QUESTION: We received a potted rosemary plant as a Christmas gift. According to the plant marker, it is a variety called ‘Arp.’ It was fresh and green when we got it, but now the leaves are beginning to turn brown. What is the best way to take care of it?
Some sources with information on houseplants say that rosemary is one of the culinary herbs that can be grown outdoors in summer and brought in during winter. But rosemary has specific needs that are not easily met in some indoor environments.
To grow well indoors, a rosemary plant, which is really a tender perennial shrub, requires bright light — four or more hours a day of direct sun, or about 14 hours of supplemental fluorescent light. In addition, it likes warm temperatures in spring and summer, and cooler (45 – 70 degrees) in fall and winter. It also likes fairly humid conditions, and the air in an average home may be too dry for the plant to thrive.
While you have it indoors, give the rosemary as much light and humidity as possibly (a daily misting may help). Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings, but don’t let it dry completely.
‘Arp’ is one of the hardiest rosemary varieties. Plant it outdoors in early spring (full sun, but it also does fine with a little bit of shade), in soil that drains well. If you plant it in a sheltered location, there’s a good chance that it will last in the garden for many years here in Zone 7a.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
Feb. 16: Backyard Sustainable Gardening workshops sponsored by Hands On Nashville and led by Cliff Davis of Spiral Ridge Permaculture. Day-long mini-course introduces the theory behind permaculture and offers hands-on training. Learn the basics of permaculture. Workshops will take place at the nands On Nashville Urban Farm, 361 Wimpole Drive. Learn more and register here.
Feb. 19: Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood, beginning with plant swap and refreshments at 6:30, program at 7 p.m. Guest speaker is Marshall Allen, founder and owner of Allen Landscape Management; the topic is “Design using hardscape, various types of plants and other features of interest.” No charge for admission, and the public is invited.
Feb. 20: Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at CheekwoodBotanical Garden. The program is on Phalaenopsis orchids. Refreshments at 6:30, and the program begins at 7 p.m. There is no admission, and the meeting is open to the public. No admission to Cheekwood and the meeting is open to the public.
Feb. 28 – March 3:Nashville Lawn & Garden Show at the TennesseeState Fairgrounds. More than 20 live gardens (all indoors!) by local landscape professionals; a series of free lectures by expert horticulturists and garden designers, and 250 booths of horticultural products, services and equipment for show and sale. Hours are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Feb. 28, March 1 and 2, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. March 3. This annual event is produced by the Horticultural Association of Tennessee. Learn more here.
March 16: Backyard Sustainable Gardening workshops sponsored by Hands On Nashville and led by Cliff Davis of Spiral Ridge Permaculture. Day-long mini-course introduces the theory behind permaculture and offers hands-on training. Learn the basics of permaculture. Workshops will take place at the nands On Nashville Urban Farm, 361 Wimpole Drive. Learn more and register here.