Key ingredient of a Mediterrean style garden, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) is a particularly attractive evergreen shrub with strongly aromatic, needle-like leaves, about 1 in (2.5 cm) long, and clusters of pale blue to white flowers that appear in winter and spring (in hardiness zones 8-11). Sporadic blooms may occur in summer or fall, specifically if your Rosemary bush has been trimmed after its late winter to spring bloom. If overwintered indoors in containers, Rosemary generally blooms later, from late spring into summer.
There are so many uses for Rosemary that no garden should be without this lovely and versatile Mediterranean shrub! The intensely fragrant foliage releases its fresh scent when brushed against, making Rosemary a great addition along paths and walkways or in containers on sunny patios or decks. Let the prostrate varieties attractively creep over walls or blanket the ground when too dry, sandy or rocky for other ground covers. Use this wonderful shrub to make a fabulously fragrant hedge (remember to prune it after flowering) or even topiaries. And not to mention the herb garden. Rosemary has been used as a medicinal and aromatic herb for thousands of years. Harvest it as a seasoning for meats and vegetables, toiletries or sachets.
- Grows up to 2-6 ft tall (60-180 cm) with a spread of 2-5 ft (60-150 cm) - although they remain smaller in pots.
- Easily grown in sandy, poor to moderately fertile, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but thrives best in full sun. Performs poorly in heavy clay soils. Drought tolerant once established.
- Great for wall-side borders, beds and borders, Mediterranean gardens, coastal gardens, cottage gardens, city gardens, rock gardens or containers. Perfect for an informal, low hedge too!
- Virtually disease and pest free
- Attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds but deer resistant!
- Propagate by semi hartwood cuttings
- Prune plants after bloom to encourage bushy foliage growth
There are many interesting Rosemary cultivars:
- 'Arp' - hardiest Rosemary (Hardiness zone 7) with bright blue flowers and dark green foliage. Up to 4 ft. tall and wide (120 cm)
- 'Benenden Blue' - semi upright bushy variety with light blue flowers. Award of Garden Merit. Up to 3 ft. tall (90 cm) and 4 ft. wide (120 cm)
- 'Blue Spires' - superb landscape variety with deep blue flowers. Great for hedges and seasoning. Up to 5-6 ft. tall and wide (150-180 cm)
- 'Golden Rain' - deep violet-blue flowers and variegated leaves. Bushy, upright grower. Up to 2-3 ft. tall and wide (60-90 cm)
- 'Prostratus' - low-growing and spreading variety with pale lavender blue flowers. Up to 2 ft. tall (60 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm)
- 'Severn Sea' - arching habit, bright blue flowers and dark green leaves. Award of Garden Merit. Up to 3ft tall and wide (90 cm)