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Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by gfontenot, Jan 4, 2010.
What are the fertilizer requirements for Rosemary and when should the plant be fertilized?
Most of the perennial Mediterranean herbs do best in lean well drained soil without fertilizer. Unless your soil is particularly barren, I wouldn't worry about it.
Keep in mind that "perennial Mediterranean herbs" means semi-arid conditions---little moisture, generally infertile soil. Use that as a guide for your own herbs.
Some good points. I'd like to add to that.
"Mediterranean" doesn't mean little water all year. A plant from the Mediterranean actually likes lots of water -- during it's natural growing period of late fall to spring. if you're in a part of Texas where winter rainfall is minimal, you'll have to think about providing supplemental water when you don't get a good inch a week from say, November into April.
On the other hand, keep the water off the plant completely during the warm to hot months.
Rosemary does like it "lean". It'll do fine with zero fertilizer in even a halfway decent soil (remains of old strip mine tailings are an exception).
It won't die from any fertilizer that does get on it, but it will get lanky and yes, it will lose some of its flavor.
A related key to success, as phatch says, is that rosemary MUST have a well-drained soil and full sun or nearly full sun.
Two more cultural notes: don't mulch and keep the plant pinched (presumably by cutting off what you need for the kitchen) to keep it from getting lanky.
It can also be quite adaptable. I grow Arp rosemary in a clay soil with only light watering and it does well. Some winter dieback and low water in winter are it's main sufferings. Arp can survive our winters outside where the more common rosemary varietals won't.
I have 2 huge Rosemary bushes that grow very well in our alkelin soil. I use what I can and give it away to friends and neighbors. aonce a year at least i have to prune them back with the chainsaw they get so large. Right now they are starting to bloom. We are having unseasonlay warm weather, so they will be in full bloom, very pretty and the bee's love the blossoms.
It is a very hardy plant that really needs little looking after. I've noticed some in our new location, in verges at supermarket and restaurant carparks. It looks like they get no care at all. The soil is poor and dry, and what with water restrictions being pretty fierce here, they wouldn't get much at all, but seem to thrive.
I do them a favour and regularly prune them I keep some garden shears in the car and harvest as need arises. The kids think I'm nuts - oh well! (I generally embarass them at least once a day, more if I try harder). Two of the stems I am trying to propogate seem to be taking, 2 have died, didn't end up using the rooting powder on any. Just bunged them in some good potting mix and keep them damp.
Have put some garlic in too - that's taking off really well. Gotta get some more in....but it's 3 am and the possums are growling outside....perhaps later.
I'm having a sudden flash of jealosy... whew, ok. Done.
I've managed to kill every poor little pot of rosemary I have ever gotten. Now I think I see why. Up here in Canada we lack a little in the sunlight department through the winter so most of my plants don't get enough, likely. They have to stay indoors until well after May 24. I've also responded to the rosemary looking a little dried out (the leaves) by watering through the winter (or as long as they last... usually only a couple weeks). I'm supposing, based on your advice, that that was backwards? Or was I just too little too late?
Do you think some flourescents would help? I'm not looking for them to bloom, I would just like them to survive /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif
I've wintered rosemary over, under lights. No reason it shouldn't work for you.
Just watch your watering, it's easy to overdue. If you wait until the surface is completely dry before adding more you should be ok.
You might consider bottom watering. Stand the pot in a half-inch of water for a half hour. Then pour off any remaining water.
The bottom watering seems the safer route; then the plant can just take as much as it wants and I don't have to guess. How often in winter should they be bottom watered? Will the surface dampness tell me? (will the surface even get damp with bottom watering?)
Sorry to be so clueless /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lookaround.gif
Clueless? That just means you're a beginner who's willing to learn. No need for apologies.
Yes, the moisture will, via capillary action, effect all the soil, including the surface. So always use that as the indicator as to whether or not the pot needs watering. If it's actually dry, it's time to water.
In fact, if the pot is standing in the water less than half an hour, and the surface becomes moist, you should pull it. You want the soil to have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge, not to be waterlogged.
That is awesome, thankyou!
Now the next time I dare buy a rosemary it won't necessarily be a death sentance for the poor little thing /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
Charron, if you're buying those little plants, in the 4-5 inch pots, the first thing you need to do is repot them. Otherwise I give you 8 to 5 odds they're root bound---which may have been part of your problem.
lol that is very likely. I've had so little success keeping them alive that I was endevouring based on a 'They didn't kill it so change nothing' approach.
It is just about time to start seeding my peppers so I'll have some seeding mix handy soon. Or should I just thaw some of the leftover soil from last year's potted tomatoes? It was supposed to be a triple mix soil but was far too clay-heavy to be true =( You mentioned earlier that rosemary does well in a lean soil...