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Rosmarinus officinalis

Common Name(s):

Description

Rosemary is an evergreen herb valued for its fragrant, ornamental foliage. Unfortunately, rosemary has a low tolerance for wet, humid environments and therefore struggles to grow in many parts of NC unless carefully tended to.

Once established, rosemary is drought and salt spray tolerant. Wet, poorly-drained soils in winter are usually fatal, and heavy clay soils and overwatering also cause poor plant growth.  If desired, plants can be severely pruned after bloom to encourage dense foliage growth, and can also be cut into specific shapes.

Genus name comes from the Latin words ros (dew) and marinus (sea), meaning dew of the sea in probable reference to the ability of this plant to thrive well in coastal areas (sea cliffs) where plants occasionally receive water from ocean mists.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word officinalis meaning thought to have medicinal virtue in reference to its medicinal and herbal uses.

Pest and Disease Issues: Seeds are slow to germinate.  Avoid overwatering which inevitably leads to root rot. Powdery mildew occurs with poor air circulation.

Cultivars:
  • 'Prostratus'
    low, creeping variety
  • 'Tuscan Blue'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#evergreen#edible#container plant#herbs#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#salt tolerant#herb garden#ncemgva2018#cpp#deer resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Prostratus'
    low, creeping variety
  • 'Tuscan Blue'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#evergreen#edible#container plant#herbs#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#salt tolerant#herb garden#ncemgva2018#cpp#deer resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rosmarinus
    Species:
    officinalis
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The intensely fragrant foliage of this shrub is commonly harvested for a variety of purposes including cooking and potpourri. Oil is commercially used in some perfumes, soaps, shampoos, lotions and other toiletries.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Africa, Europe, western Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies and bees.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is highly salt tolerant, and particularly resistant to damage by deer.
    Edibility:
    Teas; flavoring for vinegar, jam, bread, butter, stuffing, vegetables, stew, and meat dishes.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny, two-lipped pale blue to white flowers bloom in axillary clusters along the shoots of the prior year’s growth.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Simple
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Gray-green, linear, needle-like leaves (to 1.5” long) are closely spaced on the stems and are very aromatic with a strong flavor.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Salt
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems