Rosemary tree whole foods

Rosemary christmas tree whole foods

qeyacu.happynewyear2020travel.info: rosemary christmas tree. Skip to main content. Best Sellers Gift Ideas New Releases Whole Foods Today’s Deals AmazonBasics Coupons Gift Cards Customer Service Free Shipping Shopper Toolkit Registry Sell. of results for “rosemary . Best Sellers Gift Ideas New Releases Whole Foods Today’s Deals AmazonBasics Coupons Gift Cards Customer Service Free Shipping Shopper Toolkit Registry Sell. HASK TEA TREE OIL AND ROSEMARY Shampoo and Conditioner Set for all hair types, color safe, gluten free, sulfate free, paraben free – 1 Shampoo and 1 Conditioner. Nov 27, · I believe that just like Home Depot and Lowes, Whole Foods buys truck loads of trees that are cut sometime in late October and shipped to distribution centers where they are trucked to the stores. This means that the tree you are purchasing was cut 4 to 5 Author: Allison Burch. Buy National Rosemary Tree 6 Inch Wild Look. (each) online and have it delivered to your door in as fast as 1 hour. Your first Delivery is free. Try it today! See terms. Rosemary Christmas trees (or any other herbal topiary) have been grown in virtually perfect conditions, just waiting to be placed on retail shelves across the country. The smell alone is enough to convince any shoppers that one of these beauties needs to come home and live on the table.

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Rosemary Christmas trees or any other herbal topiary have been grown in virtually perfect conditions, just waiting to be placed on retail shelves across the country. The smell alone is enough to convince any shoppers that one of these beauties needs to come home and live on the table.

The problem is, the moment they leave the warm, perfect greenhouses that they were created in, it’s all downhill from there. They can be grown at home if you have a little bit of luck and they haven’t been waiting too long to be purchased.

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If your weather is unseasonably warm, or you are lucky enough to see the topiaries within the first day or so of their arrival to the retail store, you may be lucky enough to get healthy rosemary.

No matter what the weather, but especially if it is cold, have the store wrap your rosemary in a bag so it doesn’t get a shock when going from the store to your vehicle.

Also, go directly home and don’t allow the rosemary to sit in fluctuating temperatures while you shop. Once you get your rosemary topiary home, remove the wrapping and check out the condition of the potting soil and roots.

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If needed, re-pot accordingly. If nothing else, your topiary will probably be dry. Once the plants get into your care, place it on a small dish of pebbles and water lightly.

Care for your rosemary like any other houseplant that needs plenty of light.

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The perfect shape should last throughout the holiday season, but after that, you will have to trim back to your preferred shape as it starts to grow out a bit. How do you know if your rosemary is starting to suffer, and can it be saved?

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  • Some signs that your rosemary is not doing well include:. Shriveled leaves: If you find that your rosemary is starting to look shriveled and even a bit silvery colored, it is dried out. It may be too late, but you can try to recover it by removing any foil wrapping and placing in a sink with 1 inch of tepid water.

    O rosemary, my rosemary

    Allow the plant to soak up moisture for 30 minutes or so. It will not be dripping, and the top may even still be a bit dry feeling. Allow the pot to drip any excess water before re-wrapping in the foil, and place back into the bright sunlight. You will know if this worked within a couple of days.

    Browning leaves or leaves falling off when the plant is moved: This plant is too far gone. You may be able to save part of the plant but not the shape.

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    If you want to try to save the rosemary plant itself, prune back to living wood you may not find any and water with a light fertilizer-like worm compost or Bits of cotton or webbing is starting to show: In a word; mites. If you have what looks like tiny tufts of cotton or spider webs on your rosemary branches, it means you have a mite infestation.

    How to Keep a Rosemary Christmas Tree Alive

    These mites probably came in on the plant, and it is not worth the effort to try and remove them. We recommend throwing the plant away and starting new. Read More.

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

    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 trees 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 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.

    Simple DIY Rosemary Christmas Tree

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been bugging my husband about getting a small tree for our upstairs. We have our gorgeous fake tree up and shining downstairs, but I really want another tree to enjoy when we aren’t in the play room.

