The complete guide to growing rosemary for home use and for profit

By Value Magazine Team on 8 January 2019 at 12:00 am

Rosemary is an evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It can grow anywhere in the world. It is used in cooking. Rosemary essential oil is used in cosmetic and medicinal products.

It can be grown in pots, green houses, gardens and farms. 

In this article we take an in depth look on growing rosemary for use at home and also cultivating rosemary for profit. We will also cover harvesting, processing and packaging

Rosemary Garden

Some facts about rosemary

  • Rosemary belongs to the mint family alongside oregano, lavender, basil, thyme and marjoram. Below are some facts about rosemary
  • Rosemary can grow up to 3 metres
  • Rosemary small bluish-purple flowers
  • Rosemary is a perennial plant.  It lives for more than 2 years
  • Rosemary can be harmful when taken in large doses
  • Rosemary preserves most of its flavor and nutrients when dried

History of rosemary

This aromatic herb derives its name from the Latin word Rosmarinus, meaning “mist of the sea”. It has been growing for ages in the world around the Mediterranean coast.  In ancient Greece, it was believed to have magical properties that could strengthen memory. It was scattered around the grave of a loved one, to send a message to that the deceased will never be forgotten. Between the 1400s and 1600s, rosemary was used as a symbol of fidelity, love and friendship where brides would give it grooms during the wedding ceremony. Brides would also wear rosemary wreaths to their wedding.  Rich couples would give each wedding guest with a rosemary twig.

In traditional medicine, rosemary was used for toothaches, headaches, gas relief and baldness. In 1987, researchers at a university in New Jersey were able to derive a food preservative known as rosmaridiphenol from rosemary.  The preservative is a stable antioxidant used in cosmetics and food packaging. Rosemary was named as the herb of the year in 2000 by the international herbs association

"Let this Rosemarinus, this flower of men, ensigne of your wisdom, love and loyaltie, be carried not only in your hands, but in your heads and hearts.”  - English poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Benefits of rosemary

The benefits of rosemary are derived from its component oils. These are categorized into phenolic acid derivatives, and phenolic diterpenes like 1,8-cineole, α-pinene, camphene, α-terpineol, borneol. Phenolic acid derivatives include rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid. Phenolic diterpenes include carnosal.

  • Rosemary boosts memory and improves brain function.
  • Rosemary helps in stress relief and improves mood.

        - It protects to brain from oxidative stress and excess stimulation 

  • Rosemary helps in boosting immunity.
  • Rosemary improves digestion, relieves gas and soothes the stomach.
  • Rosemary freshens breath.
  • Rosemary Stimulates blood flow.
  • Rosemary acts as a pain reliever.
  • Rosemary has anti-aging properties

         - This helps in slowing down skin aging.

  • Rosemary helps in detoxifying the body.
  • Rosemary has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
  • Rosemary helps in hair growth.
  • Rosemary helps in limiting weight gain.
  • Rosemary adds flavour to food, especially meats.
  • Rosemary plant acts as a mosquito and vermin repellant
Rosemary With Beef

How to grow rosemary at home

  • How to grow rosemary in containers

It is extremely hard to grow rosemary from seeds. Cuttings are the preferred method. For home use, it is recommended to buy the seedling from nurseries. It sells for between 20 KES to 50 KES ($0.2 to $0.5), depending on the location. If you would like to grow your own seedlings from cuttings, please see the section on “propagating rosemary” under “How to grow rosemary for profit”

Growing rosemary in pots is rather straightforward. It requires a wide pot of at least 12 inches in diameter. This ensures that the roots have enough space to spread. Otherwise, the plant will be stunted. Clay pots are the best, but you can use any type of container

Rosemary does not do well in waterlogged conditions. The soil you use must be well draining and the pot must have drainage holes to make sure water flows out of the pot. If the roots are waterlogged, they will rot, in turn killing the plant.

Rosemary grows well in full sun. Place the plant in your compound outside or patio/balcony where it can get maximum exposure to the sun.

