Salvia  rosemary plant

(rose-mar-ii' nuss)

Common name: Rosemary

Family: Lamiaceae, Mint

Height x width: 3-6' x 3-5', prostrate cultivars 1-2' tall

Growth rate: moderate to slow

Foliage: leathery, close spaced around stem, linear 1/8" wide and to 1" long, lower leaf surface is white tomentose; aromatic pine scent (photo courtesy Katieso99,

Flowers: pale blue in small axillary clusters in midsummer, to ½" long (photo courtesy E Zelenko,

Hardiness: tender perennial (zones 7-9, 6 with protection)

Soil: well-drained, moist

Light: sun

Pests and problems: root rots, powdery mildew, botrytis blight, aphids, mealybugs, spider mites (insect pests primarily indoors)

Landscape habit, uses: woody shrub, containers, herb garden, seasonal perennial in cold climate brought indoors in winter.

Culinary--harvest small amount of leaves or sprigs at a time, crush leaves just before use; toss into salads or add sparingly to meat dishes, to flavor potatoes or in herb butter for vegetables; use stems for barbeque skewers

Household--use fresh boughs in rooms for air freshener, boil a handful in 2 cups of water and use as an antiseptic rinse for bathrooms, use in potpourri, scatter on barbeque grill to discourage insects

Cosmetic--use in bath to stimulate blood circulation, in facial stem, in dark hair rinse

Medicinal--applied to stimulate blood circulation and ease pain, applied to aching joints, used as an antiseptic mouthwash and gargle

Other interest: name from the Latin ros meaning dew and marinus meaning of the sea, referring to its coastal habitat; native to western Mediterranean; has been used as a symbol of fidelity for lovers and worn at weddings as such, and for strengthening the memory; has been revered by the Spanish as the bush sheltering the Virgin Mary on her flight to Egypt; branches were burned in rooms with the sick to purify the air, and strewn in law courts to protect against "fevers" of the jailed; worn during the plague to protect the wearer; used as a moth-repellent in clothes; used in Shakespeare's time as topiary and clipped hedge. Found by botanists in 2017 to be a salvia and renamed, formerly and still often found as Rosmarinus officinalis.

Other culture: tolerates a wide pH range, space 2-3' apart

Propagation: seed (less common, not true to type) or stem cuttings of new growth in spring


rosmarinus (rose-mar-I-nuss) --main species
Cultivars habit flowers other
'Albus' upright white  
'Arp' upright blue lemony, hardy to zone 5
'Athen's Blue Spires' upright light blue from Univ. Georgia, zone 5 hardy
'Aureus' upright  blue leaves speckled yellow
'Benenden Blue' upright blue more upright 
'Blue Boy' prostrate blue tiny fragrant needles, good hanging
'Golden Rain' upright blue gold-streaked leaves, good culinary
'Joyce Debaggio':'Golden Rain'      
'Lockwood' prostrate light blue many flowers
'Madeline Hill' upright light blue vigorous, well-branched, hardy to zone 5
'Majorca' upright dark blue may trail in habit
'Majorca Pink' upright clear pink half hardy
'Miss Jessup's Upright' upright white very upright, good hedge
'Pink' upright pink  
'Portugese Pink' upright lilac, speckled compact
Prostratus group prostrate bright blue fine leaves
'Rex' upright blue large, dark green leaves
'Severn Sea' prostrate light blue large leaves, many flowers
'Silver Spires' upright blue pale green leaves, white margins
'Sissinghurst Blue' upright blue, speckled twisting stems, thin leaves
'Suffolk Blue' upright bright sky blue  
'Tuscan Blue' upright dark blue narrow leaves

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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