Rosemary Location: Soil And Light Requirements

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:31 pm

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an intensely aromatic culinary herb. As such, it can be well cultivated in the garden or even in pots. Read how much light the rosemary needs and in which location it feels particularly well.

  • natural habitat on barren, sunny rocky slopes on the Mediterranean Sea
  • needs a lot of sun and warmth
  • only full sun place with midday sun
  • humus, loose and permeable soil ideal
  • herbal soil or potting soil mixed with sand for pot rosemary


In nature, the herb grows on barren rocky slopes in the Mediterranean region, permanently exposed to the sun. As in its natural habitat, it is best to plant rosemary in a place that is

  • is in full sun
  • is not shaded even at midday
  • is as warm as possible

Rosemary Location: Soil And Light Requirements

Unlike many other garden plants, the semi-shrub does best in a full sun, hot spot – do not shade it even over the midday hours. Unsuitable, on the other hand, are semi-shaded or light-shaded locations; these are too dark for the light- and heat-hungry plant. The best place in the garden is almost always in front of a brightly painted south wall.

Tip: Rosemary copes very well with drought, but you should still not let the root ball dry out completely – this could result in a loss of aroma. Water regularly, but little and with water as warm as possible to the touch.

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Optimal is a soil that is

  • rich in humus
  • loose and permeable
  • and dry

is dry. Heavy garden soil can be leveled with sand before planting, and drainage should be made of gravel or similar material. The herb does not tolerate waterlogging, so rain and irrigation water should quickly drain or seep. Therefore, a place in naturally lean, sandy garden soil or even in the rock garden is very suitable.

Rosemary Location: Soil And Light Requirements

Tip: When planting an herb spiral, it is best to place the rosemary bush at the very top. In the lower areas go herbs like parsley and chives, which like it a little darker and moister.

Rosemary in a pot

In terms of its preferences for a full-sun location and as much light and warmth as possible, planted rosemary is no different from potted rosemary. In any case, it is better to keep the plant in containers, at least if you want to overwinter it. If possible, choose a plant pot made of natural material (for example, clay), as this provides a better microclimate. Since air exchange can take place through the pores, the roots are sufficiently ventilated and the development of mold is less likely. In addition, the plant pot should have a drainage hole at the bottom so that excess water can drain away. Over this hole, place a piece of clay so that it does not clog. As a substrate is suitable humus-rich potting soil, leached with a little sand or expanded clay, or special herbal soil.

Rosemary Location: Soil And Light Requirements

Tip: you do not have to buy potting soil, you can make it yourself. To do this, mix sifted soil from fresh molehills with mature compost and some sand.

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Frequently asked questions

What herbs can be planted together with rosemary?

It is best to plant a Mediterranean herb bed in a sunny and warm place, where all plants have the same requirements for location, soil and care. Sage (Salvia officinalis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) in particular fit in well here. Thanks to the wide range of varieties, you can create variety with variegated sage varieties or scented thyme (e.g. lemon or golden thyme). Lavender (Lavandula), oregano (Origanum vulgare), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) also harmonize perfectly with rosemary bushes.

When and how do I fertilize rosemary properly?

Rosemary doesn’t need too much care, and you should also take it easy when it comes to fertilizing. Place potted plants in fresh, humus-rich substrate in spring and fertilize them again with an organic fertilizer in June. Nettle manure is suitable here, for example, but well-matured compost also provides the plants with all the important nutrients. Nitrogen-rich fertilizers (e.g. manure, horn shavings), on the other hand, should not be administered.

What is the best way to overwinter my rosemary bush?

As a Mediterranean plant, Rosmarinus officinalis requires a lot of warmth and is therefore quite sensitive to frosty temperatures. For a short time, many varieties can tolerate frost up to about 5 to 10 degrees Celsius, depending on the variety and as long as the root ball is not too wet. Nevertheless, the spice herb should not overwinter outdoors in our latitudes, but spend the winter in a cool and bright place indoors. Ideal temperatures are up to ten degrees Celsius.

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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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