Acclimating rosemary outdoors

– Posted in: Plant info

I don’t plant/dig/plant the rosemary plants I winter over–I feel it is too hard on them to repeatedly re-establish. So I keep them in pots, large enough for them to be comfortable in and small enough for me to winter inside feasibly. And carry! This also allows me to indulge in pretty pots for the porch. To harden them off, I start trooping them in & out about now so they spend some cool rainy days outside, then brighter sunny ones, then maybe not bringing them in overnight after a week or so. But as we can have sharp frosts (20’s or less) right into June I never put them farther than an arm’s reach from the door so I can snatch them back in even if I’m on my way to bed when I look at the thermometer. After a few weeks they don’t mind the frost and I can relax. I’ve even had lemon grass come back after a 26 degree night! Now I don’t put the tropicals out until June. I got a lemon & a blood orange plant this winter and they will go out on the porch with the other babies this year. The lemon is flowering now and it is glorious!

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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