7 Facts about Rosemary: Complete Guide

In this blog we’ll show you the characteristics of rosemary, its main types, properties, history, main exporters and importers, how it is cultivated and some products made from this plant. Don’t miss it!  

What is rosemary and what are its characteristics?     

Scientific nameSalvia Rosmarinus
Common nameRosemary
Place of originEurope and Africa
HabitatSandy, dry and water resistant soils. Sunny locations.
DistributionMediterranean region (see section on top exporters of rosemary in the world for more information).

Characteristics of rosemary 

Rosemary belongs to the Lamiaceae genus. It has no fruit so, from the beginning, when it is cultivated, you can see how the rosemary plant itself acts as a fruit.

It is a plant formed by a few elongated stems in the form of a green or brown bush that can reach 2 meters high with a series of small leaves with a maximum thickness of 2 to 3 millimeters, dark green on the outside and light green on the back that measures 1.5 to 3 centimeters in length. This plant is characterized by its strong aroma.

The plant’s flowers can be white, purple, blue or pink. They grow in clusters and are bell-shaped. These flowers reach a maximum of 5 millimeters in length.

Types of rosemary 

There are 13 types or varieties of rosemary, namely:

  1. Arp
  2. Salem
  3. Blue Boy
  4. Spice island
  5. Toscana Blue
  6. Joyce de Baggio
  7. Madeline Hill
  8. Pine scented rosemary
  9. Rosemary pink
  10. Rosemary vertical
  11. White rosemary
  12. Creeping
  13. Dancing waters

Today we’ll focus on the first 6 types as they are the main ones.


It forms a 3-5 ft. tall and 2-3 ft. wide sturdy shrub. It grows in average, well-drained soils. It has good resistance against cold. It gets its name from the newspaper publisher Arp who came from a town with the same name.


One thing that distinguishes this type of rosemary, which grows vertically, is the presence of small, blue flowers and because it can grow very large. For this reason, it is useful either as a decorative plant or to be used in the kitchen. It can reach up to 1 meter in height and width. This variety needs a lot of sunlight and a more humid environment than other types of rosemary. Soil with adequate drainage is also necessary for this rosemary.

Blue Boy 

This is one of the creeping types of rosemary that rarely grows more than 5 meters tall. Like most rosemary bushes, it has edible blue flowers and its leaves have a strong scent. If kept in the right conditions, it can live for many decades. It needs little water to grow.

Spice Island 

This rosemary can grow more than 70 centimeters tall, and for this reason, it is often used in the kitchen or to decorate small gardens. It is one of the most pungent flavored rosemary, so it should be used sparingly if you are not used to this spice.


This variety is also creeping, although it is most commonly grown in baskets and other hanging containers. This rosemary blooms most effectively in hot temperatures because it needs a good deal of daily light.

Baggio’s Joyce 

This rosemary is also known by the names “golden rain” or in English “Golden rain” since when spring and autumn arrive, its leaves turn a bright yellow tone. However, once in summer, they return to a dark green tone, which indicates that they are in good condition.

Properties and benefits of rosemary 

Rosemary nutritional profile 

We invite you to see the nutritional table of rosemary per 100g, taken from Vegaffinity.

CompositionQuantity (gr)CDR(%)
MineralsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
VitaminsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
Vitamin A0.3134.8%
Vitamin B10.541.7%
Vitamin B200%
Vitamin B310%
Vitamin B1200%
Vitamin C5055.6%

5 properties of rosemary that you should take advantage of 

Rich in manganese 

Rosemary is high in manganese, an essential nutrient for metabolic health. Manganese helps the body form blood clots, which enables injuries to heal faster.

It significantly prevents cancer 

Rosemary contains carnosic acid, a compound known for its powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have found that carnosic acid can slow the growth of cancer cells in the body and even reduce the risk of developing tumors.

Immune system support 

Studies have shown that rosemary’s carnosic and rosmarinic acids have powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Regular consumption of rosemary can potentially help reduce the risk of infection and help your immune system fight off any infections you have.  

It reduces stress 

Although further research is needed, preliminary studies indicate that rosemary has a positive impact on reducing anxiety and stress. In a randomized trial conducted on college students, rosemary was found to improve students’ sleep quality and reduce their anxiety levels compared to a placebo.

