Cut rosemary and dry properly

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Rosemary harvested

As a classic among spice, medicinal and ornamental plants rosemary thrives as a subshrub. This trait implies that the plant grows in the lower regions, while the herbaceous shoot tips deliver the desired herbal harvest and produce a splendid flower. In the professional care protocol the cut represents a horticultural challenge. Choosing the right time is just as important as the cut itself. Moreover, the cut material needs to be properly stored for best quality. Read how to cut rosemary and dry it properly.

The right time

There are various occasions when the hobby gardener takes to the scissors to cut his rosemary bush. First of all, the focus is on the harvest of aromatic leaves to supply the kitchen. In addition, the subshrub calls for an annual conservation cut, so that does not verkahlt from the inside. Last but not least, the Mediterranean herbal plant adopts the shape of a decorative high-stemmed stump with the help of a targeted cutting technique. In practice, the following dates have proved to be advantageous:
  • Harvest cut for fresh consumption or for drying: From the end of April in the midday hours, when the dew has dried
  • Molding: in conjunction with each harvest
  • Conservation cut: Late autumn or early spring
  • Rejuvenation cut: Preferably at the beginning of budding
  • Educational Section: Over the entire growing season
As a further motive for a cut is the rejuvenation of a neglected rosemary bush into consideration, to breathe new life. If a form and maintenance cut has been missed for several years, the months January and February are the best time for a rejuvenation cut.
tip: Has it rained extensively in the days before, the date for the cut should be postponed. Both the aroma and the drying ability of rosemary are significantly affected by moisture.

harvest section

Harvest rosemary

Aromatic pleasure is promised not only by the evergreen, needle-like leaves, but also by the sky-blue flowers. If you keep the habitus in the back of your head as part of the harvest of rosemary, the procedure is professional. Ideally you will not only cut off individual needle leaves, but cut whole branches to just above the lignified area. Please note that rosemary from the old wood is difficult or impossible to cast out again. Therefore, leave 0.5 to 1 cm of the herbaceous trunk on the branch, as it sprouts new branches with fresh leaves and new flowers. The flowers themselves are not cut, but picked.
tip: For the cutting of rosemary only freshly sharpened, meticulously disinfected with cutting tools are used.


As a rosemary shrub adorns the balcony and garden at the same time, prudent hobby gardeners combine every crop passage with a topiary. How to do it right:
  • As part of the harvest, repeatedly step back several steps to decide on the way forward
  • The natural growth form in round, oval or columnar silhouette possible retained
  • Cut out shoots that have grown out of the mold
The added expense of a crop cut associated with the harvest is rewarded with a dense, bushy growth and low lignification. The herbaceous shoot tips linger too long on the Mediterranean subshrub, lignify within a short time and discard the leaves. With a regular inter-annual cut you keep this tendency of the herb plant under control and have many years of joy in the historic spice, medicinal and aromatic plant.

preservation section

With floral stubbornness a rosemary shrub strives to lignify as quickly as possible. Since this tendency runs at the expense of an evergreen foliage and blossom costume, hobby gardeners are just as vehemently against it. In addition to the harvest and shape cut during the year, an annual conservation cut contributes to this. Here's how to do it:
  • In the winter overwintered specimens shorten by at least one third in the spring
  • Cut off all frozen shoot tips around
  • Cut off all deadwood at the base and clear it thoroughly
In the end, the plant should thrive again airy and loose, with the sun reaching into the deepest regions. If a rosemary settles in the autumn in a bright, frost-free winter quarters, the conservation cut can be carried out beforehand. This makes sense, especially if the room is crowded with other winter guests anyway.

rejuvenation pruning

dried rosemary

It quickly happens that a rosemary shrub falls out of the field of view of regular garden maintenance. In particular, winter hardy varieties that thrive in the bed, sometimes fall into oblivion and are not consistently cut back.The result is a withered bush, which in the best case still thrives in the extreme tips with leaves or scattered flowers. However, it would be premature to clear the plant, because there is hope for a renewed growth. If the winter has said goodbye with its ground frosts and the new sprouting is imminent, bring the shriveled shrub back to life. For this purpose, cut off all branches up to 10 cm above the ground and fertilize generously with compost and horn shavings. In the following years, the horticultural patience is put to the test, because with a renewed growth, the plant can take time until next year.

education section

Conjure a decorative high-stemmed stalk from a rosemary shrub to adorn the balcony and garden with its evergreen leaf dress and perennial, wonderfully fragrant flowers. The plan succeeds so uncomplicatedly:
  • On a two-year plant select the strongest branch for the tribe
  • Cut off all outgoing side shoots
  • Place the scissors as close to the trunk as possible so that no coat hooks are created
While the main engine thrives to the desired height, consistently cut off every new lateral and base drift. Only then cut off the top, whereupon a lush branching begins. Define 3 to 4 leaders, which in turn are animated by a cut to the branch. In this way you educate the subshrubs over the years to a magnificent Hochstamm.


Although rosemary is suitable for the preparation of many cold and warm dishes, a lovingly cultivated shrub regularly provides excess clippings - far too good for disposal on the compost. How good that the Mediterranean aroma artist can dry so well for a long shelf life. Several procedures are available for selection, which we will explain in more detail below:

air drying

Herbal air dry

Dry Air is a free preservative, with no chemical additives. Although it takes some time for the herb branches to dry, hobby gardeners have favored this variety for generations. The cut shoots bind with Bastband to small bouquets and hang them upside down in a breezy, not too bright place. Every now and then check the binding material, as it loosens, because the moisture escapes from the branches. After 2 to 3 weeks, the process is complete. Now strip off the aromatic needles to store them in the dark glass until ready to use.
tip: Do not hang rosemary bouquets in the kitchen to dry. The various edible scents falsify the typical herbal aroma in the long run. Better suited are the loft or a basement room.

In the oven

If air drying takes too long, the oven works in a drying device for herbs. It's that easy
  • Rinse the rosemary sprigs under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel
  • Lay out a baking sheet with baking paper to distribute the shoots
  • Preheat the oven to 40-50 degrees in recirculation mode
  • Insert the baking tray in the middle and leave it there for 2 to 3 hours
  • Do not close the oven door completely, but pinch a wooden spoon or cork
Check the herb branches repeatedly during the process. Properly dried they can not bend anymore. From the cooled branches peel off the needles to store them in a light and airtight container.

In the dehydrator

In the private kitchen, the purchase of a dehydrator for the preservation of fruits and vegetables proves to be more profitable. For the drying of rosemary a dehydrator is also well suited. The washed and dry spotted branches spread out loosely on the sieve plates so that they cover up to 90 percent of the surface. Then set the Dehydrator to 45 to 50 degrees Celsius. The integrated heater with blower removes the moisture from the herbs within a few hours. If the branches take on a brittle consistency, the dehydrator has done its job. As with all other procedures, pluck or peel the needle leaflets and place them in a dry, opaque container.
A regular cut is one of the mainstays of professional care for rosemary. Cut the evergreen shoots not only for the harvest, but give the Mediterranean herb plant in the same train a neat shape. In addition, clear the plant thoroughly in the spring and cut all branches back by at least one third. If you are confronted with a neglected, overgrown herbal shrub, a spirited rejuvenation cut will do wonders up to 10 cm. As part of the various cutting measures, a supply of rich branches, which can be dried with simple means. Dry rosemary as a bouquet in the air, spread out on the baking sheet in the oven or in a convenient dehydrator for a long shelf life.

Video Board: How to Cut and Dry Rosemary.

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