    I didn’t want to spend a lot but I was also determined. I went to Trader Joe’s the other day and saw a really pretty Rosemary plant shaped like a tree. Well, I had gotten a Rosemary plant there months ago and it was still thriving. Perhaps a bit ragged and uneven (#1 in the numbered picture below), but I decided it would do just fine!

    **This post includes affiliate links. If you are to make a purchase through the links, I will get a commission. I do not recommend things I do not love.**

    I brought it in from outside and very carefully placed it on some plastic. I trimmed and trimmed (2 below) until I was happy with the shape.

    Pro-tip, start small. You can always trim off more, but you can never put a piece back.

    Once I was done trimming I found a giant platter to put under the Rosemary. Ideally, I would have a pot platter specifically for my pot, but I had to use what I had on hand. Because remember, this is a live plant and it needs to be watered. And you do not want to water it without anything underneath to catch the water. Been there, done that.

    On top of the platter, I put a layer of plastic, then my newly shaped Christmas tree (3).

    I used a giant green tablecloth to act as the tree skirt because I didn’t have another one and I had a lot to hide, the giant purple pot and all of the plastic (4).

    Then I added lights. And of course, next up are the ornaments. I let the kiddos take over for that part.

    Super easy!!

    You may be left with a lot of Rosemary trimmings. If so, there are a ton of things you can do with it. But, just to name a few, you could:

    -Cook a delicious meal with it. I love Rosemary with lamb, but that’s me.

    -Use it as a garnish in a Holiday cocktail.

    -Use it as a garnish for a meal.

    -Use it to decorate an anti pasta plate.

    -Make a simple place setting decor.
    -Attach it to gifts to add a nice little touch.

    -If you have enough, you can make a wreath.

    -Or you can even add it to your fake tree to add a nice bit of fragrance.

    Do you have second tree in your house? Have you ever decorated with Rosemary? Please share your ideas below!!

    If you liked this post, you may also enjoy:

    Toddler Friendly DIY Ornaments.

    Easy DIY Wreath

    Antipasti in Italian roughly translates to: yummy little first courses. This trio package gives you all the cheese, vegetables, and salty goodness to satisfy guests while they wait for the chili, including feta, asiago, olives, artichokes, and peppers. You can take it straight from the refrigerator to the serving table.

    Sourdough Baguette, $2.49

    View photos Courtesy of Paul SchrodtMore

    Trader Joe’s flexes its California spirit with this pungent sourdough, which gained its U.S. foothold through San Francisco baking. It’s properly crusty on the outside. Serve it with the antipasti, and if any remains, with the chili.

    Chips and Two Salsas, $5.97

    View photos Courtesy of Paul SchrodtMore

    Mexican food may not be everyone’s idea of Christmas, but nothing looks quite as seasonal as red and green salsas alongside a bag of extra-crispy tortilla chips. About those chips: Go for Trader Joe’s restaurant-style white corn tortilla chips ($1.99), which deliver the thick crunch of a proper Mexican restaurant’s chips and are seasoned with the right amount of salt and lime. The mild salsa verde ($1.99) and slightly hotter red “Autentica” salsa ($1.99) are simple, as they should be. And the salsa verde shouldn’t offend anyone who’s heat-averse.

    Pimento Cheese Puffs, $4.99

    View photos Courtesy of Paul SchrodtMore

    Pimento cheese remains one of the most underrated joys to come out of Southern cuisine. Trader Joe’s has stuffed this pepper-laced cheddar and mayo concoction into seasonal puff pastries topped with caramelized onion and uncured bacon, ensuring that 99.9% of the human population will fall in love with them. They’re ideal appetizers for guests getting antsy about their empty stomachs while smelling the fragrant chili cooking. But instead of heating them according to the directions (straight out of the freezer), let them thaw first, then put them in a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven on a lined baking sheet. Remove after 10 minutes, or until golden brown and not yet exploding with cheese.

