How To Harvest Rosemary Without Killing The Plant? [Personal Experience!]

Are you wondering how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant? Don’t worry – this page will guide you through every step!

Harvesting rosemary plant is easy. You will have a bountiful harvest if you do it right. In fact, with just one or two full-size plants, it will produce more than enough for all summer.

Rosemary is a highly aromatic and distinctive herb that provides many types of vitamins and essential nutrients.  The leaf and its oil are commonly used in food and medicine. It is known for its sweet, resinous flavor.

At a glance, we will be looking at:

  • Steps To Cut Rosemary Without Killing The Plant
  • When To Harvest Rosemary?
  • What Part Of Rosemary Do You Harvest?
  • Harvesting Rosemary For Drying
  • Will Rosemary Grow Back After Harvesting?
  • How Often Can You Harvest Rosemary?
  • What Tools Do You Need To Harvest Rosemary?
  • How To Preserve And Store Rosemary
  • How Do You Pick Rosemary So It Keeps Growing?
  • Is It Okay To Allow Rosemary To Bloom?
  • What Is The Lifespan Of Rosemary?
  • Tips For A Good Rosemary Harvest 
  • Growing Conditions For Rosemary 

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how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

Steps To Cut Rosemary Without Killing The Plant

Similar to other herbs, rosemary will benefit from getting frequent harvesting. Here are the steps to take in harvesting rosemary: 

1. Consistently taking a few inches off the top of your plants will keep your plant healthy and encourage growth. 

2. Look for branches that are about 6-8” in height. 

3. Just make sure you only harvest about of the plant at one time and let it regrow before cutting fresh rosemary again.

4. When it comes to harvesting rosemary, the easiest way to do it is to use a small pair of garden shears or clippers such as Friskar’s soft touch micro snips. Clip off new growth stems at your desired length, but leave the older, woody growth untouched.

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

5. Then, you can rinse off the stems and strip the individual leaves off. Or leave them on the stem if you want to dry your rosemary.

6. If you cut more than needed, store your fresh rosemary in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze it. Rosemary grows pretty all season, so continue to water and feed it and it will keep giving back. 

When To Harvest Rosemary?

Besides knowing how to harvest rosemary without killing your plant, it is important to know when is the best time to harvest the plants too. 

You can harvest rosemary pretty much year-round, although the main harvest time is summer to fall, just before or during flowering when the aromatic oils are at their peak and the essence of the plant is strongest.

The best time to cut the stems will be mid-morning as this allows the previous night’s dew to dry and avoid the height heat of the day. The main factor for when to harvest rosemary is plant size.

How to harvest rosemary seeds?

If it is new seedlings, wait till they grow several inches and start to bush before harvesting them while mature plants can be harvested anytime, as long as your plants have at least replaced the growth you took off. 

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

What Part Of Rosemary Do You Harvest?

There are 2 main parts of rosemary for you to harvest, the tender new tips (sprigs) or the leaves, although technically all parts of the plant are edible.

The most flavourful and aromatic oils are the leaves – which are great to be used for cooking, teas, and other purposes.

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

The tender new tips (sprigs) can be used too. But the woody tough ones are best for infuse purposes, rather than eating.

Flowers are also edible. They give a sweeter flavor and are perfect for adding colors to dishes or garnishing dishes. Overall, pick on healthy stems with green leaves and avoid those with yellow, brown, or dry needles as they will not taste good. 

Harvesting Rosemary For Drying

While fresh rosemary can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, dried rosemary can last up to a year. 

When to harvest rosemary for drying? If you are looking to dry the rosemary, best to wait with harvest until the plant begins to bloom when the tiny leaves contain the most flavor and oil. At this time, drying will preserve its aroma, flavor, and fragrance best. 

At this stage, the leaves and flowers will be full of aromatic oils which can be used in sauces, marinades, soups, and even stews. The aroma will add flavor to meat or vegetables and other dishes. 

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

You can preserve fresh rosemary using one of these four drying methods: 

1.  Air dry: Tie the sprigs into a bundle and hang them upside down in a dark, dry place. It will take about two weeks to twenty-one days for the rosemary to dry completely when the leaves are stiff and no longer pliable 

2. Microwave drying:  Arrange the sprigs between two paper towels in a layer. For quicker drying,  microwave the plants on high for two to three minutes until dry. 

3. Oven drying: Oven drying takes longer compares to microwave drying. Drying time in the oven takes between two to four hours. 

Before starting, preheat the oven to its lowest temperature, around 180 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange the sprigs in a layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

4: Food dehydrator: After placing the rosemary onto the dehydrator trays, turn on the dehydrator to its lowest temperature, around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The drying process will take about six to eight hours in a dehydrator. 

Will Rosemary Grow Back After Harvesting?

The beauty of rosemary is that you can do light pruning and harvesting any time of year. Rosemary is known for its rapid and vigorous growth. It will actively grow after harvesting, as long as you follow the right steps.

If harvested late in the season, growth will be a bit slower. However, when spring arrives, rosemary will quickly begin to grow again. 

How Often Can You Harvest Rosemary?

