When it comes to perennial herbs, rosemary, oregano and thyme are the stuff of Italy’s finest. Rosemary is a fragrant woody herb that takes little to no care to provide decades of lovely color, fragrance and landscape structure.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family. This fragrant evergreen can produce purple, pink, blue or white flowers that are favorites of honey bees.
11/26/19 UPDATE Recent research has surprised rosemary growers with the news that rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has been found to be a type of salvia, closely related to common sage, instead of being its own group of plants. This new information has resulted in a name change for our beloved plant. Henceforth, rosemary’s Latin name shall be Salvia rosmarinus.
Rosemary as companion plant
According to companion planting research, the astringent characteristics of rosemary have been found to repel cabbageworms, carrot flies, Mexican bean beetles, slugs and snails.
How to grow rosemary
Rosemary thrives in California’s hot, dry weather, providing pollen and nectar for honeybees and other pollinators, without consuming a lot of water. This drought-tolerant perennial can be sheared into decorative shapes, used as a fragrant hedge, or allowed to fill an area naturally. Rosemary is easily grown in containers, indoors or out. Rosemary prefers a slightly alkaline pH (7.0 - 7.8) and well-drained soil. Rosemary can be propagated be taking 6 inches of new growth and planting it.
Very few pests or diseases bother rosemary. Spittlebugs may be found on rosemary but they are easily displaced with a spray of water from the hose.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!