    Carne Asada Chili, $24.12

    View photos Courtesy of Paul SchrodtMore

    Skip marinating meat with Trader Joe’s economical pre-marinated carne asada. The hefty log of sirloin beef in the refrigerated meat section is flavored with orange juice and spices, and comes in around 1.5 pounds (which rings in at about $15). Browning it quickly on high heat first locks in flavor and adds texture, before the beef mingles with broth and other chili ingredients for a slow-and-low cook that brings out even more flavor and makes the meat incredibly tender. You can also do this recipe (after browning the meat over the stovetop) in a pressure or slow cooker.

    View photos Courtesy of Paul SchrodtMore

    Ingredients:

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1.5 pound (roughly) carne asada steak, chopped into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 15.5-ounce can Great Northern beans
    • 1 quart (4 cups) beef broth
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Garnish:

    • Plain Greek yogurt
    • 1/2 cup chopped green onion

    Fill a large pot with oil and place over high heat. Add steak chunks and brown for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to low. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Throw in garlic and saute for about three minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except garnish, increase heat, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease heat to low (the lower the better). Simmer, covered, for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until chili is thick but still plenty moist. If it gets dry, add more broth (Trader Joe’s sells broth in 2-quart cartons).

    Serve each bowl of chili with a generous spoonful of Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of chopped green onion. Top with salsa for extra heat if desired.

    Yellow Brown Rice, $2.99

    View photos Courtesy of Paul SchrodtMore

    Brown rice has a nutty flavor and more fiber than white rice. Trader Joe’s sells already cooked frozen brown rice in boxes of three 10-ounce packages for a few bucks each. It just needs to be warmed up in a matter of minutes. I do it in a rice cooker for ease and add 1 tbsp of water so it doesn’t dry out, but the stovetop works, too. I also throw in 3 tsp of turmeric spice to add a bright yellow color. (Rice just looks better when it’s yellow.)

    Champagne Punch, $22.37

    Eggnog out of the carton is, well, not very good. The phrase “sludge-like” comes to mind. It’s also a pain to make by hand (i.e., the right way). Champagne is perfect for any occasion celebratory or otherwise, and punch always makes party guests perk up. The trick is to impress with a giant piece of homemade ice in the punch bowl. The day before your get-together, fill up 3/4 of a smaller steel bowl with water and cover in the freezer. When ready to make the punch, pop it out by pouring warm water on the bottom of the bowl over the sink, keeping your hand on the ice so it doesn’t drop down into the sink.

    Trader Joe’s is known for its absurdly affordable wines, though there are some clear winners. The magnum-sized (equivalent to two regular bottles so you can fix up a second batch of the punch) Incanto Prosecco ($11.99) and Pierre Duchene Napoleon brandy ($9.99) are drinkable on their own but work better in a punch where they’re softened by everything else.

    This punch, especially with the large ice (which melts more slowly than small cubes), is boozy, so be sure to add the extra water in case your guests over-serve themselves.

    Ingredients:

    • 750ml (equivalent to 1 normal bottle) sparkling wine
    • 4 ounces brandy
    • 1 cup water
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon (first slicing zest off of whole lemon for garnish)
    • Giant hunk of ice

    Garnish:

    • Slices of 1/2 lemon zest
    • Ground nutmeg

    Place ice in a large punch bowl. Add lemon juice, water, brandy, and sparkling wine. Gently stir. Throw on an artful smattering of lemon zest slices and nutmeg.

    When your guests inevitably drain the punch, make a second batch using the remaining ice in the bowl.

    Dark Chocolate Orange, $2.99

    View photos Courtesy of Paul SchrodtMore

    There’s no shame in avoiding an elaborate and pricey pie. Dark chocolate and orange is a classic combination, and Trader Joe’s chocolate balls are cheap and extremely shareable. Just punch down that orange and spread out the slices on a plate. Pair with the extra brandy from the champagne punch. Your guests won’t ever want to leave.

    How to make rosemary Christmas trees

    If you think a rosemary plant conveniently resembles our modern day Christmas tree, you’re bang on the money. However, this robust mediterranean herb also carries a historical meaning for remembrance and affection making it the perfect plant to express the significance of the festive season.