It improves memory and concentration 

Rosemary has been used for centuries as a memory aid, and studies of rosemary aromatherapy have corroborated some of these claims. In one study, significant improvements in cognitive performance were found within 20 minutes of inhaling rosemary essential oil.

History and origin of rosemary 

This plant has originated in the southern part of Mediterranean Europe, in the northern part of the African continent and only a few varieties in the minor Asian continent. Rosemary has had great symbolic importance since ancient Greece because, in this country, some special powers were attributed to it.

The use of rosemary dates back to the ancient Egyptians, where there is evidence that King Ramses III offered 125 branches of rosemary to the god Amun in Thebes. In ancient Greece, rosemary was valued for its supposed ability to strengthen the brain and memory: students took rosemary to improve their memory and wore rosemary garlands when studying for exams.

The plant has been used as a symbol of remembrance during war memorials and funerals in Europe and Australia and is planted around graves in much of Europe. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There is rosemary, it is for remembrance. Please, love, remember.”

During medieval times, the French used rosemary to embalm the dead. It was also worn by visitors to English prisons as a precaution against typhus. During plague years, sprigs of rosemary leaves would be inserted into the hollow heads of the canes carried by doctors.

Global rosemary industry 

Meet the top exporters and importers of rosemary in the world.   

Top exporters of rosemary in the world in 2020 

In the following chart, you can see the top 10 countries that exported more rosemary in 2020 according to FAO. On the other hand, it also gives information on the monetary volume in exports of these countries, specifically in U.S. dollars. Let’s see what they are:

Top importers of rosemary in the world in 2020

In 2020, $3.06 billion worth of rosemary was imported around the world. The top importers of rosemary according to FAO for this year were the ones you will see in the following chart. On the other hand, it also provides information on the monetary volume of imports from these countries, specifically in U.S. dollars in 2020. Let’s see what they are:

How is rosemary cultivated?   

A number of requirements must be taken into account in order to grow this plant. Below, we show them: What are they?   


This crop requires clayey, dry, somewhat acidic, and well-drained soil. The ideal pH for the soil is between 6.0 and 7.0. One of its peculiarities is that rosemary adapts very well to soils with little organic matter.


Rosemary needs a considerable amount of sunlight (between 6 and 8 hours per day), for this reason, warm and dry climates with temperatures between 20°C and 30°C are good for this crop. Rosemary cannot tolerate temperatures below -1°C.

Rosemary planting method 

Cultivation from cuttings 

The best time to take rosemary cuttings is in spring after the plant has flowered. However, many gardeners have had success in summer and fall, as long as the plant is not actively flowering.

Simply cut the non-flowering shoots (3 to 5 inches will be needed) just below a branching point or leaf node. It is important to use a clean, sharp blade or pruning shears.

If the cuttings cannot be planted immediately, they can be stored for a short time in a sealed plastic bag out of direct sunlight.


To root rosemary cuttings, remove most of the lower leaves and push these clean stems into a sandy compost that contains a high proportion of vermiculite. Several cuttings are placed in a larger pot or seed tray, inserting one per module.

Many gardeners first dip the stems in rooting hormone powder to speed up this process and ensure that more plants grow successfully. This is not essential but can increase the chances of stronger, disease-free plants.


Freshly planted cuttings are to be watered, then placed in a propagator, a cold frame, or on the edge of a window. Check regularly to make sure the soil is constantly moist and never dries out.

In about 4 weeks, check the cuttings to see if they have begun to root. To do this, you can give them a very gentle tug, and if you feel resistance it means that roots have formed and the cuttings are ready for planting.

Growing from seed 

Growing rosemary from seed can be a good idea if you are patient and want lots of plants, perhaps to create a vegetable garden. However, germination of this plant takes a while and has a low success rate, so it is recommended to sow four times as many seeds as you usually plant.

They should be started indoors at least three months before the growing season begins. Use well-drained compost, ideally with plenty of vermiculite or perlite.

The mixture should be moistened, but not soaked. Then sprinkle the seeds and cover them with a light layer of potting mix. Then the surface should be sprinkled with water and placed in a propagator or covered with a plastic bag or wrap.

