Rosemary ‘Prostratus’ is a low growing, groundcover 20 - 30cm high and 120cm to 2 meters wide. It has white stemmed branches that twist and curl creating dense foliage coverage over the ground. The leaves are lanceolate shaped, glossy and dark green. Their fragrance is of pine, camphor and eucalyptus and is similar to many of the upright rosemary varieties. The flowers are sky blue and cover the whole plant for much of the year. When conditions are dry there are more flowers.
Low growing rosemary varieties are often called ‘Prostrate’ or ‘Prostratus’ as a descriptive term, simply because of their trailing or creeping habit. This can create confusion because several named varieties do have a prostrate or semi-prostrate growth habit. In this case ‘Prostratus’ is the given variety name and refers to a specific plant, rather than the growth pattern. There may also be reference to this rosemary as a separate species. However the correct botanical designation is Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’. It may sometimes be seen as R. repens or R. lavandulaceus or Lockwood de Forest, which is a separate variety that also has a prostrate growth habit.
Rosemary ‘Prostratus’ is an excellent choice for growing over embankments or weeping down over walls. It will tolerate poor, dry soils, windy and coastal conditions as long as it has well drained soil and preferably full sun. As well as being highly ornamental, this rosemary is also suited to culinary use.
Rosemary is an evergreen, woody shrub native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. It belongs to the Lamiaceae or mint family, with the botanical name Rosmarinus officinalis. This name is from the Latin words ‘ros’ meaning dew and ‘marinus’ from the word for sea. Together they refer to the ‘dew of the sea’, because these plants grow in near coastal areas. There are many varieties, distinguished by being upright or prostrate, ranging in size from low ground covers to large shrubs reaching 1.5-2 meters high. The leaves are small and often needle like, ranging from green to grey-green with a pine like aroma produced by the essential oils in the foliage. The small flowers are bee attractants and range from pale pink, purple, white, and include a range of distinctive blues. They usually bloom from early spring to summer, sometimes with a new flush in autumn.
Rosemary is a hardy plant that needs little attention once established. Soil should be well drained and slightly alkaline, the aspect should have full sun or partial shade and plants require occasional watering. Rosemary is tolerant of dry periods, coastal conditions, poor soil, hot and windy aspects and even has moderate frost tolerance. Humid conditions, wet soil or excessive frost will cause problems for the roots and foliage. Plants may be pruned to shape, with larger varieties being suitable for hedging. Propagation from cuttings is easy for most home gardeners.
Most people know rosemary as a culinary herb, especially in Italian cuisine. However, this herb also has a history of medicinal use, including being reputed to improve memory. Of course, many gardeners grow Rosemary ornamentally or just for the lovely fragrance it imparts to the garden.
For more information on history, growth conditions, culinary and medicinal use please see our Common Rosemary listing and other varieties such as Tuscan Blue
All information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before commencing any treatment.
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