UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA


Garden Help > Herbs

Rosemary (Savia rosmarinus, previously Rosmarinus officinalis) is a fragrant, drought tolerant, evergreen perennial that is classified as a subshrub for the woody lower stems that develop over time.  Its many forms range from ground covers to tall shrubs.

How to grow

  • Type: Perennial, evergreen, woody
  • Light: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil: Well drained
  • Water: Drought tolerant, likes well drained soil. No summer water required once established.
  • Size: Varies depending on cultivar

When to plant/propagate

  • From seed: Sow seeds indoors 10 weeks before outdoor planting date
  • Transplants: Water regularly first year until plant becomes established. Can survive temperatures as low as 15 deg F.
  • Cuttings: Propagate from cuttings of non-flowering branches in early summer, or layer established low branches by burying in a trench during the rainy season


  • Snip the needle-like leaves off the woody stems
  • Can be harvested year round

Indoors: Rosemary can be grown as an indoor plant with a minimum of 5 hours of bright light from a sunny window, or with supplemental light from fluorescent or LED lamps for 14–16 hours a day

Common pests & diseases

More information

Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*

  • Culinary rosemary: Blue Spires, Tuscan Blue
  • Container rosemary: Herb Cottage is a dwarf variety suitable for containers

* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.


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