As soon as seedlings start to appear, about 14 to 28 days later, the cover is removed. Place the seedlings in a warm place with direct sunlight and keep the soil moist.

Once the seedlings are at least 3 inches tall, they can be potted or, if the weather is warm enough, planted outside.

Growing rosemary indoors 

If you live in a very cold area or have no garden, you can grow rosemary indoors. It is certainly best to start plants indoors, but once they are trained, they can also be kept within reach for culinary use.

Rosemary that is grown indoors will need a sunny spot, such as a window sill or sunroom.  Stems will still need to be harvested for cooking to keep the plant at a manageable size.

Growing rosemary in pots 

To grow rosemary in pots, choose a pot at least 12 inches in diameter with good-sized drainage holes. Always use well-drained soil wherever you are planting rosemary, incorporating a little sand with the compost. Do not overwater and fertilize only after flowering.

Special care 

Avoid overwatering as rosemary comes from a purely dry climate. The crop should be fed with additional nitrogen fertilizer for good leaf production. It is a good idea to mulch it to suppress weeds and retain some moisture in the summer.

The main challenges that can affect rosemary are frost damage and rosemary beetle. Frost damage can be avoided by covering plants with fleece or bringing them inside during the winter. If damage occurs, affected stems can be cut back.

When rosemary beetles are present, it is best to remove them by hand before they increase in numbers, as they can remove leaves from plants if left unattended. Plants should be checked regularly for the presence of beetles.

Fungal diseases 

Another potential problem is a fungal disease, which thrives in moist conditions. The plant should be helped to resist fungal infections by maintaining good air circulation around and through the bush.

Harvesting rosemary 

Place the rosemary in individual containers, using loam-based compost. Keep watering, and when the roots fill the container, place it back into a larger pot. The rosemary plants should be ready to be planted in their final positions in the garden the following spring.

Growing Time 

It takes about a year for a new rosemary plant to go from seed to its final outdoor position. This can be shortened to about six months by growing rosemary from cuttings.

Post harvesting rosemary 

To maintain rosemary, an occasional prune can be used as this crop benefits from prune nutrients. It requires little attention, needing pruning only once a year. Plants can be cut back after the winter flowers are finished, but can also be pruned in the fall.

Uses and products made from rosemary

Rosemary is commonly used for tea or infusions, so people often consume it in this form. However, there are other types of industrial products made from this plant, so it can be said that it is used fresh or processed. Some products made from rosemary have also been launched in the market, such as the ones we’ll show you below.

Handmade products made with rosemary 

Cleaning spray 

This spray was devised to prevent you and your family members from damaging your skin by using harmful chemicals commonly found in the cleaning substances you find in the supermarket and that can lead to allergic reactions. To create this cleanser you only need rosemary, water, and orange peels. This spray will not only clean your home, but it will also leave a very pleasant fragrance.

Rosemary Shampoo 

This shampoo is said to prevent you from growing gray hair because it is a dye made by nature. It also prevents other hair-related ailments such as hair loss, dandruff, and dullness. It also has very good antibacterial benefits that clean both hair and scalp.

Rosemary soap 

Rosemary soap has no comparison, not only does it have a quite peculiar fragrance, but it is highly recommended for skin care, particularly if we are talking about oily skin or with acne. On the other hand, this plant also diminishes the signs of aging in the skin due to its antioxidant properties.

Rosemary alcohol 

This alcohol is an incredible way to eliminate cellulite. It is also a very good natural medicine to combat muscle affection. To obtain it you just have to crush rosemary and put it in alcohol, it is usually applied topically to combat skin ailments, and circulatory or muscle pains.

Rosemary body  lotion

This body cream is characterized by its refreshing, moisturizing and toning effect, and not only for that but for fighting cellulite, as well as rosemary alcohol. It has other benefits for the skin including anti-inflammatory and healing properties, stimulates the circulatory system, and has elements such as rosmarinic acid that support the process of production of new cells. If you use this cream constantly, you’ll notice how your skin is more and more hydrated.


Rosemary is one of the most important plants worldwide; it is widely consumed for its many benefits which include memory stimulation, concentration, and the state of tranquility in people and for the variety of products that can be made with it. We hope that this blog has taught you more about rosemary and that you will not hesitate to consume it in all its presentations so that you can enjoy its benefits firsthand.