Arbor Gate's Picks of the Month
Salem Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Salem’)
Salem Rosemary is one of the many upright rosemary varieties that grow well in our climate if we keep in mind that this best-loved herb was originally a native of the sea-sprayed cliffs of Greece, Italy, France Spain, and even Yugoslavia, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Here in the Upper Gulf Coast, we’ve learned to provide for rosemary’s needs, however, and no garden or landscape is complete without it. In fact, its shape renders it the exclamation point of any landscape.
Most varieties, including Salem, have narrow leaves that are dark green above and grayish white below. Rosemary’s flowers, which attract birds and bees, usually bloom in spring and early summer, and often intermittently at other times.
Upright varieties like Salem Rosemary have shrub-like shapes and usually attain 3 to 4 feet in height in the South. While full sun is ideal, rosemary will tolerate a considerable amount of high shade. Adding some lime to the soil helps to create the Mediterranean-type soil condition of rosemary’s home territory. Water lightly but often, and mulch to help protect from extreme heat.
With regard to cold temperatures, Salem Rosemary is renowned for surviving temperatures in the teens as far north as Tennessee. Our recent mild weathers make this a moot point, but is good to know when choosing among so many rosemary varieties.
Add Salem Rosemary to your landscape for its excellent texture, color, fragrance, and stunning shape — then carry on with more of this wonderful plant — if your garden contains three rosemary examples, you’re already a collector!