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Known as a symbol of remembrance and friendship, rosemary fills a garden with aroma, flavor, and activity -- busily pollinating bees love the blooms. This herb comes in various forms, from stiff and upright, ideal for a hedge planting, to mounded and spreading, perfect for scrambling along a slope or wall. The secret to beautiful rosemary is to give plants a hot, dry footing. Grow plants in well-drained soil or a raised bed and surround them gravel mulch for best results. Rosemary thrives in containers, too.
In coldest zones, overwinter rosemary in an unheated room with a fan. Protect overwintering plants from extreme humidity. Too low humidity can cause plants to drop leaves; too high can favor powdery mildew.
Under 6 inches to 8 feet
2-4 feet wide
how to grow Rosemary
Snip fresh rosemary stems throughout the growing season. To use rosemary, strip needles from stems and chop before adding to dishes. To store fresh rosemary up to one week in the refrigerator, place stems in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.
To preserve, air-dry stems by bundling and hanging upside down in a dark place with good air circulation. Remove leaves from stems and store in airtight containers. Dried, whole rosemary retains flavor up to one year. You can also freeze whole stems in a plastic bag. To use, strip as many leaves as you need from frozen stems. Chop rosemary well before using.
Pulverize dry leaves before adding to dishes, herb blends, or sauces to release aromatic oils and to make them easier to chew. Rosemary texture and flavor varies throughout the season. Leaves are tender in spring, with fewer aromatic oils. By late summer, foliage packs a more potent flavor. Toss late summer stems onto grilling coals to infuse meat with delicious flavor.
Harvest rosemary flowers for a delicious addition to lettuce or fruit salads, pasta, or rice creations.
garden plans for Rosemary
more varieties for Rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Arp' forms a sturdy shrub 3-5 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. It thrives in average, well-drained soil. Zones 6-10
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Barbecue' is a selection developed for its excellent flavor and aroma. It can grow 4 feet tall and will develop beautiful blue blooms. It grows as an annual except in zones 8-10.
'Benenden Blue' rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Aureus' has green needlelike leaves with gold flecks. This rosemary is an upright grower that reaches 2 feet tall and spreads equally wide. It has pale blue flowers in spring. Zones 8-10
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Gorizia' is noted for its exceptionally wide leaves, often twice as broad as common rosemary. It grows 4 feet tall and wide, and it bears clusters of light blue flowers from late winter through summer. Zones 8-10
'Majorca Pink' rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Majorca Pink' has unusual pinkish-lavender blooms in spring with repeat bloom in summer. It is an upright plant growing 4 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide. Zones 7-10.
'Roman Beauty' rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Roman Beauty' is a compact, slow grower with a semitrailing form, growing just 12-16 inches tall and spreading 18-24 inches wide. It grows more upright than trailing rosemary but still creates a cascading effect in the landscape or in container gardens. It has violet-blue flowers and fragrant gray-green foliage. Zones 8-10
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus' has a trailing growth habit that looks great cascading over a retaining wall or trailing down a raised bed. It is also called creeping rosemary or prostrate rosemary, and it makes an effective groundcover. It grows 18-24 inches tall, spreads 4-8 feet wide, and bears light blue flowers. Zones 8-10
Tuscan Blue rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Tuscan Blue' is one of the best rosemary varieties for topiaries. It develops dense, blue-green foliage that's easily sheared to any shape. It's highly fragrant and has many uses in the kitchen. It grows 4 feet tall. It grows as an annual except in zones 8-10.