Perennial Herb that Does It All


Rosemary – “Mist of the Sea”

Rosemary – “Mist of the Sea”

Greeted on return from a trip with blue Rosemary flowers – I had to share! Rosemary is an ornamental, fragrant, delicious woody, perennial herb with evergreen leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers late winter into spring in the PNW. A member of the mint family and native to the Mediterranean region, it likes sun, great drainage in slightly acidic soils, and is drought tolerant once established. The leaves resemble hemlock needles and are used to flavor foods. The fragrant oil is used in many products for home and body (cleaning products, lotions). Rosemary can differ in size from low growing, spreading varieties to upright – with some reaching 5 feet tall and wide or more to become a showy landscape plant.

In zone 7 and north, cold can kill the tops or all of the rosemary plant outdoors. Plant in a protected spot away from winter wind; also mulch to protect the roots. Or grow in pots which can be brought inside before winter! Propagation is best with 2-4 inch cuttings from the end of a stem from a mature plant. Take several as not all will develop roots. Remove needles from the bottom 1 inch of the stem, place in a container of seed starting mix in indirect light, water lightly, and test in 2-3 weeks to see if the plants have rooted. If so, move them to a 4 inch pot. After another week, pinch off the tip of the plant to encourage branching and then treat as any other rosemary plant.

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