Herbs: Rosemary

Aromatic….dazzling…ubiquitous.  Rosemary is a truly versatile plant with year-round interest. This herb is an evergreen perennial with edible purple flowers and highly fragrant needle like leaves. The myriad forms of rosemary vary in habit from stiff and upright, to rounded and squat. There are even dense mat forming groundcovers. It is hard to resist passing this plant by without pinching off a bit of the foliage.

Trosemary he blossoms, appearing in late winter, attract birds, butterflies, and bees. The name rosemary means “dew of the sea” …which is a reflection on this plant’s native habitat on seaside cliffs in the Mediterranean region. In our Mediterranean climate, rosemary is beautiful and fragrant as an ornamental landscape shrub, or potted up for culinary uses. It’s also far from fussy; rosemary thrives with just a little attention and is one of the few herbs that tolerates some shade (although it really loves sunshine). Rosemary is extremely drought tolerant once established and is gopher and deer resistant. Rosemary will thrive everywhere, even enduring blistering sun and poor alkaline soil (if given moderate water).

To grow healthy rosemary, work in a complete fertilizer (EB Stone Organic All Purpose, Tomato & Vegetable Food, SureStart or Alfalfa Meal for vegetarians and vegans). Pinch back regularly. Needs very little maintenance beyond light pruning. After harvesting, wash immediately in cool water. Spread out the rosemary on paper towels and then pat dry. To store in the refrigerator, place between damp paper towels and store in plastic bags. Celebrate winter with this terrific plant:

  • Rosemary thrives in containers (it’s an essential culinary herb, so pot it up with sage, parsley and thyme)
  • Rosemary is delicious: put a sprig in soup, a handful in a roast or sprinkled on potatoes
  • Rosemary is decorative: tuck it under a bow on holiday gifts
  • Rosemary makes a lovely place setting or table centerpiece
  • Rosemary flowers are edible…add them to a salad for garnish
  • Rosemary has a wonderful aroma to bring good cheer

Available at all Sloat Garden Center locations!