The idea is for the cutting to be submerged in water at the bottom. The rest of it should be sticking out of the container.
Over the next month or so, the cutting should form roots. When you see this occurring, transplant the cutting into a container with well-draining soil.
Another easy method of growing rosemary indoors is to bring a mature plant inside. Pick a cooler time of the day for transplant, and water the plant a few hours before transplanting.
Dig the rosemary out of the ground, ensuring that you remove the root system as well. Transplant into a well-draining container with quality soil.
Move the plant to a shaded location beneath a tree. Continue to water the plant and leave it there for three to four days.
After this resting period, move the plant to an even more shaded area for another three days. You could place the plant under a carport or a covered porch.
At the end of the three days, bring the plant indoors and care for it as any indoor rosemary plant should be.
A great way to help your rosemary plant acclimate, once it’s indoors, is to place a plastic bag around it. This helps form a small greenhouse.
This will help the plant retain moisture better and keep adequate humidity levels around the plant while it gets used to being indoors.
The final, and most difficult way, to grow rosemary is from seed. The reason growing rosemary from seed is so difficult is because the seed is known for its poor germination rate.
Begin by filling your planter with loamy, well-draining soil. Plant four to five seeds in a circular growing container. If you’re growing rosemary in an elongated container, you’ll want to plant even more.
Plant them around ¼ inch deep in the soil. Cover the seeds lightly with dirt and wrap the container with plastic wrap to help retain moisture. It creates a greenhouse effect.
The seeds should grow in a warm location as well. You can also place your containers on a grow mat to ensure the seeds are receiving enough heat.
Once the seeds sprout, it’s time to add light. You can place the plants in a sunny location or under a grow light.
Don’t be disappointed if you have a low germination rate. This is why you planted so many seeds in the beginning.
After the seedlings are starting to grow, decide which plants are the strongest. Use scissors to cut the others off at soil-level. If you’re using a round container, you’ll only need one plant per container.
Regardless of the method you use to grow rosemary, make sure you always keep rocks in the drainage pan of your planter.
Rosemary wants to maintain dry roots. By placing rocks in the drainage pan, it ensures the plant is never left sitting in water.
You now have three different methods for how you can begin growing rosemary indoors. It’s now time to learn how to care for your plants properly.
Caring for Rosemary Indoors
Rosemary plants have specific needs which must be met for this plant to thrive indoors. The herbs need water, humidity, fertilizer, proper airflow, and should be transplanted when needed.
Use the deep watering method when caring for rosemary. Place the plant in your kitchen sink and apply water until it’s running out of the base of the container.
Leave the plant in the sink to finish draining prior to placing it back in its growing location. When the soil appears dry, stick your finger into it next to the plant.
If the soil is dry to the first knuckle, it’s time for another watering session. If not, hold off until another day.
Rosemary should be fertilized from spring through fall. Use an all-purpose fertilizer and apply it one time per month.
Some gardeners may not realize that rosemary can become a larger plant. Some grow to be as tall as four feet in height.
When growing the herb indoors, you may not want a plant this big. Don’t get concerned. Instead, when the plant begins to outgrow it’s growing container, transplant it.
At the time of transplant, trim the roots of the plant down by a third of their original size. Add fresh soil and plant it in a new container.
It’s also wise to grow rosemary in a room that has a fan because this helps to increase airflow around the plant. This herb is susceptible to fungal diseases, and this can help keep them at bay.
The final thing you must do when caring for rosemary is provide some humidity. You must keep a balance because if you provide too much humidity, you increase the plant’s chance of contracting powdery mildew.
Therefore, you should avoid growing rosemary in naturally humid rooms of your home, such as a bathroom.
Yet, you should keep a spray bottle of water on hand to spritz the plant with it one time per week. This will help keep the humidity levels where they need to be.
Rosemary isn’t the easiest herb to care for but, with a little practice, you could become great at maintaining balance when providing for the plant.
Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact Rosemary Indoors
There are a few pests and diseases you must be aware of when growing rosemary indoors. The pests which most commonly impact rosemary in an indoor setting are aphids and whiteflies.
The good news is they’re easy to treat. If you see signs of either pest, spray the plant with an insecticidal soap.
Powdery mildew is the main disease known for impacting rosemary in an indoor setting. You can deter this disease by having adequate airflow around the plant and avoiding too much humidity.
You can also treat the plant with a fungicide as a preventative and to help cure any signs of the disease on your plant.
Stay aware of these potential problems and, even if your plants become impacted by them, you should be able to treat the issues before major damage occurs.
How to Harvest Rosemary
Don’t harvest your rosemary plants until they’re well-established. Once they’re mature and thriving, you can harvest at any time.
The more frequently you harvest, the healthier the plant should become. Use scissors to cut sprigs of the plant which are two to three inches long.
Don’t cut too closely to the soil, or the plant won’t be able to grow back. When your harvest is complete, you can use the herb fresh or dry it for later use.
You’ve now grown rosemary from start to finish. This herb does require more care than some other common herbs.
However, the extra work is worth it when you consider the delicious flavor the plant provides. If you need a gorgeous herb to decorate your home, and one that you might cook with regularly, consider adding rosemary to your indoor herb garden.