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Rosmarinus officinalis 'Tuscan Blue'

Rosemary

Evergreen, Herbs, Shrubs, Flowers

ROSMARINUS

Genus name means "dew of the sea," reflecting the plant's native habitat on seaside cliffs in the Mediterranean region.

Tough and versatile, rosemary grows most luxuriantly just above the tide line, braving wind and salt spray—but it will thrive inland, even enduring blistering sun and poor alkaline soil, if given moderate water and infrequent light feeding.

Height ranges from as low as 1 ft. to as tall as 6 ft. or more. Plants are thickly clothed in narrow, typically 1 to 1 1/2-in.-long resinous, aromatic leaves that are usually glossy dark green above, grayish white beneath.

Small clusters of 1/4- to 1/2-in. blossoms in various shades of blue (rarely pink or white) bloom through winter and spring; bloom occasionally repeats in fall. Blossoms attract birds, butterflies, bees; produce excellent honey. Leaves are widely used as a seasoning.

Flowers also are edible; add them to salads or use as a garnish.

Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’, photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’, photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters

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'Tuscan Blue'

Vita Sackville-West’s original, brought toEngland from Tuscany, had relativelybroad (to 1/4 in. wide)leaves; deep violet-blue flowers;upright habit to 6–7 ft. tall and1 1/2–2 ft. wide. A plant long soldas ‘Tuscan Blue’ in the U.S. fitsthis description but has lightblue flowers; with age, it turnswoody and bare at base.

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