Prune rosemary: when and how? Our advices


A very popular aromatic shrub, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) finds its place in all gardens as long as it is installed in the sun. It can be grown in isolation, in a hedge, in a rock garden and even in a pot. In order for it to keep a nice shape, it is advisable to prune it regularly. Let’s take stock of the ideal time to prune a Rosemary and the method to adopt.

When to prune Rosemary?

The end of the branches of an aromatic Rosemary is regularly cut, as needed, since it is used throughout the year to flavor many culinary preparations. Rosemary is indeed an evergreen shrub. But that’s not enough to keep its aesthetic appeal. After a while, this sub-shrub ends up growing in all directions, in an anarchic way, and it does not look like much anymore. To avoid this, it is necessary to carry out from time to time a maintenance pruning aromatic Rosemary.

You can easily cut a Rosemary In early spring, say in April, or during the fall before the first frost. Some gardeners even prune their rosemary in any season, in sunny weather, with the exception of frost of course. It is however preferable to wait until the end of flowering, knowing that a Rosemary is able to flower several times in the year, in spring, in summer and in autumn.

How to prune a Rosemary?

As soon as it is no longer flowers, as soon as it does not freeze, a Rosemary can be folded down by half if it has grown too large or is no longer very aesthetic because if it is left to the ‘abandonment for several years, it shrank considerably. Anyway, pruning Rosemary is a task simple enough which boils down to remove all dead branches. In regions with a harsh climate, the best time is spring.

It is strongly recommended not to prune the branches that appear on dry wood, as this is sometimes a very old part of the shrub, because no new branch would grow back. Only green wood, that is to say of the year, can be pruned to allow branching of Rosemary.

Anyone can give it the desired shape, but in general it is pruned once a year so that it retains or regains its ball shaped silhouette. To do this, all you need to do is:

  • To reduce it by a third, or even by 50%.
  • To remove all large wood and dead wood as they will not bear any leaves in the future,
  • To ventilate the heart of the shrub by eliminating the oldest branches.

Severe pruning should be done on an adult Rosemary that has never been cared for.

Sprout to replace unmaintained Rosemary

Sometimes a Rosemary has been completely neglected for many years. All its branches are old, more or less dry, even completely dead, and the shrub has become completely shapeless. Now is the time to replace it. Never mind: just take a few branches before pruning it completely. They will be used to make cuttings.

To do this, we keep the ends of the few stalks that are still vigorous and cut to 15 or 20 cm in length and we simply plant them in potting soil that must then be kept moist. Cuttings usually do not take long to form roots. All that’s left to do is transplant in the desired places, in the ground or in a pot, in order to obtain new very fragrant Rosemary that must be avoided this time to be abandoned …

Note that when pruning a Rosemary, all the cut branches can be kept in order to be dried. They give off a powerful scent and allow to make garnished bouquets with parsley, thyme, bay leaf sauce, and other aromatic plants, each gourmet can create their own associations. Finally, for stimulate the formation of new branches and at the same time allow a Rosemary to branch out well, you have to remember to pick it from the wood of the year.