Rosemary officinalis (Rosemary) 14cm

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Rosemary

One of the most useful herbs, and the prettiest, with its beautiful blue flowers, deep green leaves and delicious aroma.

Rosemary is a much-loved kitchen herb, enlivening a range of dishes to the delight of cooks around the Country. Use it when roasting vegetables, meat (especially lamb) or work it through focaccia dough for an aromatic treat. In the garden it makes a pretty evergreen shrub, and the fine-textured foliage tolerates clipping well so you can train it into neat domes or attractive low hedges. Brightly coloured, blue-mauve flowers are borne in late spring and early summer - often with a repeat flush in early autumn. They're appealing to humans and a magnet for bees too. It's robust and hardy, so you can enjoy a repeat performance every year.

Smells great, tastes great, looks great and is easy to care for, this hardy evergreen shrub is a real winner.


Please note that the pot in the photograph is for illustrative purposes only and is not supplied with the plant.

Key Features

Plant Type: Herb

Hardiness: H4 Hardy. Minimum temperature -10 to -5.

Plant Height & Spread (at maturity): H 2m x W 2m (Mature age: 10 Years)

Foliage Colour: Green

Flower Colour: Blue

Fragrant Flower: No

Aromatic Foliage: Yes

RHS Award of Garden Merit: No

RHS Perfect for Pollinators: Yes

Foliage Type: Evergreen

Soil Type: Acid, Alkaline, Sandy, Clay, Chalky, Loam

Soil Drainage: Well Drained, Dry

Light Exposure: Full Sun

Planting Style: Mediterranean Garden, Rock Garden, Gravel & Drought Resistant Garden, Flower Beds & Borders, Border Edging, Coastal Garden, Cottage Garden, Informal Garden, Urban Garden, Courtyard Garden, Banks & Slopes

Season of Interest: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

Flowering (from - to): May - June

Harvesting (from - to): January - December

Harvesting Instructions: Rosemary is an evergreen plant, so you can harvest the leaves as you need them, all year round. However, their flavour will be at its very best in summer when the plants are actively growing. Simply snip the quantity required, then strip the leaves from the stems once you're back in the kitchen. Regular harvesting is helpful to keep the plants naturally bushy. Rosemary dries really well -  cut the top few inches of the growth off with scissors and tie into small bunches and hang up somewhere airy, or spread out the your clippings on a tray. Place your them in a dry, airy spot out of direct sunlight. Once the leaves are fully dry and brittle, crush them, discarding the twigs and store in an airtight container. The flowers can be eaten too - they make a wonderful garnish if you sprinkle them over dishes at the last minute, just before serving. They have the same flavour as the leaves but with an added hint of sweetness.

Plant Care & Advice

Like most Mediterranean herbs, rosemary needs sun to do its best and prefers to live hard. Give it a well-drained soil and go easy on the watering and it will be happy. If your soil is on the heavy side, or sits wet over the winter, dig some grit into it before planting, or consider making raised beds.

An ideal plant for gardens with poor, chalky soil. If you get lots of leggy, floppy growth you'll know you're being too nice! Don't bother feeding it, unless it's in a container and has been there more than a year.

Harvesting the shoot tips regularly is the best way to prune - the idea is to prevent it from becoming leggy - keep it as a nice mounded bush. By removing the tips you'll help keep it bushy. Don't cut back into old, leafless wood with no leaves, as the plant will struggle to regenerate.

Rosemary makes a wonderful low hedge - it tolerates clipping well, and you'll have the added bonus of fantastic scent as you brush past it.