Most of us have enjoyed the delights of Rosmarinus officinalis in a culinary context. More commonly known as rosemary, this fragrant herb is a popular addition to soups, casseroles and stews. With its earthy, pungent flavour, it is a perfect complement to lamb, fish and potatoes. In other words, it’s wonderful. If it’s not in your herb garden, it’s time for a change.
When browsing for online plants, you’ll notice rosemary comes in a number of different varieties. It can be tricky to know which is the best choice for your garden. So, we’re going to take a closer look at the most popularly grown varieties and their common uses.
Best Varieties for Vertical Growth
Tuscan Blue is the tallest variety of rosemary. It is able to reach a maximum height of 7 feet, so it makes a bold statement. As it also has dark blue flowers, it’s quite a dramatic plant. Try adding this variety to larger gardens to create the illusion of a smaller, cosier space.
The charmingly named Miss Jessop’s Upright is another vertical variety with blue flowers. While it doesn’t grow as tall as Tuscan Blue, it can reach 5 feet tall and it works wonderfully as an accent piece informal herb gardens and tighter spaces.
Best Varieties for Groundcover
Huntington Carpet is, as its name suggests, a rosemary variety which grows close to the ground. As it has narrower leaf nodes, it appears denser than some other varieties. This makes it ideal for slopes and covering slopes and walls.
Similarly, Prostratus is a variety which grows around 2 feet tall and up to 8 feet across. It blooms with pale blue flowers and is popularly used to accent walls. When planted on an edge, it cascades beautifully. The densely packed leaves offer good coverage without appearing messy or unkempt.
Best Varieties for Colder Climates
If your rosemary variety needs to be cold tolerant, we recommend Salem or Hill Hardy. The former can withstand temperatures lows of at least 0° (sometimes colder depending on the quality of care and type of soil). The latter is a medium-tall variety (maximum two feet) with a useful resistance to colder, wetter climates.
Best Varieties for Use in Cooking
There are no bad choices when it comes to picking rosemary varieties for culinary use. They are all suitable options with their own slight flavour and aroma variations. Generally speaking, taller vertical plants produce the strongest flavours. Spice Island, Tuscan Blue and Blue Spires are all good varieties to check out.
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