I’m enjoying a pot of rosemary on my windowsill this winter. It’s an aromatic herb that is wonderful to use in the kitchen. Running my hand over the foliage to release its pungent fragrance lifts my spirits on a winter day.
Full disclosure: I have killed my share of rosemary plants since they are not hardy below 20 degrees F and need extra care for wintering indoors. And unless you live in a climate where they flourish outdoors, or you can overwinter yours in a greenhouse (lucky you), don’t expect rosemary to be long lived. But don’t let all this deter you. Rosemary plants are readily available in garden centers and I am here to share some tips for keeping yours happy for at least several years.
Rosemary hails from the Mediterranean where it thrives in sun, sandy soil, and a temperate climate. It naturally grows as a small woody shrub.
You can find rosemary plants in spring at garden centers. Many greenhouses offer rosemary plants and topiaries during the holidays too as festive, alternative evergreens. I bought the one pictured here at Chapons in Pittsburgh during the holidays. I have another one I planted in the ground outdoors in the spring. It has done so well in the full sun and well-draining soil there that I am attempting to overwinter it; I wrapped it in burlap. Fingers crossed.
Two keys for keeping rosemary happy are well-draining soil and humidity. Summer is easy—just place your pot of rosemary outdoors in the sun and pretty much forget it except during the hottest, driest days, when it appreciates watering. When fall approaches and the days start to shorten, bring your rosemary pot indoors. It’s best to bring it in before you turn on your furnace. Set the pot in a cool, sunny window that faces south or west. To provide the humid conditions that rosemary loves, place a tray of pebbles under the pot and fill it with water. Misting the plant a few times a week is also a good idea. Water about once a week, but less often if the soil stays moist.