Selecting a Rosemary Plant
Buy a rosemary shrub and not a creeping groundcover. Shrubby rosemary makes a full and dense houseplant that will survive indoors for many years.
Buy the largest rosemary plant you can afford. Rosemary grows slowly, so the size and appearance of the plant you buy will stay pretty much the same for months.
Check the bottom of the pot to make sure that the rosemary you buy doesn’t have exposed roots coming out of the drainage holes. Rosemary doesn’t like to be repotted and this is one way to insure that new plants haven’t outgrown their pots.
Check the health of a rosemary plant by running your hand along the needles. A healthy plant will have supple, resilient needles that spring back when touched. It should also have a strong, pine scent. Pass on any plant that has brittle needles or needles that fall off when touched.
Inspect the soil around the plant for dead needles. Avoid plants that have accumulations of dead needles even if the plant itself looks full.
Transport new plants in plastic bags if the outside temperature is below freezing.
Select a location for your rosemary plant that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day.
Check the intensity of the light by placing your hand between the plant and the window. Your hand should create a distinct shadow. If it doesn’t, try moving the plant closer to the window. Rosemary prefers a western or southern exposure.
Place indoor rosemary plants in a location away from drafts. Heating vents, open windows and exterior doors will create drafts that can damage indoor plants.
Refresh rosemary by adding a tablespoon of dried, ground eggshell to the top of the soil once a year. Start the first year after you purchase the plant.
Water rosemary regularly. Check the soil every few days by inserting your finger into the soil to a depth of about an inch. Water the plant when you can feel no moisture on your finger. Rosemary will begin to lose needles if it doesn’t receive regular watering.
Fertilize rosemary three or four times between spring and fall. Do not fertilize during the winter months.
Observe the new growth on your indoor rosemary plant closely. You should see an increase in growth from spring through fall.
Harvest half of the new growth on your plant each season. This will give you enough rosemary for cooking and crafts, but still keep your plant growing and healthy.
Remove rosemary by snipping the tips of new growth with a sharp knife or pair of shears.
Check harvested rosemary to be sure it is free of pests and dust. Rinse it carefully and pat it dry.
Place harvested rosemary in a warm, dark location to dry. Rosemary can also be used fresh.