    With its strong aromatic scent and evergreen foliage, a potted rosemary plant can be used as a table decoration, or welcome display at the front door. And when it grows larger you can also dress it with fairy lights.

    They make great gifts! Image: supplied.

    As a gift, a rosemary plant offers more than just its appearance because this herb is easy to grow and will soon become a valuable addition to a kitchen garden.

    Rosemary sticks can be used as kebab skewers, and there is nothing quite like fresh rosemary leaves on lamb or sprinkled over baked vegetables. Yum!

    To make your rosemary Christmas tree gifts

    We decided to use a variety of pots, including some we painted ourselves. If you already have an established rosemary plant like us, taking cuttings is a very cost effective option to make your Christmas tree gifts. Otherwise, you can purchase rosemary as seedlings from your local nursery.

    Look at how unique each one can be! Image: supplied.

    What you’ll need:

    • Terracotta pots
    • Various other pots
    • Acrylic paint (white and metallic)
    • Egg carton as a paint tray
    • Mod podge outdoor sealer paint
    • Propagating mix
    • Rosemary cuttings
    • Chalkboard
    • Love heart gift pegs

    When painting the pots, make sure you let the coats dry in between. Once you have reached the desired coverage, use a sealer paint to make it waterproof and safe to stay outside. We used Mod Podge outdoor. You’ll need to coat your pots a few times, just follow the directions on the bottle. Because you are adding soil and water to the inside of the pot, you’ll need to seal the inside as well. This will prevent it from bubbling.

    Be sure to let each coat dry. Image: supplied.

    Propagating rosemary

    Rosemary is a very hardy plant, and you’ll find it relatively easy to grow. However, like all cuttings, rosemary can be damaged if you simply stick it in soil. I like to soak the stem in water for about half an hour before planting and I always make a hole for it to go into. If you stick a cutting straight into soil, the soil particles can damage the stem by rubbing against it.

    Remove the leaves at the bottom then gently place the stem into the hole and firm the potting mix around it. Give it a good water, and be sure to take care of it while it forms roots.

    As your rosemary grows you can continue to shape it into the form of a Christmas tree and use the cuttings in your cooking. It’s definitely a gift that keeps on giving.

    This post and video have been prepared by Rebecca Searles, founder of Family Garden Life. You can also find her here on Facebook.

    After Holiday Care of Your Rosemary Christmas Tree

    Rosemary trees are frequently seen in big box stores and supermarkets this time of year. They make excellent hostess gifts and are a compact replacement when a full-sized tree isn’t feasible. With a little care and knowledge, you can keep your rosemary tree alive and plant it in the garden next spring.

    Rosemary Holiday History

    Rosemary has been associated with Christmas for centuries. Legend has it that Mary draped the fresh washed swaddling clothes of the Baby Jesus over a rosemary plant to dry and the flowers that were white, turned blue to honor them and it has long been known as the Christmas herb. Tradition also says that the rosemary bloomed when the Baby Jesus was presented to the three Wise Men on the Epiphany and it is true that rosemary often blooms in late winter or early spring. The herb is associated with remembrance and the floors and altars of churches are scattered with the branches so that worshipers inhale the fragrance as they walk across them. This practice was probably introduced by the early priests who incorporated rosemary into the service to help convert the pagans who also believe it has mystical powers. Even though the name rosemary seems to indicate that it is associated with Mary, the botanical name Rosmarinus officinalis actually derives from the Latin ros (dew) and marinus (sea) so, the name rosemary actually means dew of the sea. It has antioxidant and anti-fungal properties and actually contains a significant source of iron, so the importance of this plant for early peoples isn’t surprising.

    Choose a Healthy Rosemary Tree

    Rosemary is a semi-hardy perennial and can withstand some freezing temperatures, however if the mercury drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be covered or moved indoors. Many cool climate gardeners grow it pots or containers so they can relocate it when the worst weather arrives. Rosemary likes at least 6 to 8 hours of sun each day and well-drained loose soil. It sulks and even dies when roots stand in water. This is something that you should be aware of when choosing a rosemary Christmas Tree. The plastic pots are usually covered in decorative foil and often have water standing where some enthusiastic store employee has over watered them. Check to make sure the soil isn’t soggy and no water runs out when you tip the pot. If you leave the foil around the pot, poke some holes in it so water will drain.