Rosemary in pots should be watered well, but only when the soil is dry. To test, put your finger into the soil. If the top 1-2 inches is dry, then it is time to water your rosemary. It is recommended to let the soil dry completely in between each watering.


Rosemary seldom requires fertilization, but if the plant is turning yellow or is stunted, apply well-decomposed animal manure to give it the required nutrients. Alternatively, you can use commercial fertilizers.

When cutting rosemary twigs and leaves, make sure you cut the green young shoots and not the woody part. Give it enough time to sprout new fresh shoots. You can store the shoots in the refrigerator for 2-7 days. If you want them to last longer, hang them to dry in shade. When completely dry, you can store the leaves in airtight containers.

  • Gardening and Landscaping using rosemary

In addition to its culinary and medical benefits, rosemary can be used to add texture, color, form and aroma to your garden.  The tall varieties can be at the borders and short varieties used near walls and for creating green walls. This all-season herb can be shaped to fit into the design of your garden.

It attracts birds, bees and butterflies during the flowering season, creating a well-balanced natural ecosystem. These insects and birds help in pollination.

  • Rosemary hedge

Rosemary can be used as a hedge plant to define perimeters of outdoor rooms.  It is an excellent plant to define farm boundaries.

Given the repellant properties of rosemary, it can be planted alongside your vegetables to repel harmful pests in your organic garden.


Growing Rosemary for commercial purposes

The Market for Rosemary

According to Future Markets Insight,  the global market for rosemary is expected to grow to USD 1000 million by 2027. This growth is driven by the growing consumer inclination towards aromatherapy and preservatives, increasing rosemary extract demand in the nutraceutical (health supplements) industry, increasing use of rosemary in pet food and the growing personal care industry. 

Rosemary demand in the food industry includes application areas such as dairy products, bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits, sauces, dressings, and condiments. In the drinks industry, rosemary is being highly used in ready to drink teas and other drinks. In the personal care industry, rosemary demand is being driven by the increasing use in skincare, haircare, perfumes. Rosemary extracts are being used in both modern medicine and traditional healing such as Ayurveda. 

Rosemary can be sold fresh, direct to consumer, or in dried powder form. The rosemary farmer can opt for rosemary value addition in packaging dried rosemary, blending rosemary with other herbs and also extracting rosemary essential oil. 

Different Rosemary Varieties

Rosemary cultivars or varieties are divided into two major categories:

1. Upright Rosemary cultivars
2. Creeping rosemary cultivars

Upright rosemary cultivars, as the name suggests grow upright, with some growing tall while others remain short. 

Creeping rosemary varieties crawl along the ground as they grow, acting as ground cover They do not grow upright. 

Upright Rosemary cultivars

- Arp
- Collingwood Ingram/Ingramii/Benenden Blue
- Ken Taylor
- Boule
- Tuscan Blue
- Blue Spires
- Miss Jessup's Upright
- Golden Rain
- Majorca Pink/Spanish
- Pinkie
- Portuguese Pink // Portuguese Red
- White-flowered rosemary (R. officinalis "Albus")
- Lady in White / Nancy Howard
- Hill Hardy
- Tuscan Blue
- Pine scented rosemary
- Salem
- Blue boy
- Spice island
- common rosemary

Creeping rosemary cultivars

- Prostratus (prostrate rosemary)
- Huntington Carpet Rosemary
- Irene Rosemary



We will be expanding this content to include the following areas:-

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How to grow rosemary for profit

  • Yield per acre
  • Ideal growing conditions
  • Propagating rosemary from cuttings
  • Number of plants per acre
  • Water and nutrient requirements
  • pest
  • diseases
  • best practices
  • Harvesting

Adding value to rosemary for more profit

  • Extracting rosemary essential oil
  • Drying and packaging rosemary
  • Packaging dried rosemary leaves and essential oil


Hi, i'd like to receive updates on everything regarding:

The market for rosemary
Rosemary cultivars
Yield per acre
Ideal growing conditions
Propagating rosemary from cuttings
Number of plants per acre
Water and nutrient requirements
best practices

I wish to grow Rosemary for profit and I need full information pertaining the venture.

