Rosmarinus officinalis Open-pollinated. From the Latin ros marinus meaning ‘dew of the sea,’ a reference to its native habitat, the Mediterranean coasts. Beloved tender perennial growing to 3–4'. Cannot withstand temperatures below 17°, may be overwintered indoors if kept cool and moist. Try near a cool basement window and keep misted. Dark grey-green needle-like leaves impart a robust resiny flavor. Rosemary clippings are said to repel slugs. Blossoms range from deep blue to pale pink. Likes dry alkaline soil; peat pots are too acidic. Not a good germinator—30% is average. Zone 8. ~800 seeds/g. ②③
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.