    Winter Care of Rosemary Plants

    Rosemary is a plant of the Mediterranean Basin and likes well-drained soil and drier conditions. Water only when the soil is dry on top. Place your rosemary Christmas Tree in a cool spot in your home and make sure it has bright light most of the day. A southern window is perfect. You may think that rosemary doesn’t like humidity and that isn’t the case. Our homes are generally too dry for most houseplants in late winter, so mist your rosemary with a spray bottle every day or two. The leaves need to dry between mistings, so the best time to do this is in the morning and situate it away from heater vents and radiators to avoid hot, dry conditions.

    When the weather warms some, you can gradually introduce your rosemary plant to the outdoors, a sheltered porch or deck is ideal and as soon as danger of frost has passed, it can be relocated to the garden. If you wish, you can re-pot into a larger container and sink that pot into the garden. That will make it easier if you want to bring it inside next winter. By carefully pruning your rosemary Christmas Tree, you can maintain the traditional tree shape and have it ready for the holidays the next year. It will depend on how cold your winters get as to when to move your rosemary back indoors. Here in west Kentucky, mine is still just fine in its southern, sheltered area, however it will have to come indoors in the next week or two and will have to remain indoors for the next couple of months. I usually put it in a window of the attached garage of my home after Christmas. The temperature seldom drops below 45 degrees and there is a shelf by the window where it can live for the worst of the winter. I water sparingly once a month until spring.

    Use Your Fresh Rosemary in the Kitchen!

    Put those trimmings to good use! Rosemary olive oil and rosemary sea salt are both perfect ways to use your rosemary trimmings. Both are easy to do and will spice up a number of recipes. For the olive oil, take a handful of fresh rosemary trimmings (about a half cup) and roll them in your hands to bruise them just a little. Strip the leaves from the toughest stems and place them in the bottom of your slow cooker and pour 2 cups of olive oil over them. Cook uncovered on high for an hour and then turn the slow cooker off and let the oil come to room temperature. Strain into a bottle and use wherever you would normally use olive oil. For rosemary sea salt, take about 4 tablespoons of rosemary leaves and add them to a cup of coarse sea salt. Pulse in your food processor until well mixed and pour on to a baking sheet. You can even add the zest of a lemon, lime, or orange to further liven up the salt. Place in an oven heated to 230F and bake for 15 minutes. When you remove it, let it cool and re-pulse in the processor to break up any lumps. Store in a covered container. The salt will last up to a year, but chances are, it will be gone long before then. Use it to flavor poultry, lamb, root vegetables (especially potatoes,) breads and pasta sauces. Rosemary has a strong flavor, so a little goes a long way. Use sparingly until you find the best amount for your family. Rosemary flavor strengthens as it cooks, so in most cases, add the herb near the end of the cooking time for best results.

    If you do not want to keep your rosemary tree alive after the holidays, simply strip the leaves and make the oil, salt or simply dry them in a low oven until crispy. That way your rosemary tree will do double duty even if you don’t keep it.

    In the spirit of the holiday season, consider this fun alternative to a conventional Christmas tree. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an herbaceous, evergreen shrub or subshrub and is commonly found in herb gardens. Its leaves are valued for their myriad culinary and medicinal uses. Futhermore, this plant takes very kindly to pruning and shaping, which makes transforming it into a miniature Christmas tree a very simple task.

    It may be too late to cultivate a “tree” for this year’s holiday season, but perhaps you’d like to try for next year. To do so, find a small rosemary plant at a local garden center or plant sale in the spring. Make a few initial pruning cuts to select a leader or leaders. After about a month or two, start giving it the shape of a Christmas tree. Floral scissors work great for making these cuts, and you don’t have to worry about where on the branches you are cutting – rosemary is very forgiving – just make sure your scissors are sharp. Wait a couple more months and then do more shaping with the pruning scissors. Do some final shaping a month or so later. At this point, you should be entering the holiday season and your rosemary Christmas tree will be ready to display. It’s that simple!