I want to grow rosemary for sale in USA. I have my place production in Jalisco Mexico

Starting a rosemary farming business: how to determin we the variety(ies) of plants for the various type of market uses, where to purchase the plants or seeds, and what volume of plants are needed to sell to companies?

I would like to receive a complete guide on commercial farming of Rosemary in Kenya

I would liketo get more updates about rosemary growing

I would like to get more updates on growing rosemary for profit.

Good article on plant with great medicinal properties. Thank you and keep me posted.

Hi. I wan to know everything about Rosemary growing. I i have started doing cuttings. Aldo thyme and mint and basil

Very informative,much appreciated the additional would be of great help

Am interested in commercial growing of Rosemary. So I need more info on growing it for profit

Please send all the additional information on growing Rosemary

I am interested in growing for profit. Could i please have more information.

I am interested in the commercial aspect of its growth. The value addition part.

I'm interested in commercial rosemary growing

how do I market rosemary in Uganda?

I would like information on commercial Rosemary farming.

I would like more how to grow rosemary for profit.

I want to grow Rosemary in Uganda for commercial purposes

Good information I would like to grow Rosemary for commercial please update me on the market, how to get cuttings.

i want to grow rosemary

Good, I want to grow for profit in Uganda I need details

I am preparing 20 acres to plant Rosemary pse advise on cost per seedling, yield per acre, and estimated sale price per acre. My farm is in Uganda

Kindly provide more information about commercial rosemary farming.I intend to start on a small piece of land first (1/8 th of an acre) as I learn about the venture.

Interested in farming rosemary as another income stream. Currently have pine nuts and Australian Native farm forestry.

I want to grow a lot of rosemary in Uganda. Where do I sell it in bulk? Thanks.

I am interested in rosemary farming here in Kenya Machakos County. Planing to 5 Acres. Kindly advice/provide information on commercial farming and how to get market.

Thanks but what is the current price for rosemary per kilo?

Awesome article. Where can I get market and rosemary cuttings to plant.

I want to grow Rosemary for commercial purposes in Kenya

how many seedlings go into an acre and how do I get Oil out of iy

Thanks for that great information.
How can I grow rosemary for commercial purposes. Give me more information about the type of soil, amount of rain, best zones to grow..
Kindly let me know the availability of the market and how I can connect with the buyers..

Uganda how much is harvested in a single acre.

Hi,l enjoyed reading this informative report on rosemary. I would like to grow the herb for commercial purposes..
Pamela, Kenya

Hi I would like to learn more about rosemary planting, how to care till growth, where to get cuttings and the market
Daniel from kiambu

Thanks for the information given.
I would like to be notified when you add more information about rosemary growing.
I would be very grateful if you shared with me more information.


I want to plant one acre in Jinja,could you kindly assure me the market of the fresh leaves,quotting the current price per kilogram

Very useful information here on Rosemary. Simple and clear for any would be interested rosemary farmer. Thank you

I would like to also plant a half acre of rosemary and if all goes well I go on to an acre and above.

Looks like growing Rosemary is the way to go.
I'm in love with it.
Deeply please.
I'll go for one acre.

I will appreciate More information on rosemary farming prosses , market ,and value addition kindly

Me too! Thanks for the article really helpful...please send me more details. I am looking to start a perfume company that manufactures its own oils.

i would like to get rosemary updates

Let me know on the new updates as and when they are available.

I wish to grow Rosemary for profit and I need full information pertaining the venture.

This is a very good article.I would like to know more about cultivation of the herb,yield per acre,plants per acre and general care for the herb.We appreciate the contributors for this information.

I have started planting Rosemary and I am looking for a costomer soon

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By Value Magazine Team

Value Magazine was founded in 2018 by Mutuku Ndeti, a farmer with interests in poultry, horticulture, and fruit farming. You can follow him on twitter here. The goal of Value Magazine is to offer beneficial content on agribusiness, value addition, manufacturing, and productivity.  We believe not only in producing but also adding value to the product. 

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