Rosemary is a very useful plant that is convenient to have at home, both for the excellent fragrance that it leaves and also for the numerous culinary applications that concern it. If you are tired of buying it and want to have it always with you, here are the few steps to follow to see it grow healthy and in abundance. Here are the tips on how to grow rosemary.
Rosemary is a very useful plant that is convenient to have at home, both for the excellent fragrance that it leaves and also for the numerous culinary applications that concern it. If you are tired of buying it and want to have it always with you, here are the few steps to follow to see it grow healthy and in abundance.
Among the most used scents and spices in traditional Italian cuisine, rosemary is perhaps the most classic because it is perfect both for making the meat tastier and for cooking vegetables, in particular legumes and potatoes (those who do not use it in baked potatoes?).
Rosemary is a particularly robust and resistant evergreen plant, and therefore also very easy to grow. You can grow it both in the vegetable garden and in the pot, just like other “queens” of the Lamiaceae (family of plants to which rosemary belongs), such as basil and sage.
The Rosmarinus officinalis is an evergreen shrub, as mentioned, which develops in bushes that can be kept very simply and can be used to occupy a corner of the garden or to be displayed on the balcony. Let’s say that the closer it is to the kitchen the better because it will be more convenient to quickly take a small branch to immediately use its characteristic and fragrant leaves, known to be narrow and long. Its flowers, instead, are born in spring and have a color between white and purple; they too can be safely used in the kitchen.
Climate and soil suitable for rosemary
Rosemary is a typical Mediterranean plant, a lover of sun and heat. But we also said that it is very resistant, so it is well suited to stay in the middle and in the cold and therefore it can also be used in the mountains. Beware of long frosts, especially in Northern Italy: if they are particularly stiff they can damage it.
The typical adaptability of rosemary also affects the soil, although it tends to prefer dry and loose soil, without fear of drought. The ideal is, therefore, a draining sandy bottom, while there is no need for much organic matter. The important thing is that the soil where this aromatic plant is grown does not exceed in humidity.
If you want to cultivate it in a compact, clayey soil, remember to combine a little sand before planting it: in this way the soil will be lighter and more draining.
Rosemary can be sown in various ways, from seed or by cuttings or even offshoots:
The seeding method of rosemary that starts from the seed is, as mentioned, possible but still not widespread: in fact, since rosemary is easily propagated by rooting the cutting or by dividing the tufts, it does not make much sense to waste time to develop the seeds. Anyone wishing to proceed with this method, however, remember that the right time is spring because it allows the plant to grow in a temperate climate.
Perhaps the most used method is that of the cutting because the motliplication of the rosemary plant is really simple. It is sufficient, in fact, to take a branch of 10 or 15 centimeters from an already developed plant – better to take it from the lower area, near the roots – remove the leaves leaving them alone at the top, remove some bark at the base and put it in water to about a week waiting for the roots to appear. At this point, you can plant the sprig of the pot and, when the seedling has developed, transplant it into the field or into a larger pot if it is kept on the balcony. The branches for the cutting can be detached in any period, even if it is preferable – and this is also true for the transplant – to do it in spring in northern Italy, or in autumn in southern and coastal Italy.
However rosemary is a bushy shrub, and it is usually grown in a vegetable garden with a single plant that is more than sufficient to satisfy all the needs of a single-family. But if you want more than one, remember to keep 50 or 70cm of space between one bush and another. You can also create flower beds or rosemary hedges.
Proceeding with cultivation, you will be pleased to read that it is among the most simple plants to cultivate. It is perennial, and therefore it must not be sown every year, and above all, it requires very little care. It is an evergreen plant but if the heat becomes excessive it undergoes estivation (ie it stops growing), and the same happens in areas wherein winter it can become excessively cold.
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Rosemary must be watered constantly only in its first year of life: later, being a great lover of arid climates, it is satisfied with the humidity of the air and must be wet when it is very hot and is excessively dry, but always with moderation. The concept, however, is that the plant never gets wet too otherwise it rots.
Fertilization is not even necessary, which can help if done at most twice a year as a supply of nutrients: in this case you prefer slow-release fertilization, not liquid fertilization. Also in the speech of his resistance is also the fact that rosemary does not fear diseases and parasites if the stagnations that will cause it to rot are avoided. Not even pruning is a necessary operation for rosemary: it should be done only if you want to adjust its size. And fear not: it is not a plant that suffers when it is pruned!
As for the cultivation in pots, the dimensions of the container obviously vary according to the size that you want the plant to reach but in general, it is better to choose a large pot because it will require less watering and will leave more space for the development of the aromatic herb. Even in pots the earth must be loose and draining, with a bottom of gravel or expanded clay to ensure that the water drains well.
However, the argument about irrigation is also true when the plant is grown in pots: very rarely, about every two weeks. Avoid the saucer, because it favors stagnation that can be harmful.
Collection and use of rosemary
The harvest of this aromatic herb happens when you need it, and it is done by cutting the tops of the branches of the plant. You can harvest branches throughout the year, even during flowering (and you can also collect the same flowers).
Preserving it is not a problem since it is an evergreen plant. As mentioned, when you need it you can cut a twig to use it in the kitchen directly. But, if you wish, you can also dry the rosemary, an operation that will not make him lose his rosemary too much: in fact, then chopping it with salt and other spices, you will have a perfect seasoning for roasting, for fish and other foods and tasty dishes.
Using rosemary is perfect for the health of the body because its leaves contain essential oils with excellent digestive properties and, more generally, with beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Among the other positive effects, there is the tonic action, the deodorant property and favoring diuresis.