by Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener
Creeping rosemary’s Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means “dew of the sea,” and it’s most associated with healthy Mediterranean cooking.
Imagine tumbling rosemary growing over a wall and spreading across a desert rock lawn. Ideally, this rugged mountain gem is planted over garden walls, pots, banks or a sunny patch of ground in the garden.
It is superb as a ground cover for hot, dry locations; its habit is low and mounds just 12 inches high then spreads vigorously. Deep blue flowers arise in great masses that are both deer and pest resistant.
An evergreen thrifty on water use, creeping rosemary forms a beautiful carpet of deep blue flowers backed by herbal green foliage for an attractive ground cover. The aromatic leaves often are used as a flavorful culinary seasoning picked from the garden any time of the year.
One of its best uses is for erosion control on banks and slopes.
To keep rosemary happy, give it 6-plus hours of full sunlight each day. When growing indoors, place it in a south-facing window for bright light.
Grow rosemary in loamy, well-draining soil. This plant is native to the rocky hillsides of the Mediterranean and doesn’t do well if its roots stay soggy. Test the planting hole by filling it with water in the morning. If water is still pooling in your garden hole at the end of the day, you have drainage issues that need work.
Water newly planted rosemary regularly with a garden hose for at least one month (2 months in the summer). Automatic irrigation systems may not be sufficient initially. Water frequency will vary according to the season, exposure and plant size.
*April-October – Irrigate two times a week
*November-March – Irrigate two times a month!
Feed four times per year.
COMMON PESTS/ DISEASES
The biggest problem with growing rosemary indoors is getting the humidity level right. High humidity and poor air circulation commonly result in powdery mildew on rosemary plants.
Bugs to look for during the growing season are aphids and spider mites. These pests seem to live on houseplants through winter. Catching an infestation early makes for easy control.
Organic herbs grow naturally in the mountains of Arizona from lavender to lemon grass and
rue to rosemary.