Commercial rosemary farming is not a new business idea. People are already doing this business from the ancient time. It’s very easy to grow rosemary but it can make very good profits if you can manage everything properly.
Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) is actually shrub with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean region for today found throughout the world.
Rosemary is a member of the sage family Lamiaceae, which includes many other medicinal and culinary herbs. The name “rosemary” derives from Latin ros marinus (“dew of the sea”). Rosemary has a fibrous root system.
Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub with leaves similar to hemlock needles. The plants are very hardy in cool climates and can also withstand drought (surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods).
The rosemary is considered as a potentially invasive species in some parts of the world. The seeds are often difficult to germinate. The seeds have very low germination rate and the seedlings generally grow slowly. But the plants can live for many years, as long as 30 years.
Leaves of the rosemary plants are evergreen, 2-4 cm long and 2-5 mm broad. The leaves are green above and white below with dense, short and wooly hair.
The plant flowers in spring and in summer in the temperate climate. But the plants can be in constant bloom in the warm climates. The flowers vary in color from white, pink, purple to deep blue.
However, the rosemary plants are considered easy to grow and are pest-resistant. Rosemary can grow quite large and retain attractiveness for many years. The plants can be pruned into formal shapes and low hedges, and has been used for topiary.
You can also easily grow rosemary plants in pots. And the groundcover cultivars spread widely, with a dense and durable texture.
However, rosemary farming is very easy and simple. At the same time this business is highly profitable also. You can start this business commercially for making good amount of profits.
Uses of Rosemary
Depending upon cultivation purpose, the leaves, twigs and flowering apices are extracted for use. The plants are also used as a decorative plant in the garden. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as stuffing and roast meats.
Health Benefits of Rosemary
Rosemary is highly beneficial for human health. You can use either rosemary essential oil or rosemary tea. Here we are trying to describe the top health benefits of rosemary tea and essential oil.
Health Benefits of Rosemary Tea
Rosemary tea is highly beneficial for human health. Here we are listing the top health benefits of consuming rosemary tea.
- Rosemary tea is high in antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Rosemary tea contains some compounds that may help to lower high blood sugar levels.
- Regular consumption of rosemary tea may improve your mood and memory.
- Some compounds available in rosemary tea may protect your brain health.
- Regular consumption of rosemary tea is also beneficial for protecting your vision and improve eye health.
- Consumption of rosemary tea may benefit heart health.
- Rosemary tea may promote digestion and may boost weight loss.
- Rosemary is good for hair and regular consumption of rosemary tea may promote hair growth.
Health Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil
Like the rosemary tea, the essential oil is also highly beneficial for human health. Here we are trying to list the top health benefits of rosemary essential oil.
- According to healthline, breathing rosemary oil may help you focus and remember information and at the same time it may also aid your memory as you age.
- Rosemary oil is highly beneficial for your hair. Application of rosemary oil may combat certain types of hair loss (including male pattern baldness and patchy hair loss).
- Rosemary oil is used as a traditional medicine for relieving pain.
- This oil is used in natural pesticides to kill certain insects. The oil also helps to repel some blood-sucking insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks.
- Rosemary essential oil may help you to combat stress. Just smell the oil and it will ease your stress levels.
- Messaging your fingers or toes with rosemary oil may help to warm them.
- Uses of rosemary essential may boost attention, alertness, energy and also mood.
Advantages of Rosemary Farming Business
Like other commercial crop farming business, rosemary farming business has also some advantages. It’s actually very easy to start growing rosemary and the beginners can also start this business.
Although, we always recommend having practical knowledge before starting commercial operation. Here we are trying to describe the top advantages of rosemary farming business.
- Starting rosemary farming is very easy and simple, even the beginners can start easily.
- Initial investment in commercial rosemary farming business is relatively low.
- Commercial production of rosemary is very profitable, so it’s a very good way for making money.
- As commercial production is profitable, so it can be a very good employment source for the people (especially for the educated but unemployed people).
- Demand of rosemary products is increasing gradually.
- Production costs in commercial rosemary farming business is relatively less as compared to other commercial crops.
- Rosemary tea and essential oil both are highly beneficial for human health. And you can enjoy fresh rosemary products if you start your own production business.
How to Start Rosemary Farming
Starting commercial rosemary farming business is relatively easy. Beginners can also start this business easily for making profits.
Although, we recommend having practical training from an expert before starting this business. Here we are trying to discuss the ways for starting and operating a successful rosemary farming business.
Selecting a suitable land for commercial rosemary farming is very important. These plants generally grow well and thrives best in well-drained sandy loam soils.
But the plants can also be grown in clay loam soil which has less than 25 percent of clay. Ideal pH of the soil for good growth of rosemary is between 5.5 and 8.9.
Prepare the Soil
Preparing the soil perfectly is the most important part of commercial rosemary farming business. 3-4 deep ploughings are required to get the soil to fine tilth stage.
Remove any weeds from previous crops and add as much organic fertilizers as you can while preparing the soil.
Climate Requirement For Rosemary Farming
The rosemary plants are very strong and hardy. They can tolerate both hot and cold climates. But the plants thrive well at day temperatures between 20° C and 26° C.
Best Time For Rosemary Cultivation
Spring is the best time for starting rosemary farming business.
