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Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

Rosemary, Rose of the Sea, Salvia rosmarinus

Rosmarinus Officinalis, Rosemary, herb, fragrant shrub, fragrant herb, Mediterranean Plant, Perennial Shrub
Rosmarinus Officinalis, Rosemary, herb, fragrant shrub, fragrant herb, Mediterranean Plant, Perennial Shrub

A key ingredient of a Mediterranean-style garden, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) is a beautiful 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, precisely if your Rosemary bush has been trimmed after its late winter to spring bloom. Rosemary blooms later, from late spring into summer, if overwintered indoors in containers.

Facts about Rosemary

  • Symbolic meaning: Rosemary has been traditionally associated with remembrance, fidelity, and friendship. In ancient Greece and Rome, it was used in weddings and funerals to symbolize fidelity and remembrance.
  • Medicinal properties: Rosemary has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, particularly in treating digestive issues, respiratory ailments, and memory loss. Its oil is also used in aromatherapy to improve concentration and reduce stress.
  • Culinary uses: Rosemary is a popular aromatic herb often used to flavor meat dishes, bread, and roasted vegetables. Its strong, earthy flavor is well-suited to Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Evergreen shrub: Rosemary is an evergreen shrub that is native to the Mediterranean region, from where it has been introduced into all continents. Shrubs vary from low-growing, prostate varieties that do not grow more than 24 in. tall (60 cm) to upright varieties that easily reach 6 ft. high (180 cm).
  • Insect repellent: Rosemary is a natural insect repellent and can be used to deter mosquitoes, flies, and other pests.
  • Oil production: Rosemary is one of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy and can be extracted from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant.
  • Easy to grow: Rosemary is a hardy plant that is easy to grow in a variety of climates. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun and can be grown in containers or in the ground.
  • Cultural significance: Rosemary has been used in many cultures throughout history for its symbolic, medicinal, and culinary properties. It is still an important herb today and is used in a variety of ways around the world.

Rosemary in the Garden

Rosemary has a number of uses in the garden beyond its culinary and medicinal properties. Here are a few ways that rosemary can be used in the garden:

  • Ornamental plant: Rosemary is an attractive evergreen shrub that is quite ornamental in the garden. It has a pleasant scent and is great as a border plant or as part of a mixed border. It is incredibly versatile and at home in Mediterranean gardens, coastal gardens, cottage gardens, city gardens, and rock gardens. Rosemary makes a perfect informal, low hedge too. The 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
  • Landscape plant: Rosemary is a key ingredient in Mediterranean-style landscapes, where it adds structure and interest to the garden. It can be pruned to create formal hedges or topiaries or left to grow in a more natural form.
  • Ground cover: Creeping Rosemary makes a perfect ground cover in areas where other plants may not grow well. Its spreading growth habit and ability to thrive in poor soil conditions make it an ideal ground cover plant.
  • 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.

Rosemary attracts pollinators but deters pests

  • Insect repellent: Rosemary has natural insect-repelling properties and can repel pests in the garden. Rosemary is an excellent companion plant and deters cabbage loopers, carrot flies, Mexican bean beetles, slugs, and snails. Planting rosemary near other plants can help to repel pests and reduce the need for chemical insecticides.
  • Pollinator attractant: Rosemary is attractive to bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators, making it a great choice for planting in the garden to attract beneficial insects. This can help to improve the pollination of other plants in the garden and benefit the overall ecosystem.
  • Deer: Rosemary is generally considered to be deer resistant. This is because deer do not like the strong, pungent smell of the plant, which can be off-putting to them. However, it is important to note that no plant is completely deer-proof, and deer may still browse rosemary if they are very hungry or if there are no other food sources available.

Cultivation

Rosemary is a hardy plant that can be grown in a variety of locations as long as its basic growing requirements are met. Here are some tips on where to grow rosemary:

Climate: Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region and prefers a warm, dry climate. It can tolerate some cold temperatures but is not well-suited to very cold climates. It is winter hardy only to about 20°F (-6°C), and most cultivars can be grown in Zones 8 to 11. However, some cold-tolerant selections are successfully grown in hardiness zones 6 or 7 (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Arp’, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Madeline Hill’).

