HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >


Best rosemary to grow for culinary use?

  • 8

Once again, my rosemary did not survive the winter and I need to start over. This time I'll plant it in the ground instead of a pot.

Which rosemary should I grow for culinary use?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I adore rosemary and have grown many "bushes" of it myself here in FL--one friend actually said hers was the size of a shrub!...was not aware of different varieties but am following this for new information! Thanks!

    1. I don't know where you live but in my eastern Massachusetts zone (6A) rosemary is an annual plant, not Winter hardy. If you want to start from seeds, and you're not in a warm climate, you're too late.. Buying rosemary starts from a nursery is the better way to go. Any rosemary plant at the nursery displayed in the Herb section is OK.


      ETA: Home Depot has wonderful herb plants.

      1. The best one I found for cooking was called 'Spice Island'. Unfortunately if you are buying your plants an not starting from seed some times there is not a lot of choice. Most nurseries bring in 'rosemary' and not specific varieties. Good luck on your hunt.

        1. I've given up on my rosemary surviving a MN winter, so every fall I cut it all back, and freeze it in a zip lock, and use it up until my new plant (typically from Home depot) is ready to go.

          1. Had no problems for several years growing rosemary in a pot and bringing it inside to a sunny room in the winter, but finally DW decided that she didn't use it much for cooking and needed the space, so now I just raise a plant from seed each year.

            1. I know this is a really late response, but I like upright varieties with wider leaves best for cooking.

              I too lost my rosemary plant this winter (it was quite cold for Sonoma last December). I was sad because it was a start I got from a friend about 20 years ago.

              If you are in an area that routinely gets cold, you might cut a few sprigs in the fall and root them (in water works fine), then you can plant them out in the spring and get to cutting size earlier than if you start from seed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dkenworthy

                Another bonus of growing upright varieties is being able to use the stems as kabob skewers once you've stripped the leaves.

              2. I am a member of a community garden in Brooklyn, NY and up until this past winter most of the rosemary plants have survived winters. I grew two different types in my cold frame that I started in November and both of them made it through the winter. One is a prostrate rosemary that grows close to the ground and the other one is a pretty basic rosemary plant, do not remember what kind. All my herbs made it through the harsh winter in the cold frame including lettuces and radishes!