Growing rosemary in pots is a great way to have fresh herbs at your fingertips all year round. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, some tips and tricks can help you grow rosemary in containers.
Choosing the Right Pot
Choosing the right pot is essential for successfully growing rosemary. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a pot for your rosemary:
Size of Pot
Rosemary needs a pot that is big enough to accommodate its root system. A pot that is too small will restrict the plant’s growth and may lead to root-bound conditions.
I recommend a 30cm pot at the minimum.
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Rosemary needs well-draining soil to thrive. A pot without proper drainage can lead to waterlogged soil, which can cause root rot and other fungal diseases.
When selecting a pot, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom. If you have a pot without drainage holes that you would like to use, you can drill holes into the bottom.
It’s also a good idea to place a layer of gravel or rocks at the bottom of the pot to help with drainage. Many people use broken terracotta pot pieces for this. This will prevent the soil from becoming compacted at the bottom of the pot and allow water to flow freely.
Preparing the Soil
Growing rosemary in pots requires a well-draining soil mix that is rich in nutrients. Here are some tips for preparing the soil for your potted rosemary:
Rosemary plants prefer a well-draining soil mix. I like using a regular multi-purpose compost with a little perlite added to aid drainage.
Rosemary plants do not require a lot of fertiliser, but they do benefit from occasional feeding to promote growth and maintain their health. When preparing the soil for your potted rosemary, you can mix in a slow-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and phosphorus.
Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer that is specifically formulated for herbs, such as Herb Focus.
It is important not to over-fertilise your rosemary plants as this can lead to excessive growth and poor flavour.
Seedlings or Cuttings
When planting rosemary in pots, you can start with either seedlings or cuttings. Cuttings are stems taken from a mature rosemary plant. Both options can be successful when planting rosemary in pots.
When planting rosemary in pots, it is important to consider the planting depth. The plant should be planted at the same depth as it was in its original container.
If the plant is planted too deep, it can lead to root rot. If the plant is planted too shallow, the roots can dry out.
Spacing is another important factor to consider when planting rosemary in pots. I would strongly recommend growing a single plant per pot.
Watering and Feeding
Proper watering is crucial for the growth and development of rosemary plants.
Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the plant to dry out and die. Insert your finger into the soil to determine when to water your rosemary plant. If the top inch of soil is dry, it’s time to water.
When watering, water deeply, allowing the water to reach the roots. After watering, allow the soil to drain freely and never let the pot stand in water.
During the summer months, when the weather is hot and dry, you may need to water your rosemary plant more frequently.
Rosemary plants do not require frequent fertilisation but benefit from occasional feeding. You can apply a top dressing of well-aged compost in spring to give the plant nutrients.
Alternatively, you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Be careful not to over do it, as this can lead to excessive growth and weaken the plant.
Pruning is an essential part of growing rosemary in a container. Regular pruning helps to keep the plant bushy and compact and encourages new growth.
Prune your rosemary plant in the spring, just as new growth appears.
To prune, use a sharp pair of pruning shears to remove dead or damaged branches. Cut back any long, leggy branches to encourage bushy growth. You can also shape the plant by trimming the top and sides.