Hanging rosemary: what varieties can you grow in the garden and what is the plant useful for?
Rosmarinus means “sea dew”. It is a delightfully fragrant herb native to the Mediterranean region. In the Middle Ages, this herb was used for love spells. While a majority of us enjoy the aroma of this fresh plant, most people today grow it for its culinary uses and ornamental qualities. This herb tolerates extreme heat and blazing sun just as well as cold. The dark green leaves are up to 5 cm long and are rich in aromatic oils. Small, pale blue to white flowers appear on the branches from March to May. As one of the best and hardiest ground covers for dry regions, hanging rosemary also thrives in nutrient-poor and flat soil.
Hanging rosemary: what varieties are grown?
At least one variety of this herb is essential in a culinary herb garden. There are several easy-care varieties. The hanging rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis “Prostratus”) is one of them. We show you some varieties that are well suited for cultivation.
The “Haifa” variety (Salvia rosmarinus “Haifa”)
‘Haifa’ is a woody perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves, but unlike most species it grows low making it a good ground cover. The maximum height is 10 cm. ‘Haifa’ is a hardy perennial with fragrant foliage and pale blue flowers in Spring/Summer. It prefers a light, sandy soil that fully covers its meager nutrient requirements. True to its origin, the plant prefers a sunny and sheltered location. It also tolerates frost if it is not too windy and too wet.
The leaves of Haifa are extremely aromatic and, when finely chopped, can be used to flavor a variety of dishes, especially stuffings. Many cooks simply cut off branches and add them to roasted meats, especially lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It also tastes wonderful chopped with fried potatoes and in tomato sauces. The leaves can also be made into a tea to aid digestion or dried and added to dishes. The leaves can also be used in a bathwater infusion to relax muscles while stimulating the mind. Of course, it is also distilled into an essential oil and added to many cosmetic products. The plant promotes memory and in the language of flowers it is used as a symbol for memory. It is also said to prolong life.
One of the most enduring varieties: Salem rosemary
This is an easy herb to grow and a pretty and fragrant plant in any garden. Some regions are too hot or too cold for rosemary, and many are too humid. This is where the Salemer variety comes into play, a hybrid plant that is versatile in the kitchen and tolerates humid climates better than most rosemary plants. In temperate zones, the Salem variety is a perennial that, once planted, should return year after year. In colder and warmer zones, it is also suitable as an annual plant for the container or vegetable garden. The plant grows upright and is about a meter high and a meter wide.
Hanging rosemary: Gorizia variety
In Texas, this variety is nicknamed barbecue skewer rosemary for its edible and ornamental qualities. The Gorizia variety is a beautiful, aromatic plant for domestic use. Pollinators like bees and other beneficial insects love it. It offers a wealth of culinary possibilities – from marinades and dried herbs to using the stalks as skewers for shish kebabs on the grill.
It grows quickly and has a strong, upright habit. Its needle-like foliage is twice the foliage of other strains and has an incredible flavor and fragrance. The sturdy, straight stems are complemented by lush, sky-blue flowers that attract bees. The plants are easy to trim and are perfect for hedges, privacy screens and special topiary or simply as individual plants. This strain is an ideal plant for those who enjoy gardening, cooking, and using dry herbs. The plant is particularly suitable for grilling, as the woody stem can be used as a skewer.
Tuscan Blue Rosemary (“Tuscan Blue”)
As its name suggests, it has deep blue to violet flowers. Hanging rosemary from this variety should bloom from winter through spring. The blooms may return again for a smaller appearance in summer or fall. Caring for this strain is relatively easy. It grows more upright than many other species and can reach 2 m in height and 0.5 m in spread.
If you want to keep your plant more compact, you can cut it back heavily (up to half) in spring after flowering. Tuscan Blue Rosemary’s resilience is slightly better than other varieties. It should be able to survive down to a temperature of around -9 °C. If you live in a colder climate, you may be able to overwinter your plant by mulching it heavily in the fall and planting in a spot that is sheltered from the wind and gets full sun. If you want to be sure your plant will survive the winter, consider growing it as a container plant and bringing it indoors during the cold months.
An evergreen variety:
‘Blue Rain’ This is an evergreen perennial with a spreading or cascading habit. It has gray-green, linear, fragrant leaves and light blue flowers that bloom for a long time from spring into summer. The foliage is aromatic. The plant will reach a height of 0.2 m and a spread of 0.6 m after 5-10 years and is suitable for planting in poor, well drained soil in a protected, sunny spot.