Rosemary is most commonly known as a cooking herb, but it can also be used as an ornamental shrub. There are two main types of rosemary plants, the upright varieties and the creeping varieties. Both offer evergreen leaves, fragrant foliage and edible flowers. The name rosemary comes from the Latin word rosmarinus which means “dew of the sea.” This name most likely refers to the fact that rosemary originated in the Mediterranean area close to the sea.
Salem Rosemary is one of the upright varieties of rosemary. It offers delicate blue flowers, is a fast growing variety and works well as both a hedge and an ornamental plant. It can grow between 1 and 3 feet tall and it has a 1 to 3 foot spread. It is important that this variety of rosemary be planted in full sun and be offer a moderate level of moisture. Also make sure your Salem Rosemary is planted in soil that has good drainage.
Blue Boy Rosemary
Another variety of rosemary is the Blue Boy Rosemary. This is one of the smaller varieties of rosemary and will only grow to be a couple of inches tall. This makes it perfect for ground cover or for containers. Like most varieties of rosemary it has a blue flower which is edible and very fragrant evergreen leaves. It is a perennial shrub and has a healthy lifespan of multiple decades if cared for properly. The Blue Boy Rosemary plant will thrive in hardiness zones 8 through 10 if planted in full sun and in soil with pH levels between 6.5 and 8.5 that has good drainage. This variety prefers near drought conditions, so you don’t want to give it too much water.
Spice Island Rosemary
If you are interested in topiaries then consider the Spice Island Rosemary. This plant grows to be between 24 and 30 inches tall and is easy to train into a specific shape for your topiary garden. It offers the signature blue flower, the fragment evergreen leaves and it is also an edible plant and great for cooking. However, this variety of rosemary does have a very pungent flavor so it needs to be used in moderation.
Prostrate Rosemary is a variety of rosemary that works well for hanging basket gardens. This is one of the creeping varieties so it also works well for ground cover as well. It generally grows to be about 3 feet tall and can have a spread of between 4 and 8 feet. This is a warm climate variety and it prefers hardiness zones of between 8 and 10. However, if you are in the fringe between hardiness zones 7 and 8 you can still grow this plant if you position it next to a south facing wall. This will help provide your Prostrate Rosemary with a little extra warmth.
Common Rosemary is another upright variety. It can grow between 2 and 4 feet tall. Like other varieties of rosemary, the Common Rosemary plant prefers dry soil that has good drainage and that has full sun exposure. The flower of this variety of rosemary is light blue and works well as a cooking herb.