Is rosemary hardy? So overwinter it in the pot / on the balcony

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Aromatic, spicy and healthy - Rosemary is now one of the most popular herbs in German gardens and is usually next to thyme and basil in the pot. Throughout the summer, the needle-like leaves of the Mediterranean plant can be harvested and added to different dishes for seasoning. However, when the days get shorter again, the hobby gardener should deal with the question of hibernation. In particular, if the plant is to be overwintered outdoors, appropriate measures must be taken to ensure that the rosemary bush survives the cold season unscathed.

Winterfest only in certain areas

Rosemary is a Mediterranean subshrub native to southern European countries and the Mediterranean, and prefers a sunny, warm climate. In winter, the plant enjoys hot and dry summers in its homeland and mild, rainy winter months. Since in many areas of Germany these conditions are not met and rosemary is only partially hardy, hibernation of the crop outdoors can be difficult; Therefore, the plant is winter hardy or conditionally hardy, because it is indeed able to overwinter in the situation, but this requires appropriate protection.
In addition, it is only possible in certain, winter-mild areas to bring the Mediterranean half-shrub outdoors through the cold season; here the temperatures do not drop below minus 10° C. Hibernation is therefore particularly successful in the northwestern lowlands, along the Lower Rhine and along the Rhine ditch. Here is worth the hibernation attempt outdoors especially.

Choice of variety and age - this is how rosemary becomes winter-proof

Whether the plants survive the winter unscathed depends not only on the area in which they are cultivated; In addition, variety selection also plays an important role. So today are more frost-resistant varieties in the trade, which make a safe wintering more likely. These include:
  • Arp
  • Salem
  • Hill Hardy
  • Veitshöchheim
  • Sudbury Gem
  • Madeleine's Hill
Tip: If these varieties are preferred, the frost hardness can be extended up to minus 20° C! The condition is, however, that these temperatures prevail only occasionally.
The age of the rosemary also plays a role in the attempt to overwinter the Mediterranean plant; so the chance to bring an old shrub successfully through the cold season is much higher than with a young plant; The older plants have a widely distributed root system that has already grown deep into the soil. As a rule of thumb, rosemary plants under three should not stay outdoors during the cold season.

Preparations for the cold season

Already when planting the rosemary should be thought of a later hibernation - especially if this is to take place outdoors. In loose and stony soil and in a sunny place, the plant thrives especially well; In this substrate, it is well prepared for the cold season and can hibernate easily. It has been proven to cultivate the plant in the pot so that it can be brought to a suitable location outdoors in winter.

Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis

In order to protect the above-ground parts of plants, it has proven to not only accumulate materials, but to provide the plant completely with a cover. It is essential to ensure that the material used is permeable to air. Especially suitable are:
  • Jute covers
  • Hoods made of plastic fleece
  • Bamboo mats fixed to racks
  • coconut carpets

Care in winter

During the cold season, the rosemary bush needs little care. Conditionally hardy, the plant has to be supplied with water every now and then - especially in strong sunlight. Just so much is being poured that the shrub will not dry out. The water must come off optimally after irrigation, so that no waterlogging arises.
Especially when the rosemary is covered with a hood, the regular ventilation must be done. On frost-free days, therefore, the cover is removed. On this occasion the plant should be examined for frost damage; In contrast, pests are not to be expected when hibernating outdoors.
Above all, during the cold season, no additional supply of nutrients is required to make the plant more sensitive.
It should also be noted that once the Rosemary shrub has been selected, it must be maintained throughout the winter season. A constant change between wintering outdoors and staying in the house damages the plant.Anyone who decides after the plant has spent a few weeks on the balcony, but still for the winter quarters in the interior, should then also remain with his decision. In the house, the herb begins to drive out again; a new change to the outdoors is then no longer advisable - especially because the plant, spoiled by the warm temperatures, then not as hardy as before the move to the house.

End of hibernation - remove winter cover and cut

The end of the hibernation is heralded when the temperatures gradually rise again in the spring. Then you can cut back the shrub. First, however, the cover is removed from the plant - initially only for a few hours to harden the plant. Even the leaves, mats and racks can be removed.

Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis

If you want to cut your rosemary down, you should make a generous cut - about 10 to 20 centimeters above the ground. The shrub drifts quickly again.
With the right care measures and safety precautions, the overwintering of the rosemary is easy - even if the plant presents itself only partially winter hardy. If the Mediterranean plant has successfully come over the winter, the hobby gardener can then look forward in the following year over a renewed expulsion of the tasty spice herb.

Video Board: How to Keep Fresh Herbs Alive over the Winter.

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