Light Side of Health

Best Practices For Growing Rosemary + Shopping List

Growing your own herbs is such a fun process. It does take a little bit (more like a lot) of patience, but it’s so rewarding and produces such a great harvest in more ways than one.

Rosemary takes the simplest meals and mocktails and transforms them into delicious masterpieces. This assertive herb complements many meat and seafood dishes and is the winning ingredient in many soups, sauces, and even veggie side dishes. You won’t regret keeping this one on hand.

Below, I’ve put together some of the best practices to grow your own Rosemary plants indoors and outdoors. And I would love it if you shared your own best tips and tricks for growing rosemary in the comments below. Also, feel free to drop your questions in the comments or email me at [email protected].

This herb takes time to grow, but it is so worth the wait. Some of the best-tasting herbs will be the ones you grow yourself. In the meantime, you can start playing around with some of our rosemary recipes by using rosemary sprigs you pick up at your local grocery store or farmer’s market!

Tips For Growing Indoors

It is ideal to plant seeds in a biodegradable starter pot or container, a small pot where they can germinate and take root.

You will also want to use good potting soil. For example, a sandy cactus soil works best for rosemary, but if you don’t know which one to use, it would be best to consult your local nursery or growing expert to help you decide which is the best soil for your needs.

Add whatever soil you decide to go with to your starter pots and place your rosemary seeds about one-half inch apart on the top of the soil. Now you can press the seeds down gently, but do NOT cover them with the dirt, as the seeds only need to come into contact with it and not be buried.

*** I use the Rosemary Kit from our site and just use the whole packet with one to three small starter pots (depending on the size of the pots.)  Rosemary seeds are infamous for being a little tougher to germinate, and not all seeds will make it.

Find a windowsill in your apartment or house that lets in a lot of sunlight. My apartment doesn’t get much sunlight, so I got a couple of LED Grow Lights to help out. You will want to give an initial thorough but gentle watering to get the seeds to germinate. Be sure also to do this throughout the germination process. Once the seeds have started to sprout, you will regularly check the soil moisture, only lightly watering or using a spray bottle to keep the soil wet when it seems to begin drying out. It is very important rosemary germinates in a full light area with temperatures above 50 F.

Fill the pot with your good quality soil and dig out a hole where you will be transplanting the rosemary with its roots and soil in-tacked. Before transplanting, lay down some herb fertilizer in your chosen spot. I use Jobe’s Organic Herb Granular Plant Food.

When your rosemary reaches four to five inches tall or the roots begin to show on the biodegradable starter pot, you will want to transplant it into either your indoor garden pot or outdoor area. You will want a decent size pot. Ideally, the pot will be approximately eight inches. Rosemary can grow quite tall, and tall plants equal deep roots. If grown outside, it can reach up to three feet in height. In contrast, when growing rosemary indoors, you will want to keep it trimmed and manageable. You will also want to make sure the pot has good drainage.

I simply place the whole starter pot in the hole in the larger pot. The containers are biodegradable, and I love them. If you use a regular small pot, you will want to gently remove soil, root, and plant from the starter pot and place them in the holes. After each has been transplanted, you may want to secure them with a small stake or stick.

You will want to water your plants about once a week or every other week when growing rosemary indoors. Never let the soil fully dry out, but instead water again only when the top layer is dry. Rosemary is a bottom-up plant, so you should also mist it with a spray bottle. Use filtered water for optimal results.

Here are a few extra tips:

  • Don’t plant your plants next to a heater or air conditioner
  • Once the rosemary gains the second set of leaves you will want to fertilize with water at half strength
  • Fertilize once a month.
  • Try not to water your seedlings directly on top of the leaves but rather at the base, especially when they are young and fragile


Tips For Growing Outdoors

You will want to begin growing rosemary in seedling starters and follow the steps listed for about eight weeks. It is good to place your starter pots outside in the shade for seven days before fulling transplanting. Also, wait for at least two weeks after the last frost to move your potted plants outdoors. Rosemary can last for years under the right conditions. If you live in an area that gets below 30 degrees F and want to keep your rosemary going through the winter months, it is best to plant it in a well-drained large outdoor Terra Cotta pot and then move it indoors during the winter months. If you plan to sew new rosemary every year, simply plant it in a well-drained sandy-based soil part of your garden. Ensure the area receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight.


You can begin harvesting your rosemary when it reaches eight inches high. You can cut about two inches for your harvest, leaving roughly two-thirds of the plant (around six inches). However, for better management of indoor plants, it is best to harvest every time the plant gets to be about eight inches in height and never harvest more than one-third of the plant at any given time.

Preparing & Storing

If you plan on using your harvested rosemary within ten to fourteen days, simply rinse your rosemary sprigs and let them air dry on a clean towel or paper towel. Once dried, strip off the leaves and use them. You can place the leftover in a Ziploc bag or airtight Tupperware and put them in the fridge. Keep the rosemary on the sprig when using it for a garnish or in one of our mocktails.

You can also create delicious rosemary-infused olive oil by adding a few rosemary sprigs to a bottle of olive oil, which will last for a few months.   Make sure to use a colored glass bottle like amber or cobalt blue to keep the olive oil from spoiling.

Dried Rosemary

Rinse and pat dry your rosemary.

Hang bundles of fresh rosemary to dry for ten to fourteen days by tying together evenly sized stems. You will want to hang the rosemary in a dry, dark, well-ventilated area. On day ten or so, the leaves will be dry enough to strip right off of the sprig by clasping your fingers along the sides of the stems and dragging upward against the direction the leaves naturally lay.

You will then want to place the dried rosemary leaves in an air-tight container or jars. It is best to enjoy within one year of drying.

***If you intend to dry your indoor rosemary, it is best to let them grow to about ten inches or taller. Remember to allow at least six inches of the plant or two-thirds of the stem to remain.

Additional tips

  • When harvesting, never cut on the woody part of the stem.
  • Rosemary can last up to twenty years. Each Spring or one year out from planting, re-pot your rosemary in new soil.
  • Rosemary thrives well with thyme, oregano, sage, and lavender.

Pest Control

If you see pests popping up in your herb garden here are a few ways to quickly take care of it:

Garlic Water Spray

Mosquito Bits (Granular)

Neem Oil (Bonide is my favorite line)

Recommended organic sprays from your local nursery

Download our Growing Rosemary Shopping List:

Growing My Own Rosemary Shopping List

Additional Resources

Bonnie Plants How To Grow Rosemary Plants (Outside)

Famer’s Almanac Indoor Herb Gardening

Homestead Acres How to Start an Indoor Garden

Tenth Acre Farms Permaculture for The Suburbs The Secret of Keeping Rosemary Alive Indoors

Epicurious How To Dry Rosemary

Garden Therapy How to Clean Garden Pots

Farmer’s Almanac Transplanting Seedlings

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