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Rosemary - Taking Cuttings and Drying

 
master steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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My rosemary plant has really taken off with all the rain we have been having so I had to cut it way back.  My plan was to cut it back in the spring.

This is not my plant though it looks like this only twice as big:



I plan to cut it back for drying next week.  Here is some information I found about drying.  This is the method I have been using for all my herbs:

spread the rosemary leaves on a section of newspaper. Spread it out in an even layer on a table or counter,  turn it over the next day, continue till you notice the tips starting to curl  and wilt. At this point the water  of the remaining stem material has transpired though the leaves and they are starting to dry. They now need to be separated so each can dry more quickly, this  will maintain the oil in each leaf. continue to dry and turn daily till the leaves are just breakable, then store in a mason jar.



And this is the information that thread gives for cutting the plant back:

snip the stalks close to the ground, leave the roots and mulch heavily with leaves, a couple feet



If you want new plants:

cut into solid strong stalked shoots

take the cuttings and trim strip all leaves and smaller branches off the woody stalks

next take your shoots and pressure strip off the lower leaves and shoots by pinching your fingers and pulling up on the  stem of the shoot, leave about 1/4 of the length on the top unstripped.

push the shoots into window pots in your brighter windows to re-root and overwinter. i just push mine into existing plant pots. the rosemary seems to deter the white fly and spider mites.The stripped shoots seem to grow very vigorously with decent roots by spring and having the older stripped stalks replanted seems to give me more vigorous growth than tender new starts.



https://permies.com/t/5773/kitchen/Drying-rosemary-maximize-essential-oils

My plant has never bloom so I am waiting.






Uses:

This medicinal herb helps memory and concentration, improves mood—and sweetens breath.  This herb, especially the flower tops, contains antibacterial and antioxidant rosmarinic acid, plus several essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, and α-pinene that are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties.



Rosemary: Rosemary benefits the growth of sage, cabbage, beans and carrots by deterring cabbage moths, bean beetles and, if cutting are placed around carrot crowns, carrot flies. Again, don’t plant rosemary near basil or the rosemary will die.



https://permies.com/t/61605/Creating-Edible-Medicinal-Garden-Butterflies#699295


 
gardener & author
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Thanks for this! Just today I moved my potted rosemary indoors to a south facing window but I've got another growing in the soil in the attached solar greenhouse that will heat the house. I'd thought I would just leave it out there, but now I'll try "snip the stalks close to the ground, leave the roots and mulch heavily with leaves, a couple feet" -- but I've got basil growing right up in and around it! Your comment says the rosemary will die in that case! I planted it there because I thought it could fill in nicely for the first summer before the rosemary (hopefully) gets big the next year. Oops!
rosemary-and-basil.jpg
[Thumbnail for rosemary-and-basil.jpg]
Is this really so deadly to the rosemary?
 
Anne Miller
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Rebecca, thanks for responding.  When I post something and someone comments then I go "Hmmm.." so I went back to the source of the info about Rosemary and Basil.

It was from this thread:  https://permies.com/t/13361/kitchen/Companion-planting-medicinal-herbs-diverse

Matt Smith wrote:  Found the following info here:
http://www.herbfest.net/growing-herbs/gardening-with-herbs/272-companion-herb-plants-for-your-herb-garden



I hope this helps.
 
pollinator
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Anne - is there a reason you are cutting it back, like helping it survive winter, or are you just trying to keep it from taking over. I'm currently in zone 9b/10a, and I only prune it when it gets out of control, but I'm moving to zone 8b, and don't know how rosemary will do.
 
Anne Miller
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I read here on permies that a guy cuts his back every spring so that was my plan.  When I planted, I did not realize that it would get so big, especially since where I live stuff doesn't usually get as big as is stated.  My plant is on its second year and is at least three feet tall.  It was covering my echinacea and lavender so I had no choice or lose the other plants.  I blame it on all the rain we have been getting.

BTW, it survive the summer drought.  I planted Egyptian Walking Onions in the same bed about a foot or two away.  I watered the onions and nothing else.  
 
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I had a Rosemary that got out of control. It was leggy in growth and I didn't know what I was doing so it sprawled out before I got a handle on it.

I learned I can prune up to 30% of the growth without stopping the plants growth or killing it. I learned not to do this in flower.

The plant reached 17 years of age with a trunk approximately 3 inches diameter, then a contractor, who had instructions to 'take care of plants' took care of my plants by tearing them out. Kinda Godfather like "Take care of the snitch". Since then I've never trusted a contractor not to be a moron.

The plant did not come back from being cut to the ground.

It was a needle leaved variety with much flavor and aroma the strains in the stores do not come close. One clone exists after about 60 attempts.

Lesson, don't cut the really fine leaf variety right back if you have it. Do trim it twice a year to maintain some shape and prevent sprawl ( sprawl = a few feet of bare trunk with nothing, all growth out at the tips).

 
Stacy Witscher
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Anne - yes, they can get out of control. I've had them in multiple places over the years and have had to remove them because they take over walkways, but I only prune to shape or make smaller, not for plant health reasons or anything. After establishing, I never water them. Being a Mediterranean plant, I assumed it would be fine, and it always has been. I know that in colder regions they don't survive winter, but I don't know at what region it becomes an issue. I do like to plant them near walkways so that when you walk by and brush against it, it releases its odor. The smell is amazing.

I've never dried any, as I don't care for the texture of it dried and I always have fresh. Sometimes I chop some fresh and combine with garlic in a compound butter. It's amazing on meat or potatoes or roasted veggies.
 
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