Plant of the month: Rosmarinus officinalis

  By Melissa Ledesma 

Rosmarinus Officinalis is commonly known to be of good use in the kitchen, but what most people don’t know is that it is also a beautiful shrub. In spring and summer, rosemary blooms in small blue or purple flowers. When it blooms, the plant attracts hummingbirds and bees. As part of the mint family, rosemary is also known for keeping pests away because of its strong aroma.

Rosemary can be grown indoors or outdoors. If keeping it indoors during the winter, wait until all danger of frost has passed before transferring it outside. It can grow up to 6 feet tall and spread out roughly 4-6 feet. Do not forget to trim it once in a while.

This plant does well in dry areas so it doesn’t need as much water as you would think. Rosemary does best in full sun and well-drained soil. It’s perfectly suited for our California climate. The rosemary shrub, once established, needs to be watered every two or four weeks depending on weather. Too much water is what commonly causes the plant to die.

Rosemary has many health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which help improve the immune system and blood circulation. Research claims that the smell improves concentration, performance, speed, accuracy and mood. And according to neurological research, it can prevent aging of the brain. There is also research claiming that it can be used as an anti-tumor agent due to an ingredient it contains called carnosic acid.

Did you know that the name rosemary means “dew of the sea” from Latin word Rosmarinus? Rosemary is originally from the Mediterranean region. King Charlemagne of Western Europe had orders sent out to bring rosemary to his farms. It was then brought to what was known as the “New World” by European immigrants.

To learn more about this useful shrub, click here. 

For tips on growing plants that are disease- and pathogen-free, and protecting them from pests, see guidance here and here.

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