    Initial pruning: selecting the leaders

    Second pruning: giving it shape

    Third pruning: keeping in shape

    Final pruning: clean it up and present it

    One major downside to growing rosemary if you live in a cold climate is that it is only hardy to about USDA zone 7. However, if you select the right cultivar, place it in a protected location (near the south facing wall of a building perhaps), give it some mulch and maybe a blanket for the winter, you might be able to get it to survive in colder zones. Rosemary can also be difficult to overwinter indoors because the air in homes is typically dry and warm and there is little direct sunlight. If you are determined to keep one alive despite your odds, awaytogarden.com provides an excellent tutorial about overwintering rosemary both indoors and out.

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    Turning Christmas Rosemary into a Full-Time Plant

    (Note: We actually received this week’s question a few years back, but it always stuck in our heads, it’s a great example of a question we receive frequently, and this is pretty much the only time of year the answer is especially ‘easy’. So…)
    Q. I try every year to grow rosemary. It does great but does not return after winter. Is there a certain type of rosemary that would be more hardy over the winter, or should I pot it for the first year or two, and then transplant it permanently into my herb garden? We’d like to have a really tall and bushy rosemary.
    —-Dan in Sellersville, PA
    A. Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant, like the fig trees that are such a hot topic on our show. Unfortunately, unlike figs whose roots survive cold winters so often I’m tempted to call the plants ‘herbaceous perennials’, rosemary just plain dies if left outdoors over the winter in regions roughly North of Washington, DC. It can’t ‘come back’ or ‘return’ from its roots like a fig. And it doesn’t matter how big or old the rosemary plant is.
    The legendary variety “Arp” has been bred to be more cold hardy, and it may provide the little edge people in ‘almost hardy enough climates’ need. Years ago, I tested it against a whole slew of other varieties and it did last the longest into the winter. (But that just meant it was the last one to die in my garden.) But again, in a region just a bit South of my Northeastern PA, it might well make it—especially in soil that drains well.
    …Because drainage may be the key here. Many experts feel that rosemary might be able to survive even my winter temps—especially if the plants are growing in a protected location—but not my typically high levels of rainfall. Like its cousin lavender, rosemary can’t stand waterlogged soil. And without summer heat to help dry them out, Northern soils stay pretty damp over most winters.
    So—are we then chasing the impossible dream?
    Let’s call it ‘the difficult dream’. But this is the time of year you can realistically jumpstart that dream with one of the little foot-high rosemary Christmas trees you see for sale at garden centers and upscale supermarkets. These are live plants with impressively large root systems that have been aggressively pruned into those conical shapes by the growers from shrubs that are several feet tall.
    And as we warn every holiday season: because of that big root system, they won’t make it to New Year’s unless you get then into a bigger pot right away!
    This is absolutely essential. Growers prune really big shrubs down into those festive shapes and then squeeze their giant root balls into the smallest possible pots. That’s great for the growers’ ease of shipping, but almost impossible for a home owner to keep well-watered.
    So take them out of their cute little pot (notice how little actual soil there is in there?), and put them into a container that’s at least twice as large and that has great drainage holes in the bottom. Use the loosest, lightest bagged potting soil you can find to fill in the sides and bottom; not dirt from the garden; it’s just not going to drain well enough.
    Use the biggest pot that you’ll be able to move in and out of the house easily. Remember—this is a plant you want to grow into a shrub! (In a very good online article, Terry Ettinger, a garden writer based in Syracuse, strongly suggests that the pot be made of real terra cotta, because it wicks its moisture into the air and keeps the roots drier.)
    Sit the newly-potted plant in a few inches of water for an hour or more and let the drainage holes suck up enough to totally saturate the soil. Feel the weight of the well-watered pot. Let it drain in the dishrack, then put it on a plate to protect the surface it’ll sit on and place it in a spot that gets your absolute brightest light (but not near a radiator or forced hot air).
    Then don’t water it again until the pot feels much lighter—which could happen in a few days or a few weeks, depending on your indoor humidity. (It’ll probably be a few days if you do use terra cotta. Plastic pots hold their moisture better, but with rosemary, that’s often not a good thing.) When watering time does come, repeat the sitting-in-water routine. Saturating the soil from below and then letting the plant dry out completely before watering again is your best bet for long-term survival.
    So: North of DC, does it have to stay inside all winter? Should it stay inside all winter?
    No. I bought one of these rosemary ‘trees’ three seasons ago, and my ‘tree’ turned out to actually be two different plants jammed together in the pot. One of the pair died that winter but the other survived, and I put it outside—in its bigger pot—in early March, well before my last frost date. Rosemary can take light frosts; it’s really the combination of extended hard cold and water-logged soil that gets them.
    In fact, if you’re willing to pay attention to your weather, your potted rosemary can be outside anytime the temps are 40 degrees F or above. On nice days, it would prefer to be outside, but if we drop below 40, bring it back in. Yes, that’s conservative; but this is a sport where cowards win. Three years of such treatment later and my tree is still alive. But it’s not shaped like a Christmas tree anymore; it’s a shrub that’s around three feet tall.
    And it’s still outside for the season as we ‘speak’.
    I have moved it close to the house—both to offer it the protection of nearby buildings and to make it easy to snag and bring inside during the worst stretches of extended cold and ice storms that are sure to come. (That should give our Southern and Western listeners a good laugh. They grow rosemary plants outdoors that are the size of a small car!)
    So whether you start with a ‘Christmas tree’ or regular starter plants in the Spring, the keys are going to be:
    a) &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Your climate. USDA Zones 7b and above should have little trouble keeping rosemary alive over the winter. Chances are even good for a 7a gardener if you plant in a protected area, near a wall or windbreak of some kind (not exposed out in the open, or in a low-lying area, where frost and water will collect).
    b) &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Super loose, well-draining soil. No matter where you live, your rosemary requires excellent drainage. If your soil is clay, plant your rosemary in a raised bed with lots of potting soil and perlite. If it’s going to be in a pot, use only a high-quality bagged potting soil—NOT any of your awful garden dirt.
    c) &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp And finally, no matter where you live, if a fiendishly cold night or ice is predicted, cover the plant with a heavy cardboard box for the duration of the cold snap if it’s outdoors or bring it inside if it’s in a pot.

