Rosemary Tree For Christmas: How To Care For A Rosemary Christmas Tree

Kids Placing Ornaments On A Potted Rosemary Tree
(Image credit: GarrettAndrewChong)

It's Christmas time again and maybe you are looking for another decorating idea, or you live in a small apartment and just don't have the room for a full size Christmas tree. Of late, rosemary Christmas tree plants have become popular nursery or grocery store items. Not only is rosemary used as a Christmas tree a festive ornamental for the season, but it is predominantly disease and pest resistant, aromatic, a culinary treasure, and responds beautifully to pruning to maintain the shape. Additionally, a rosemary tree for Christmas can be planted in the garden to wait for the following holiday season while maintaining its role as an indispensable herb.

How to Create a Rosemary Tree for Christmas

With the burgeoning popularity of rosemary as a Christmas tree, you can easily purchase one for use during the holidays. However, if you have a bit of a green thumb, it's also fun to know how to create a rosemary tree for Christmas. If you aren't a big fan of rosemary, other herbs such as Greek Myrtle and Bay Laurel are also suitable for small living Christmas trees. Initially, the purchased rosemary tree has a lovely pine shape but over time as the herb matures, it outgrows those lines. It is very easy to prune the rosemary to help it maintain its tree shape. Take a picture of the rosemary Christmas tree, print it out, and draw an outline of the tree shape you wish the herb to have with a permanent marker. You'll notice that outside of the marker lines there are branches. These are the branches that need to be pruned back to regain the tree shape. Use your photo as a template to show you where to prune, clipping the branches all the way to their base near the trunk of the rosemary. Don't leave nubs, as this will stress the herb out. Continue to prune every three to four weeks to maintain the desired shape.

Care for a Rosemary Christmas Tree

Keeping a rosemary tree for Christmas is extremely simple. Continue with the pruning schedule and mist the herb after pruning. Keep the plant in a sunny window or outside in full sun. Keeping rosemary for Christmas healthy requires regular watering. Rosemary plants are drought tolerant, but this doesn't mean they need no water. It is difficult to tell when to water rosemary as it doesn't wilt or drop leaves as other plants do when in need of water. The general rule is to water every week or two. The rosemary Christmas tree will have to be repotted at some point or planted outdoors until the following Christmas. Keep shaping the plant from spring through fall and then bring indoors again. Repot in a larger clay pot to aid in water retention with a lightweight potting mix that provides good drainage.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.