How often you harvest your rosemary depends on the size of your plant and how much you take at a time. If you are cutting just a bit of the sprig or only taking a few leaves, then you can do it as often as needed.

However, be mindful not to take more thanof the plant’s total size at one time as it will need time to recover after a large harvest.

What Tools Do You Need To Harvest Rosemary?

How to harvest rosemary without killing the plant? By using the correct tool! 

Rosemary is a tiny plant with a tiny foliage stem.

You can easily pluck them with your hands.

Hence, you do not need any special tools to harvest the plant except for a pair of shears for woody stems or scissors for new stems. 

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

How To Preserve And Store Rosemary

Refrigeration is a good short-term storage solution and will keep your rosemary fresh for about 2-3 weeks. Wrap freshly harvested sprigs (without washing them) in a clean, damp paper towel, to increase their lifespan.

Place your wrapped herbs in a container or a sealable plastic bag and store them in the crisper drawer in your fridge. When you want to use them, take out as many sprigs as you need and rinse them off before using them.

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

How Do You Pick Rosemary So It Keeps Growing?

A few tips to take note of in making sure your rosemary keeps growing:

  • Use sharp pruning shears—do not harvest by hand.
  • Use clean shears with rubbing alcohol to prevent plant disease.
  • Only harvest rosemary stems that are 8 inches (20 cm) long.
  • Only take the top 2 inches (5 cm) of each stem you cut.
  • Do not choose a stem that is hard and woody.
  • Trim and shape your rosemary plants after harvesting them for the best regrowth.

Is It Okay To Allow Rosemary To Bloom?

Plants that flower usually uses a lot of resources and energy to produce these flowers. If the plants are not cultivated for that reason, it is not necessary to allow plants to bloom.

Hence, it is wiser to stop rosemary from blooming so that these energies can be channeled to produce more leaves and foliage to meet the purpose of cultivation.

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

What Is The Lifespan Of Rosemary?

The average lifespan of a rosemary plant is three to five years. They are perennial in nature, hence will live for more than two years. However, some rosemary plants can live up to 10 years, that is with the right and proper care.

Rosemary plants need well-drained soil and full sun. They also need to be watered regularly at the right amount. Overwatering will lead to root rot, which will cut the lifespan of the plant. 

Tips For A Good Rosemary Harvest

The 2 important tips I will share when it comes to good rosemary harvest are to prune regularly and use proper tools.

When and how to prune a rosemary plant?

Be sure to do your last prune no later than 4 to 6 weeks before the first frost.

Pruning too late will shift the focus on new growth rather than hardening off the growth it has produced from last winter.

Next, using the correct tool is very important too. Be sure to use sharp clean pruning shears to avoid exposing your plants to harmful pests. 

Growing Conditions For Rosemary

Rosemary plants prefer warm and dry climates. They need at least 6-8 hours of daily sun exposure. When it comes to soil requirements, they can grow in all well-drained soils. However, the best yields are often achieved in fertile sandy to clay loam soils. 

FAQs On How To Harvest Rosemary Without Killing The Plant?

What To Do With Freshly Picked Rosemary

What to do with freshly picked rosemary? Place your rosemary sprigs in an airtight container or freezer bag, squeezing all the air out before sealing it, or freeze the leaves in an ice-cube tray with water or olive oil. 

To avoid having them sticking together in the freezer, try flash-freezing the sprigs or leaves. 

Can You Harvest Rosemary After It Flowers?

Yes, you can harvest rosemary after it flowers. The texture and flavor are not affected, unlike other crops. 

Can You Use Rosemary Straight From The Plant?

Can you use rosemary straight from the plant? Yes, you can use rosemary straight from the plant, although it is better to rinse it before consuming, especially for branches that are low to the ground.

What Is The Best Way To Harvest Rosemary?

Wondering what is the best way to harvest rosemary? Snipping sprigs with pruners or kitchen scissors is the best way to harvest rosemary. 

New growth which is easier to chop and more fragrant is preferable compared to older growth which is woodier and darker. 

Can You Eat Rosemary Flowers?

Can you eat rosemary flowers? Rosemary flowers are as edible as the leaves. These aromatic flowers can be used in recipes, infused into olive oil, and even steeped in herbal teas. 

Can You Harvest Rosemary When It Is Flowering? 

Can you harvest rosemary when it is flowering? Yes, in many climates you can harvest small amounts all year long, even while it’s flowering, although it is ideal to do most of your picking during the spring and summer when it is actively putting on new growth. 

Does Rosemary Grow Back After Cutting? 

Yes, rosemary will regrow after cutting, as long as it’s done properly. Make sure the trim the green stems only, and prune them only regular basis to keep them healthy. 

how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant

Picking rosemary leaves correctly will ensure that you always have a fuller shrub every year. How to harvest rosemary without killing the plant? 

These harvesting tips work whether you are growing rosemary indoors or outdoors. Remember to be gentle, use clean scissors or shears, and not take too much off at once, and it will reward you with plenty of growth for many years to come.

I hope you found these tips on how to harvest rosemary without killing the plant are helpful and that you will be able to pick rosemary successfully without killing the plant.

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