Hands down, no questions asked, my favorite herb is Rosemary. Although it is hard to choose, and I don’t ordinarily play favorites when it comes to plants, this sturdy little plant from the mint family is so utilitarian it is always my first pick. Rosmarinus officianalis is also a relative of the Basils, Thymes and Salvias. This unassuming evergreen herb is very drought tolerant once established and is perfect for including in a xeriscape garden. A tender perennial except in zones 8 to 10, hundreds of varieties are available for growing with flowers in white, pink, purple and blue.
Its uses are many: culinary for food flavoring, decorative in flower gardens or topiaries and medicinal in natural cleaning products or as an antiseptic. The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her cloak across a white flowering Rosemary bush which changed the flowers to blue. Hence the name Rosemary (Rose of Mary). A symbol of remembrance, Rosemary has been used for weddings and funerals for hundreds of years, primarily in Europe.
Buy it once and you never need to buy it again! Because my Rosemary has to come inside during winter, I trim it back severely and make wreaths and new plants from the cuttings each year. A little tricky to keep inside, Rosemary wants lots of light and a very cool room (55 to 60 degrees F). Let it dry out between waterings as it will rot or develop fungus problems if left wet or in standing water. But you can often root cuttings in water in a sunny, cool window! My favorite way to propagate new Rosemary plants is to snip off pieces and root them in potting soil. Some references will recommend using a hormone rooting powder, but I have never used it and had great success.
It takes a two to three weeks for the roots to grow on planted cuttings. In only about three months you will have a well-established Rosemary plant ready to use or make more new plants from. In spring, plant your Rosemary directly into the flower or vegetable garden or into terra cotta pots for easy transport. Prune it often by snipping off the tops and it will become a full, pretty plant. In milder climates, Rosemary can stay out year round and becomes shrub-size. It is just about the perfect plant in my opinion.
Below is a pictured tutorial to show you how to make all the Rosemary plants you’ll ever need from one plant! Happy Propagating!
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