Rosemary is a perennial shrub and usually grows to about 1 meter (3.3 feet) in height, though some plants can reach up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) tall. The linear leaves are about 1 cm (0.4 inch) long and somewhat resemble small curved pine needles. They are dark green and shiny above, with a white underside and curled leaf margins. The small bluish flowers are borne in axillary clusters and are attractive to bees. Rosemary is fairly resistant to most pests and plant diseases, though it is susceptible to certain fungal infections, such as powdery mildew, in humid climates. Fresh rosemary is one of the most flavorful and fragrant herbs in the kitchen.
In ancient times rosemary was believed to strengthen the memory; in literature and folklore it is an emblem of remembrance and fidelity. Rosemary is slightly stimulating. In traditional medicine it was a popular aromatic constituent of tonics and liniments. Today its fragrant oil is an ingredient in numerous toiletry products and in vermouth.
- Grow in a sunny location. Rosemary thrives in 6-8 hours of direct sun.
- Water when the soil feels dry. Once established, rosemary likes to stay on the dry side. Allow top inch of soil to dry out between watering, and then water thoroughly.
- Re-pot as the plant gets larger and the roots fill the container. A rosemary plant that grows in a container can reach 1 to 3 feet high. Just keep transplanting to a larger container when the roots fill the pot.
- Prune rosemary frequently. The more you trim, the bushier the plant grows. Prune the plant after it flowers to keep it compact.