Rosemary plant is one of the most popular herbs in the garden. There are many kinds of rosemary plants available in the market today. They vary from small shrubs to large trees with huge branches. All these varieties have their own unique characteristics and qualities which make them suitable for various purposes. Rosemary is a member of the mint family, which includes such well known herbs as oregano, thyme and basil (the three main members).

The name “rose” comes from the Latin word rosa (“flower”) and marmora (“marble”). These two words together mean “beautiful flower”. The leaves of rosemary are usually green or pinkish white, but they may also be purple, red, yellow or even black. The flowers are tiny, pale pink to lilac colored and up to 1/4 inch long. They grow on stems up to 6 inches tall.

There are several species of rosemary. Some are perennial, others bloom only once a year and some are annuals. Most varieties grow best in full sun, but they will tolerate partial shade. They prefer moist soil and thrive in sandy or loamy soils. They do not like dry conditions at all!

They need regular watering during the summer months when they produce their beautiful flowers.

Variety Name Description Common Names How To Grow?

Salvia spp. There are about 550 species of Salvia world-wide, and they come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors. Most are annuals or short-lived perennials, but a few are shrubs or small trees. Many have ornamental flowers, others have edible fruits, and some even have medicinal uses. They thrive in many types of soils and situations, and are native to every continent except Antarctica. Sages are attracting the attention of gardeners everywhere with their many interesting characteristics. Sage is a very easy to grow plant, but there are a few things to remember if you are going to use it for cooking. Most types of Salvias have a strong taste that may take some getting used to. The best way to use these varieties in your cooking is in small amounts. Most of them don’t even need to be cooked, just add a little at a time until the desired strength is reached. “Tricolor Sage” Salvia hybrid This variety is a popular ornamental that offers three different colors in each flower; white, purple and a deep red. The blooms are about an inch across and the plant grows to about 3 feet in height. These are annuals and will not come back next year without being reseeded. They thrive in full sun and need well-draining soil. Sages do not like their roots to be wet, so make sure that the soil you plant them in has good drainage. “Cherries Jubilee Sage” Salvia elegans There are several varieties of this plant, but this one is a very colorful annual that blooms throughout most of the year. The flowers are a deep pinkish red color, and they grow in spikes that are 2-3 inches long. They thrive in full sun and need regular watering. After the blooms have faded, the seed heads may be left on the plant to make it look nice throughout the winter months. “Anise Sage” Salvia daricolca This annual grows to about 2 feet tall and has a grayish green hue. The flowers are a pale lavender color, and they have a soft anise flavor when they are crushed. They thrive in full sun and prefer well-draining soil. Keep the roots dry to prevent the seeds from sprouting too early. “Chia Sage” Salvia columbariae This short-lived perennial is native to southwestern United States and Mexico. It has a spreading nature and will form a nice ground cover if allowed. The flowers are blue and the seeds look like the popular Chia Pet commercials. They need plenty of sun and dry soil to thrive well. “Blue Carpet” Salvia hispanica The leaves of this perennial are a very deep green and have a bluish cast. It grows only 6-12 inches tall and has a spreading nature. The flowers are a deep violet color that are about an inch across. They thrive in full sun and average, well-draining soil. “Mayweed Sage” Salvia glutinosa This long-lived perennial has a weak root system and will spread by seed. It has a whitish bloom that gives it the common name of Mayweed. The leaves have a strong aroma that is like a combination of mint and sage. It grows to about 2 feet tall and requires full sun. It prefers sandy and dry soil. “Purple Leaf Sage” Salvia leucophylla The leaves of this perennial have a purple tinge on the edges and are a dark green color. It loves hot and dry conditions, and will only thrive in well-draining soil. They grow about 2 feet tall and spread slowly. The flowers are a light pink color with purple veining. “Pink Baktun” Salvia pachyphylla This is a spreading shrub that grows about 2 feet tall and has a small, tight growth habit. It grows in clumps and has a light gray-green appearance. The flowers are a deep shade of pink and they thrive in full sun to partial shade. This needs very well-draining soil. “Roughleaf Sage” Salvia triloba This short-lived perennial has a grayish green hue and grows in clumps. It has a very rough texture and the edges of the leaves are serrated. The flowers are purple and they need full sun to bloom well. They prefer dry soil, but don’t let it get too dry or they will drop their blooms.

“Silver Rain” Salvia argentea This annual has a semi-upright nature and grows about 2 feet tall.

Sources & references used in this article:

Rosemary contact dermatitis and cross‐reactivity with other labiate plants by I González‐Mahave, T Lobesa, MD Del Pozo… – Contact …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library

Leaf wax n-alkane distributions in and across modern plants: implications for paleoecology and chemotaxonomy by RT Bush, FA McInerney – Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2013 – Elsevier

Essential Oils from Dalmatian Sage (Salvia officinalis L.):  Variations among Individuals, Plant Parts, Seasons, and Sites by NB Perry, RE Anderson, NJ Brennan… – Journal of agricultural …, 1999 – ACS Publications

Companion planting–do aromatic plants disrupt host‐plant finding by the cabbage root fly and the onion fly more effectively than non‐aromatic plants? by S Finch, H Billiald, RH Collier – Entomologia experimentalis et …, 2003 – Wiley Online Library

Effects of genetic impoverishment on plant community diversity by RE Booth, JP Grime – Journal of Ecology, 2003 – Wiley Online Library

New insights into antibacterial and antioxidant activities of rosemary essential oils and their main components by AM Ojeda-Sana, CM van Baren, MA Elechosa… – Food control, 2013 – Elsevier

Salicylic acid-regulated antioxidant mechanisms and gene expression enhance rosemary performance under saline conditions by MA El-Esawi, HO Elansary, NA El-Shanhorey… – Frontiers in …, 2017 – frontiersin.org

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