The herb has a rich history associated with it; it symbolizes loyalty and friendship and used in weddings as well as funerals. It has been used since ancient times as an important ingredient in the Mediterranean cuisine. Rosemary is a perennial herb, and will grow upright, trail, or as a shrub depending upon its cultivar. It can grow up to five feet tall.
The foliage is needle-like, with each leaf a bright green and highly fragrant. Mid-spring the plant bears blue flowers and brown seeds continuing until the summer. The herb has become very popular; it is grown in most parts of the world where the climate is conducive for its growth. The flowers are also edible and used as fresh garnish in salads.
Rosemary is suited for both ground as well as container gardening. As the foliage is appealing to the eyes and fragrant, it can also be used in landscapes. This herb is easy to grow and is recommended as the first one to try for amateur gardeners. It can be propagated through cuttings and seeds.
If you plan to grow from seeds, soak the seeds in water for a few hours before sowing. Preferably grow them indoors six to eight weeks before the onset of frost to speed up the germination process. Spread them lightly in a container of well-draining sowing medium, moisten the seeds and keep the container in a cool, dark place.
Once they sprout move them to a sunny spot; not immediately, but acclimatize them slowly to full or partial sunlight. For propagation through cuttings, take a year-old healthy stem, soak it in root hormone solution and plant it in a container. Transplant once the cutting forms healthy roots.
Rosemary prefers full sun to partial shade, and will do well in most soil types. The plant cannot stand water logging soil and excess shade. However, it is quite tolerant of dry soil and drought-like conditions. It can tolerate frost up to a certain extent, and will survive through the winter with some care.
Select a location to plant your herb. Note that the plant does not like to have its roots disturbed, so make sure that you do not relocate it much. Plant the rosemary around March to May. The soil should be part sand or perlite mixed with loamy soil and organic compost. The soil's pH should be maintained within 5.0-7.5.
The plant should only be watered when the top soil feels a little dry, or as per the climate. Very little amounts of water should be added during winter. Too much moisture in the roots will freeze them as temperature drops. It needs very little feeding, feed the plant only once a month with a liquid fertilizer during the growing period―from March to October.
Rosemary does not require heavy pruning, just a few pinches to make it bushier, and a few trims after it has flowered to remove all deadheads. The plant is fairly pest resistant. Mildew can be controlled by ensuring that the leaves are not wet and have a good air flow.