How to Overwinter Rosemary

by | Apr 17, 2012 | Herb Garden | 0 comments

Rosemary is a woody perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean region. The name Rosemary derives from the Latin name rosmarinus, which means ‘dew of the sea’  In many locations, it needs no other water than the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live. This explains why, although it is a perennial herb in warmer climates, it is not a perennial here in the Maritimes. It is tender or sensitive to our climate, making it what we call a ‘non-hardy perennial’. If you expected your rosemary to come back in the spring, but were disappointed, here’s some tips for how to overwinter rosemary.

rosemary plant growing outside

How to Overwinter Rosemary

Rather than planting your rosemary in the garden where it will die during the winter, consider planting it in a pot. This gives you the option of bringing it inside in the fall. Just make sure to choose a pot that isn’t too large to carry inside.

Place your pot of rosemary on your patio, or if it’s a small to medium sized pot, you can bury it right in your garden and dig it up when you are ready to overwinter it.

Rosemary does not like to be too wet, so when you bring it inside, remember not to over water it. It does however, love humidity, especially during our long, dry Maritime winters. Try misting it with a spray bottle every day. Or better yet, once a week, take it into the bathroom while you shower. It will love the humidity and warmth.

The benefit of having your rosemary plants inside for the winter is that you can enjoy fresh herbs all year long! Don’t hesitate to try different varieties. They all have great flavour, just different growth habits.

If for some reason, you can’t overwinter rosemary indoors, you’ll need to consider it an annual in our region. This means you’ll need to plant fresh ones each spring.