    Garden Plot: Rosemary trees, poinsettias and fresh Christmas trees

    Time for the holiday plant care tips!

    (Or: Help! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!)

    Rosemary Trees Need Bigger Pots!

    Those big rosemary shrubs that have been pruned down into cute Christmas-tree shapes are one of my favorite holiday plants, but they will die faster than battery-powered toys on Christmas morning if you don’t take proper care of them. The most important facet of that care: an immediate repotting.

    Yes, you really have to. Whether you’ve giving one as a gift, receiving one as a gift or buying one to use as a tiny Tannenbaum, these delightful little rosemary Christmas trees need bigger pots. The growers out in California prune large shrubs down into those festive shapes, then squeeze their giant root balls into the smallest possible pots. That’s great for easy shipping, but almost impossible for a homeowner to keep well watered.

    So take them out of their cute little pots (notice how little soil there is in there?) and put them into a pot that’s at least twice as large and has great drainage holes in the bottom. Ideally, you should use a bagged potting soil mix to fill in the bottom and sides of the pot. (You can use garden soil if you must, but a light, loose, soil-free potting mix will help the plants live much longer.) Mixing in a little bit of finished compost as you go would be ideal. And no marbles or stones or other nonsense in the bottom of the pot — just soil!

    Then, sit the newly made pot in a few inches of water for an hour or more, and let the drainage holes suck up enough water to totally saturate the soil. (If you don’t do this, your once-vibrant evergreen will look like Sally’s bad-omen tree in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”)

    Wise Watering and Long-Term Rosemary Tree Care

    After you move your fragrant tree into a pot that’s twice as big, saturate the soil as described above. Then, feel the weight of the well-watered pot. Let it drain in the dishrack for an hour, sit it on a plate to protect the surface it’ll sit on, put it into place (not near a radiator or forced hot air!) and don’t water it again until the pot feels much lighter. That could happen in a few days or a few weeks, depending on your indoor humidity.

