Does Rosemary Spread in the Garden? Why It Is Unlikely

Some plants can spread like wildfire when planted in a garden, but is rosemary one of those plants? This is generally very important to keep in mind when you grow something, but lucky for you, rosemary is very easy in that regard.

While rosemary plants can get relatively large, they do not spread in the garden in the same way that certain other plants such as mint and strawberries do where new plants sprout everywhere. That said, there is a way rosemary can spread and grow in places where you didn’t actively plant it.

In this article, I explain how rosemary can spread naturally and what you can do to help or prevent it from spreading, depending on your preference.

How Rosemary Can Spread Naturally (And How You Can Help It)

Some plants spread via rhizomes, which you can think of as stems that grow horizontally and send out lateral shoots that grow as new plants. Such plants include mint, strawberry, and many more, but not rosemary.

The only way rosemary can spread is by seed. Seeds are produced when the plant is flowering and are usually fully developed once the flowers begin to dry out and the seeds have a dark brown color.

Once fully developed, the seeds can fall off or get carried by the wind and germinate on the ground wherever they land.

In my experience, it rarely happens, though, and is generally not something you have to worry about in your garden. Either the seeds are eaten by birds, they never germinate, or something else causes them to not grow as new plants, but it is definitely possible.

If you want your rosemary to spread, or at least want to be in control of when it happens, the best thing you can do is to collect the seeds and sow them on your own. I have a guide on this link where I explain the best way to do that.

If you already have the seeds, head over to the article on this link where I share the best way to sow them.

As I said, though, while it doesn’t happen that often, rosemary can absolutely spread on its own by seed. This happens all the time in nature in places where it grows naturally.

Both of these photos are from Southern Spain. The photo above is out in nature and the photo below is from the city of Malaga. My dad took the top photo for me since he knows I love rosemary and thought it was interesting that it grew and spread naturally.

I took the bottom photo myself and as you can see, that rosemary bush is definitely spreading and getting wider.

If you want to help your rosemary spread even more, you can take cuttings and grow them as new plants. This is one of the best ways to grow a lot more of the tasty herb for free. I have a guide for that here.

If you don’t want your rosemary to spread, it is luckily not that difficult to prevent it from happening. I will explain the easiest way to do it now.

How to Prevent Rosemary From Reseeding Itself and Spreading

If you want to be entirely sure that your rosemary doesn’t reseed itself and spread like in the photos above, you have to take action once it starts flowering.

To prevent your rosemary from producing seeds, remove any flowers as soon as they appear. That way, the seeds won’t have time to mature and won’t germinate.

Because as I explained earlier in this article, once the seeds are fully developed, they might germinate and grow as new plants.

That said, it takes a while for the seeds to mature fully so you should have plenty of time once your rosemary starts flowering.

There are also plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t remove the flowers from your rosemary, though, so if you aren’t sure, I recommend reading the article on this link where I cover your options in detail.


My name is Anders, and I am the owner and writer here at Gardening Break. Gardening has always been a big part of my life. As a child, I would watch and learn as my parents worked in our garden or as my grandfather worked in his greenhouse. As I have gotten older, gardening has become a bigger and bigger part of my life. I have grown to enjoy it more and more, but I am also starting to realize just how much there is to learn about gardening, which is why I created Gardening Break in the first place; To share all the useful tips and tricks I learn along the way. You can read more about me and my mission with Gardening Break by following the "About Us"-link at the top and bottom of every page.

Recent Posts