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Arbor Gate's Picks
of the Month

Rosemary Topiary Christmas Trees

December 7, 2018 Back to Picks >

Not all herbs are used primarily in cooking. With their culinary, aromatic, medicinal, economic, and purely decorative qualities, herbs are often referred to as “the useful plants.” Each month’s herb pick for 2018 has featured an example of the many and varied uses for herbs that can be grown in our region.

And in all cases, no matter what the herb, Arbor Gate Complete Soil and Arbor Gate Blend Fertilizer are recommended from transplanting throughout the life of the plant, whether in the garden or containers. Both will provide what your plants need: organic, well balanced, and enriched growing mediums, year around.

Rosemary topiary trees are ever-more-popular during the holiday season — many large specimens are now available, in addition to the small ones routinely used as gifts and decorative items for the home. Regardless of size, however, when the holiday decorations are put away, most people begin to think about how to keep the topiary looking beautiful and healthy.

If a rosemary topiary is kept healthy during the holidays, its roots may be sufficient for it to be successfully transplanted from its pot into the garden. Approach the transplantation project using the same techniques as for any fairly mature, though small, shrub. Keep in mind that some of the coldest weather in this area can occur in January and February, so plan to protect the newly-transplanted rosemary from freezing weather. As it begins to put on new growth in the Spring, you can choose whether to maintain the Christmas tree shape by trimming or let it grow into a natural rosemary.

The following information, and more details, can be found on a website called The Spruce (accurate, though originating most likely from a region much farther north than ours.)
Buy Your Rosemary Tree Early 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 a 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.

Unwrap and Water Once you get your rosemary topiary home, remove the wrapping and check out the condition of the potting soil and roots. If needed, re-pot accordingly. If nothing else, your topiary will probably be dry. Once the plant is in your care, place it on a small dish of pebbles and water lightly.

As an alternative to this, we like to place the pot in water and allow it to absorb water for an hour or so. This will ensure that it doesn’t get too much and will keep spots from forming on the rosemary itself from the minerals that are in the water.

Care for your rosemary topiary as you would any other houseplant that needs light. And with central heat drying it out, try to place it at a distance from any heating vents in the room. A grow light would be helpful, but a south-facing window would also serve to keep photosynthesis going.

Its perfect shape should last through the holidays, but after that you’ll need to begin trimming to maintain the Christmas tree look.