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Best uses

A great trailing shrub for over walls and rockeries, in herb gardens and mixed in with veggies and perennials. Great for growing in large containers or used as a groundcover. A useful plant for especially dry, hot or windy conditions as they are pretty tough. It is also tolerant of clay soils. Leaves are used in cooking and adding to roasts, especially roast lamb to add flavouring. Rosemary also attracts plenty of different pollinators to the garden.

Physical characteristics

An evergreen, woody, trailing aromatic shrub growing to around 0.5m tall and 0.4m wide.

Flowers and foliage

Leaves are small, narrow and pointed, dark green above and grey beneath and highly aromatic. Flowers are produced from spring to summer at the end of new growth. They are pale blue and tubular with two lips.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun with well-drained soil.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants and plant after autumn rains. Before planting, ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter bag or pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball and firm in and water once planted. Make sure plants are watered well until established if planting in a drier period. Plant with some general slow-release fertiliser and then every spring apply an organic-based fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre as new growth begins.

Maintenance tips

Apply an organic mulch annually to help suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Feed annually in spring with a balanced fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre in spring as new growth begins. Rosemary is often used in cooking so is constantly being picked, however, if the plants are not being picked or are in need of tidying up or trimming, this can be done whenever is required. Very old, woody, leggy growth can be pruned back to encourage new growth to be produced. They can be pruned pretty hard, but this type of pruning should only be done in warmer months so the new exposed growth doesn't get frosted or damaged.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Attracts beneficial pollinators to the garden.

Pests and diseases

No issues but will rot in wet conditions.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Herb garden