Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

What to do with your rosemary tree now?




With its intense piney fragrance, dense evergreen foliage and cute, diminutive size, the rosemary Christmas tree seems the perfect holiday plant for table or countertop. Get one and enjoy it, but do yourself a favor: Don’t anticipate a long relationship.Rosemary has deep associations with Christianity, and in a Tuscan monastery it will grow into a large and venerated shrub. But as a houseplant here, its days are numbered. Most will drown at the hands of overattentive keepers and will never see the new year.Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region and thrives in hot, dry climates with mild winters. Don’t water until the soil is dry to the touch, and the plant shows signs of wilting. Browning needles indicate over-watering. [read more Rosemary trees work best as disposables]

Rosemary trees are wonderful. I love the smell of rosemary through the house. However these plants tend to be stressed by the time you buy them. Sitting in them in a dark house after you purchase them does them no favors either.  From the rosemary’s point of view almost all homes are dark caves.

As soon as possible after the holidays, get your rosemary plant out in the sunshine. It wants to be treated more like a cactus than a traditional plant. Give it lots of sun, and little water.

So far the longest I’ve been able to keep a rosemary tree growing is about 8 months. Late winter into early spring we get lots of rain and the rosemary doesn’t have time to settle in before the rain hits. If you keep them inside it is almost impossible to get them enough light. I expect they would do well in a planter, which keeps the soil drier, rather than the ground here.  But that is on this summer’s list of things to do.