    When that time comes, repeat the sitting-in-water routine. If you water from above, odds are good that all the water will just flow out the bottom. Saturating the soil from below is key to long-term survival.

    You can rewrap the pot in festive foil after watering, but remove this decoration when you water again. Whatever you do, don’t cover the bottom of the pot with anything and water from above. Water will pool up inside the wrapping and drown the poor thing!

    Oh, and unlike many other holiday plants, rosemary trees are very cold hardy, and can safely go outside in winter. Just bring them back in for the evening on nights that drop below 30 degrees or when snow and or ice is likely.

    Rosemary Tree Harvest and Beyond!

    For lovers of fresh herbs, the little rosemary Christmas trees you see for sale at garden centers and upscale supermarkets this time of year are a great deal. If you bought the same amount of rosemary over in the packaged-herb section, it would cost you at least three times as much — maybe a lot more than that. And yours are alive! (Or, they will be if you move the root-bound things into bigger pots right away.)

    And don’t be afraid to harvest some of the aromatic herb! Get the biggest trees you can find, carefully trim some of the more out-of-the-way branches and use the prunings to season holiday dishes. (To keep the shape, do most of your pruning down low.)

    After the holidays, feel free to harvest the entire tree to make a rosemary-crazy meal. Or keep your tree well watered and in good light, then plant it outside in a well-drained area of your garden in late March, or move the pot outside in May. (Plants in soil can survive much cooler nights than plants in pots.)

    Really! Rosemary is very hardy, and just needs to be protected from the harshest months of winter weather. In the right situation — such as being planted in the soil in an enclosed garden in the heart of the city — your tree might even become a large perennial shrub!

    Heck, I live in a much cooler micro-clime than the heat sink of D.C., and I’ve kept some of these little trees alive, and produced delicious branches for three or four years, by bringing them inside for the holidays. I take them back out in March or April, after the worst of winter is over.

    But Poinsettia and Norfolk Pine Can’t Take the Cold!

    But many of our other holiday favorites are just the opposite.

    Poinsettias are tropical plants that must stay inside during the winter. And they should come home from the store well-wrapped, if it’s even a slightly chilly day.

    Those cute little ‘Norfolk pines’ are not from any part of Virginia; they’re native to Norfolk Island, near Australia, and can’t take any cold, either.

    But both can become long-term houseplants if you treat them right, which means keeping them away from cold areas and heating vents and keeping them well watered without drowning the poor things — as described in-depth above.

    Both can spend the summer outdoors. You can even get a poinsettia to color up for you the following holiday season. But you have to completely cover the plant every night from September through mid-December to do so.

    Get a Really Fresh-Cut Tree this Season!

    Tired of dropped needles mulching the carpet under your cut Christmas tree? Get thee to a Christmas tree farm and “cut your own.” (Don’t worry; most places will cut it for you. Your big job is to get the family to agree on the best tree!)

    It’s a great family outing; there’s almost always cookies and hot chocolate for the kids (and maybe you, if you behave); you’re buying local, and you’re helping preserve farmland. That’s more mitzvahs than I can count!

    Just make sure that wherever the tree comes from, you read and follow my directions on super-hydrating the tree for a needle-free floor before you set it up! (You’ll find the details in last week’s Plots.)

    Christmas tree farm lists for Maryland and Virginia

    Northern Virginia:

    Here’s a great list from the ‘pick your own’ network.

    Maryland:

    Here’s the ‘pick your own’ list for our portion of Maryland. And here’s one from the Maryland Christmas Tree Farm Network.

    You should also do a little search of your own for locations convenient to your area, as some farms only appear on one list. You’ll find many lists online; the ones we’re presenting here were chosen for their information content and locational help.

    Some sites we found but didn’t include here only listed the farms alphabetically, which is not that helpful.

    And if you find a list you think is better than these, please send it to me at [email protected]

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