Choose a Variety
There are numerous varieties or cultivars of rosemary available throughout the world. According to Wikipedia selected rosemary cultivars for garden use are;
- Albus – white flowers
- Arp – leaves light green, lemon-scented and especially cold-hardy
- Aureus – leaves speckled yellow
- Benenden Blue – leaves narrow, dark green
- Blue Boy – dwarf, small leaves
- Blue Rain – pink flowers
- Golden Rain – leaves green, with yellow streaks
- Gold Dust – dark green leaves, with golden streaks but stronger than ‘Golden Rain’
- Haifa – low and small, white flowers
- Irene – low and lax, trailing, intense blue flowers
- Lockwood de Forest – procumbent selection from ‘Tuscan Blue’
- Ken Taylor – shrubby
- Majorica Pink – pink flowers
- Miss Jessopp’s Upright – distinctive tall fastigiate form, with wider leaves.
- Pinkie – pink flowers
- Prostratus – lower groundcover
- Pyramidalis/Erectus – fastigate form, pale blue flowers
- Remembrance/’Gallipoli – taken from the Gallipoli Peninsula
- Roseus – pink flowers
- Salem – pale blue flowers, cold-hardy similar to Arp
- Severn Sea – spreading, low-growing, with arching branches, flowers deep violet
- Sudbury Blue – blue flowers
- Tuscan Blue – traditional robust upright form
- Wilma’s Gold – yellow leaves
You can choose any variety/cultivar depending on it’s availability in your area. Try to consult with an expert in your for choosing the right variety for your business.
Propagation of the rosemary plants is done in many different ways. Generally the plants are propagated through seeds, cuttings and layering of roots.
The best and most efficient way to propagate rosemary plant is cuttings from growing stem tips. Collect cuttings of 12 to 15 cm length and the bottom 2/3 should be stripped from leaves.
And then insert the cuttings in a growing medium. Roots will start forming after 3 to 4 weeks. Use a mist bed with a heated floor for better root formation.
Layer propagation can be achieved in summer season by pegging of some of the lower branches under a sandy soil. The plants can be served from the parent plant once roots have been formed.
Seed propagation is not recommended for commercial rosemary farming business. Because the seeds are very slow to germinate and the growth rate of the seedlings is also very slow.
And growing true-to-type plants from seed is not a good practice as there is a problem of cross pollination.
If you want to avoid the hassle of propagation of rosemary, then you can purchase ready seedlings from any of the nurseries in your area.
The rosemary plants generally require full sun for better growth. Space of the beds should be 1-2 meter and raw space should be 40 to 50 cm. This spacing is very effective for machine cutting.
A total of 50,000 to 60,000 plants is required per hectare. Water the plants immediately after planting in the main field.
The rosemary plants are very strong and hardy. So, they generally require less caring and other management. Although, taking additional care will help the plants to grow well and stay healthy.
Add adequate organic fertilizers during preparing the soil for rosemary farming. And additional application of fertilizers should be done depending on soil test.
Rosemary plants generally grow well in dry-lands. Although, irrigation is required for commercial rosemary production until the roots are well established in the soil.
Don’t allow the plants to dry out and at the same time the plants should not be over irrigated. The plants don’t require any irrigation if the annual rainfall is more than 450 mm.
Mulching is very important for rosemary farming. Mulching not only helps to retain moisture into the soil but also helps to prevent weeds. You can use organic materials for mulching.
Controlling weeds is also very important, because weeds consume nutrients from soil and the rosemary will suffer. Regular hand weeding and hoeing will help you to reduce most of the weeds.
Pests & Diseases
Like many other commercial crops the rosemary plants are also susceptible to some common pests and diseases.
Spider mites, mealy bugs thrips and whiteflies are common pests of the rosemary plants. Applying of insecticidal soap with lightweight horticultural oil will help to control these pests.
Powdery mildew, root rot and fungal problems are the common diseases of the rosemary plants. Contact your local horticulture department for diseases identification and control measures.
Rosemary crop can be harvested once or twice a year depending on whether it is cultivated for plant material or essential oil.
Rosemary leaves are harvested with the onset of flowering. The flowering tops are harvested with a sickle (30-35 cm long with leaves).
Mechanical harvesting is preferred and a first cutting can be done in the seeding year. However, it should be delayed until 18 months after seeding.
The yield will be more after first cutting from re-growth of the crop. The highest quality flowering tops should be harvested for distillation purpose if you want to produce essential oil.
The rosemary herb should be harvested frequently at a young stage for marketing fresh rosemary. The fresh shoots are generally used in culinary preparations.
Rosemary should be dried at temperatures lower than 39° C to reduce loss of flavor of essential oil and also to maintain a good green color. And then the leaves should be separated from the stems and graded after drying.
Telling the exact amount is very tough, because it depends on numerous factors. It depends on common factors like soil, cultivar, climate and also cultivation practices. But you can expect an average yield of 30 to 80 kg of essential oil per hectare and 2000 to 2200 kg of dried leaves.
For marketing, you can either target your local market or consider exporting to international buyers. You should determine your marketing strategies first before starting this business.
These are the common steps and ways for starting and operating a successful rosemary farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck and may God bless you!