Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rosemary Winter Bliss


Rosemary is always a struggle here in New England. It thrives in the summer and then we shock the poor plant by bringing it indoors and asking it to survive for months until Spring comes again.

I get frequent questions at the store about where to keep it, how to care for it and many laments about how it "always dies". I've had those years as well where everything seems to be going fine and then the telltale dropping of leaves. I've been known to beg the rosemary to just stay alive for a little longer!

But this year I seemed to have found the perfect spot with good temperatures and moisture. I came home from Florida at the end of January to find my large rosemary in bloom. It bloomed all through February, bringing a smile to my face every day as I walked by and is still blooming. I've never had my rosemary bloom over the winter so this is a real treat for me.

So here are my tips on how to keep the rosemary going.

1. Preparing it to be brought inside.

This is important. I generally repot and trim back the rosemary, and then gradually accustom it to less light by keeping it outside but moving to a more shaded spot. Once I bring it indoors, I will occasionally put it outside on a nice day, which I consider over 50 degrees.

2. Location.

As they say in real estate, location, location, location. I look for a place that gets as much natural light as possible. Since my rosemary is very large and heavy, I'm limited by places it can go. This year it is in an unheated, glassed in sunroom which seems to be working.

3. Temperature.

Rosemary can be kept cool, and I find this seems to help it through the winter. An unheated room is fine. Since mine is against a glass pane I do lightly cover it if the temperatures are in the teens or below.

4. Moisture.

This is a tricky one. Rosemary likes to be fairly dry, but cannot be left to dry out completely. Especially when it is in a fairly cold temperature location it can be difficult to know when and how much to water. I water once a week or week and a half, lightly so the soil is moist but not wet.

5. Humidity.

One of the things that does seem to keep the rosemary happy over the winter is a high humidity level. If your rosemary is in the house, the liklihood of it drying out just from the heating in the house is high. I mist the plant to keep it moist or it can be put on a tray filled with water and rocks. Just make sure the rosemary is on the rocks and not sitting in the water and the evaporation of the winter will help keep it moist.

So let me know, what tips do you have and how does your rosemary grow?

1 comment:

ledgeandgardens said...

I can almost smell that rosemary. I have heard that cool rooms are best for this plant. I have killed my fair share.