Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rosemary “for Remembrance” By Olivia Tracy

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis); photo courtesy of PlantTalk Colorado
During Shakespeare’s time, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) was often associated with memory or remembering; it was given as a sign of friendship, and the early Herballs believed that the scent could “quicken the senses and memorie” (John Gerard, The Herball, Or Generall Historie of Plantes, 1597). These herbals may have been on to something-- recently, scientists have found possible relationships between the scent of rosemary and improved cognition.4

Today, rosemary is a welcome presence (and scent) in an indoor winter herb-garden. A Mediterranean plant, rosemary doesn’t tolerate low temperatures well; however, when planted in a container, you can keep it indoors during the winter, and move it outdoors during the warm summer months.2 You can buy rosemary plants from a store, or you can start them from seed. (You can also propagate rosemary through cuttings; however, it is best to take cuttings from rosemary in the spring or summer.)3 
  • Plant your rosemary plant in soilless mix (potting soil),2 and be sure to allow the soil to dry between watering (rosemary is a fairly drought-tolerant herb).1 
  • Apply water-soluble fertilizer every few weeks to help the plant thrive in the indoor space.2 
  • Like most herbs, rosemary loves sunlight, so be sure to place your rosemary plant in an area that will receive the largest amount of possible sunlight (in a south- or west-facing window).2 
If you’d like more information about rosemary, other herbs, and herb gardening, the following webpages were sources for this post, and are excellent sources to explore: 
1CMG GardenNotes #731, Herb Gardening
3If you hope to propagate rosemary or other herbs by cuttings, you may find useful advice in this article by the Missouri State Extension: 
4Recent study exploring the relationship between the scent of rosemary and cognition in schoolchildren: