Plant Type
Sunlight Amount

This beautiful shrubby plant can tolerate drought well while growing plenty of scented leaves for flavoring recipes.



Known for its wonderful scent and flavor, rosemary can also be grown as a garden ornamental. In areas where these plants are not winter hardy, they can be grown as an annual. Because of their Mediterranean heritage, these plants thrive in hot and dry weather. Grow rosemary near paths and walkways to release its fragrance as you brush past it.

genus name
  • Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Sun
plant type
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 2 to 4 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rick Taylor

Rosemary Care Must-Knows

Rosemary needs well-drained soil to survive. It will slowly suffer in heavy and moist clays, especially during winter.

Rosemary thrives in full sun. Part sun drastically increases the likelihood of problems such as powdery mildew, a foliar fungi that is generally harmless but unsightly, especially if you are using the rosemary in your recipes. Poor airflow and high humidity are also major contributors to powdery mildew and loss of flavor in the herb. Additionally, watch out for spider mites, mealy bugs, whitefly, and aphids.

If you are growing rosemary as an annual or a potted plant, try growing them indoors. However, this is generally no easy feat for rosemary, who likes it hot and dry with plenty of sun. So in the home, make sure plants are in full sun if possible—southern exposure is best. Often, plants may not grow much indoors and will simply survive until they're back outside. Supplemental lighting can make a big difference in anything less than full sun.

Harvest Tips

The best time to harvest your rosemary for its delicious leaves is in the morning, just after any dew has evaporated off. You can snip rosemary stems throughout the growing season to use fresh, or cut a bunch to dry in the fall. To use rosemary, strip needles from stems and chop before adding to dishes. Store fresh rosemary up to one week in the refrigerator by placing the stems in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.

To preserve rosemary for use later, air-dry stems by bundling and hanging upside down in a dark place with good air circulation. Once dried, remove the leaves from the stems and store in an airtight container. Dried, whole rosemary can retain its flavor for up to one year. You can also freeze whole stems in a plastic bag. To use, strip as many leaves as you need from frozen stems. Chop rosemary well before using.

Pulverize dry leaves before adding to dishes, herb blends, or sauces to release aromatic oils and to make them easier to chew, as the dried leaves can be quite tough. Rosemary's texture and flavor varies throughout the season—leaves are tender in spring, with fewer aromatic oils. By late summer, foliage packs a more potent flavor. Toss late summer stems onto grilling coals to infuse meat with delicious flavor.

More Varieties for Rosemary

Jerry Pavia

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Arp' forms a sturdy shrub 3-5 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. It thrives in average, well-drained soil. Zones 6-10

Peter Krumhardt

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Tuscan Blue' is one of the best rosemary varieties for topiaries. It develops dense blue-green foliage that's easily sheared to any shape. It's highly fragrant and has many uses in the kitchen. It grows 4 feet tall. It grows as an annual except in Zones 8-10.

Dean Schoeppner

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus' has a trailing growth habit that looks great cascading over a retaining wall or trailing down a raised bed. It is also called creeping rosemary or prostrate rosemary, and it makes an effective groundcover. It grows 18-24 inches tall, spreads 4-8 feet wide, and bears light blue flowers. Zones 8-10

Denny Schrock

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Roman Beauty' is a compact, slow grower with a semitrailing form, growing just 12-16 inches tall and spreading 18-24 inches wide. It grows more upright than trailing rosemary but still creates a cascading effect in the landscape or in container gardens. It has violet-blue flowers and fragrant gray-green foliage. Zones 8-10

Denny Schrock

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Gorizia' is noted for its exceptionally wide leaves, often twice as broad as common rosemary. It grows 4 feet tall and wide, and it bears clusters of light blue flowers from late winter through summer. Zones 8-10

Dean Schoeppner

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Aureus' has green needlelike leaves with gold flecks. This rosemary is an upright grower that reaches 2 feet tall and spreads equally wide. It has pale blue flowers in spring. Zones 8-10

Denny Schrock

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Majorca Pink' has unusual pinkish-lavender blooms in spring with repeat blooms in summer. It is an upright plant growing 4 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide. Zones 7-10

Denny Schrock

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Aureus' has green needlelike leaves with gold flecks. This rosemary is an upright grower that reaches 2 feet tall and spreads equally wide. It has pale blue flowers in spring. Zones 8-10

Marty Baldwin

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Barbecue' is a selection developed for its excellent flavor and aroma. It can grow 4 feet tall and will develop beautiful blue blooms. It grows as an annual except in Zones 8-10.

Garden Plans For Rosemary

Peter Krumhardt

This informal mixed garden bed features drought-tolerant trees, evergreen shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

Download this plan!

Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

This mix of easy annuals and tough perennials will beautify any slope. Follow this garden plan to get the look in your green space.

Click here to get this garden plan.

Illustration by Michael Burns

Grow a 4x12-foot version of the White House Kitchen Garden (designed by Better Homes and Gardens garden editors) on your own south (or east or west) lawn. All you need is a spot that gets six or more hours of sunshine each day.

Get this garden plan!

Illustration by Gary Palmer

Ensure your kitchen is always stocked with fresh herbs with this classic herb garden plan, where ten kinds of hers surround a decorative sundial in a 6-foot-diameter bed.

Download the plan.

Illustration by Gary Palmer

Get an herb garden that dazzles with this colorful plan, where a 3x8-foot border features foliage with purple, green, and golden hues—including variegated leaves.

Click here to download this plan!


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