Gardening Herbs Houseplants

Keep Your Indoor Rosemary Happy

You need to give rosemary special conditions to keep it happy indoors. Source: http://www.thekitchn.com

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a popular cooking herb often grown in home gardens. It’s a half-hardy shrub and will grow outdoors year round in zones USDA 8 to 10, sometimes even in zone 7 (the cultivar ‘Arp’ is said to be hardysometimes!in zone 6). Still, gardeners in cold climates like mine have to bring it indoors for the winter … and often find it difficult to maintain.

That’s because rosemary comes from a Mediterranean climate, where summers are hot and dry and winters cool and rainy. It suffers greatly from the heat we maintain in our homes in winter. The more your conditions are like those of its place of origin, though, the better it will perform. Try moving it to that rarest of indoor locations: a cool yet brightly lit room. Night temperatures from about 38 to 50˚ F (3 to 10˚ C) are best, but 60˚ F (15˚ C) is acceptable and it can take a few degrees of frost in a pinch. If you can’t give it full sun in this frigid spot, consider adding artificial light.

Overwatering can be a problem in such a cool spot. The plant will use less water than normal and evaporation will be reduced, so you’ll probably find you’ll only need to water every 2 to 3 weeks. That does not mean to let it dry out completely, though! Continue standard watering: a good soaking when the soil is dry to the touch. It’s just that dry to the touch” will occur less frequently than in a heated room.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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