  • Sunlight: Rosemary needs full sun to thrive and needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. It tolerates light shade but thrives best in full sun.
  • Soil: This aromatic herb prefers sandy, poor to moderately fertile, slightly acidic, well-drained soils. It can grow in a variety of soil types, except for heavy clay soils, as long as the soil is not waterlogged.
  • Water: Do not overwater this Mediterranean plant, as it is susceptible to root rot if the soil is too wet. It is best to water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. This Mediterranean shrub is drought tolerant once established.
  • Container or ground: Rosemary can be grown in containers or in the ground. If growing in a container, choose a pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter and has good drainage. If planting in the ground, choose a location with well-draining soil.
  • Prune regularly: Prune this evergreen shrub regularly to encourage bushy growth and to prevent it from getting too leggy. Pruning also helps to promote the growth of new leaves and can help to keep the plant looking healthy.
  • Fertilize sparingly: Rosemary does not need a lot of fertilizer, and over-fertilizing can actually be harmful to the plant. A light application of a balanced fertilizer in the spring can help to promote growth.
  • Propagate from cuttings: The plant can be propagated from cuttings, which can be taken from the tips of the plant and rooted in moist soil or water.
  • Protect from cold temperatures: Rosemary is sensitive to very cold temperatures and may not survive in very cold climates. If you live in a colder climate, consider growing rosemary in a container that can be moved indoors during the winter months.

Overall, rosemary is a relatively easy plant to grow as long as its basic requirements are met. It is a great choice for a sunny spot in the garden or on a balcony or patio.

Pests and Diseases

Rosemary is a hardy plant that is relatively pest and disease resistant, but it can still be susceptible to certain issues. Here are some common pests and diseases that can affect rosemary:

  • Spider mites: These tiny pests can be a problem in dry, hot conditions. They can cause discoloration and webbing on the leaves.
  • Mealybugs: These small, soft-bodied insects can appear as white, cottony masses on the plant. They can cause leaf yellowing and distortion.
  • Root rot: Rosemary can be susceptible to root rot if the soil is too wet or the drainage is poor.
  • Powdery mildew: This fungal disease can cause a white, powdery coating on the leaves of the plant. It is more common in humid conditions.
  • Leaf spot: This fungal disease can cause brown spots on the leaves of the plant. It is more common in wet conditions.
  • Blight: This bacterial disease can cause the plant to wilt and die. It is more common in wet conditions.

To prevent these issues, it is important to ensure that the plant is grown in well-draining soil and that it is not overwatered. Regular pruning can also help to promote good air circulation around the plant and prevent fungal diseases. If pests or diseases do occur, you can try using insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils to control them. In severe cases, you may need to remove and dispose of infected plants to prevent the spread of disease.

Rosemary: Learn How To Plant, Grow and Harvest


Native to the dry, rocky areas of the Mediterranean region, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis or Salvia rosmarinus) is a popular aromatic herb commonly grown for its decorative, medicinal, culinary uses, and ornamental garden appeal.

Requirements

Hardiness 8 - 11
Heat Zones 8 - 12
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Herbs, Shrubs
Plant Family Lamiaceae
Genus Rosmarinus
Common names Rosemary
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' - 6'
(60cm - 180cm)
Spread 2' - 5'
(60cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ground Covers, Hanging Baskets, Hedges And Screens, Patio And Containers, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden, Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Albus’ (Rosemary)
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Severn Sea’ (Rosemary)
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Benenden Blue’ (Rosemary)
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Roseus’ (Rosemary)
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Arp’ (Rosemary)
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Madeline Hill’ (Rosemary)

Recommended Companion Plants

Stipa arundinacea (New Zealand Wind Grass)
Thymus serpyllum (Creeping Thyme)
Allium schoenoprasum (Chives)
Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium)
Echinacea (Coneflower)

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 8 - 11
Heat Zones 8 - 12
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Herbs, Shrubs
Plant Family Lamiaceae
Genus Rosmarinus
Common names Rosemary
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' - 6'
(60cm - 180cm)
Spread 2' - 5'
(60cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Evergreen
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ground Covers, Hanging Baskets, Hedges And Screens, Patio And Containers, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden, Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden, Coastal Garden, City and Courtyard
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Rosmarinus (Rosemary)
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