How to Harvest Rosemary – Harvesting Guide and Tips

Learn how to harvest rosemary easily with simple instructions. If you are a connoisseur of Mediterranean cuisines you should probably know the importance of Rosemary. Rosemary is a robust herb that gives a wonderful flavor and fragrance to our food.

Are you familiar with the meaning of Rosemary? It means the ‘dew of the sea’. According to the ancient Greeks, the rosemary plant is also called ‘Anthos’, meaning flower. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a popular fragrant herb for kitchen use and garden beauty.

Its uniqueness in terms of utility is so rich and wide that people across the globe have shown immense interest to grow and harvest Rosmarinus at home.  You can use rosemary leaves to garnish soups, bread, sauces, and various vegetable recipes. 

It’s very simple to harvest rosemary and use it fresh or store it for later use in lip-smacking recipes or for home remedies to make cosmetics, soaps, and shampoos.  So naturally, planting rosemary will be the best idea if you have a small yard to grow plants.

To be honest, harvesting Rosemary leaves indoors or in your garden is not a tough task whatsoever. With gentle hands and precise movements of your scissors, you can easily get a bunch of freshly harvested leaves.

These grow well in the mild-warm climate of Mediterranean soil under optimum conditions. If you are good at gardening, growing Rosemary should not be a ‘task’ per se.

Editor’s Recommendation: How to Dry Rosemary

However, there are some specific guidelines that you need to consider before harvesting those fresh green leaves.

Things to Consider Before Harvesting Rosemary

Caring for the rosemary plant starts with planting the seed. Before beginning with the whole procedure you need to understand if the Rosemary bush has reached its harvesting stage.

It is advised not to abruptly run scissors through the plant before checking certain criteria such as the harvestable stage.

1. Rosemary grows most actively in the spring and summer. Hence, the best time to harvest is during such seasons.

If you cut the Rosemary sprigs during this time of the year, they will rapidly grow back and provide with profusely dense leaves.

You may also trim apical portions of the bush so that Auxin can act upon these cuttings in order to increase its growth.

2. If you are planning to get dried Rosemary, it is recommended to wait till the Rosemary bush begins to bloom.

You should harvest a full-bloomed bush if you want to get that perfect fragrance of essential oils emitting from the flower and the rusty flavor from the leaves.

3. A healthy plant is always good for harvesting. For healthy herbs, it is suggested to plant your seeds in a container or in your garden based on your convenience.

Make sure that the seeds are embedded deep within the soil. This will ensure the germination of the plant in a complete dark condition which is also considered as an ideal condition. Watering 3-4 times a week is of utmost importance.

4. Loosening the soil is also necessary so that air can get into it a little. Remember rosemary plants love soils that drain easily. You can mix some organic compost with your dense soil to make it airy.

Also, try to keep them under direct sunlight for at least 5-6 hours every day.

5. Rosemary cannot withstand cold weather and is not able to grow or germinate during the cold harsh winters.

Hence if you are planning to start germinating the seeds, it is better to grow them indoors by creating an artificial condition of 24-28degree Celsius temperature supported with artificial light sources in the form of light bulbs.

If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, then you must plant rosemary in a container.

So you can bring it inside your home at the time of harsh frosty weather. If you live in highly temperate weather then you can plant it either in a planter or in the garden.

Plan the step of sowing seeds at least six months before the onset of winters for the best results.

 Things to Consider When Harvesting Rosemary

  1. Always harvest fresh Rosemary Sprigs. However, all sprigs cannot be cut off from the bush at random. Before plucking leaves, make sure the selected branch is at least 8-10 inches in length.
  2. Always use shears or scissors to cut the leaves. Do not use your bare hands as they will impose considerable force and the plants might be unable to withstand such mechanical pressure and perish instead.
  3. Never cut more than 15-20 percent of the branch. If you need only 6-8 leaves at a certain time, it is better to pick them from the topmost branches of the sprigs. This also answers the question, how to harvest Rosemary so it keeps growing. Remember not to pluck more leaves than you require, as it will alter the growth of the sprigs in turn.
  4. Rosemary sprigs are needed to be dried before use. To achieve that, you need to tie some evenly sized sprigs together into a bundle and leave them in a dark and dry place with moderate ventilation for 10-days. Any sort of moisture will dry away by this time and you can store them either in the freezer inside an airtight bag or ice trays by adding some vegetable oil inside the tray.
  5. When used fresh, rosemary plants have the most intense flavor and fragrance but drying and storing them for the whole year can give you the leverage of using it any time of the year.

How to Harvest Rosemary without Killing the Plant

To keep your plant intact while harvesting, you need to cut only the top 2-3 inches of the sprigs and leave the fresh green leaves beneath them. This will ensure the regrowth of the branches faster and swifter.

How to Harvest Rosemary to Promote Growth

The growth of Rosemary is promoted mainly by two plant hormones; Auxin and Cytokinin. During harvesting, you should try to only cut 20% or 1/4th of any branch so that some leaves are still left on each branch.

These hormones will act on these leaf axes, create leaf meristems, and generate new leaves.


These were the basic tips and tricks to harvesting Rosemary leaves. Hopefully, with the above-mentioned guidelines, you will be able to grow and harvest a good amount of Rosemary leaves for your various purposes.

This amazing herb is a great choice for multiple uses and you would know better how to play around with its absolute uniqueness and functionality. So if you have a small Indoor garden then planting rosemary will be the best idea for you.

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