By: Liz Baessler
Rosemary is a great plant to have around. It’s fragrant, it’s useful in all kinds of recipes, and it’s quite tough. It likes full sun and well-drained soil. It can only survive down to 20 F. (-6 C.), so in cool climates, it’s best grown as a container plant. In mild climates, however, it makes a great shrub in outdoor beds, where it blooms spectacularly in the winter. Keep reading to learn more about growing Tuscan blue rosemary and how to care for Tuscan blue rosemary plants.
Growing Tuscan Blue Rosemary
All varieties of rosemary bloom with delicate flowers. The color of the flowers can vary from type to type, ranging from shades of pink to blue to white. Tuscan blue rosemary plants (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’), true to their name, produce deep blue to violet flowers. The plant should bloom from winter to spring. Flowers may come back again for a smaller showing in summer or autumn.
How To Grow Tuscan Blue Rosemary Plants
Tuscan blue rosemary care is relatively easy. Tuscan blue rosemary plants grow in a more upright pattern than many other rosemary varieties. They can grow up to 7 feet (2 m.) tall and 2 feet (0.5 m.) wide. If you want to keep your plant more compact, you can prune it back heavily (by as much as ½) in the spring, after it has finished blooming.
Tuscan blue rosemary hardiness is a little better than that of other rosemary varieties. It should be able to survive down to about 15 F. (-9 C.), or USDA zone 8. If you live in a colder climate than that, you may be able to overwinter your Tuscan blue rosemary by heavily mulching it in the fall and planting it in a spot that’s sheltered from the wind but still receives full sun.
If you want to be sure your rosemary survives the winter, you should grow it as a container plant and bring it indoors for the cold months.
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Tuscan Blue Rosemary Has Brown Leaves And Is Dying
Rosemary, Tuscan Blue, potted. just not thriving. see some clumping and dying brown. well drained, but SC humidity not the Calif. weather we're used to.
Does get more water than CALIF.
Should we move inside to A/C? drier. never water?
Second plant to be dying. first was in ground under trees and maybe clay/wet feet. less than foot tall after three months. Not "fast growing".
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Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day shade means little or no direct sun.
Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.
Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year perennials can live for more than two years.
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Additional Uses Additional ways in which the product may be used in the garden.
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Rosemary may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or planted as a potted plant.
Sowing Seed Indoors:
- Sow rosemary seeds indoors 10 weeks before outdoor planting date in spring using a seed starting kit
- Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
- Seedlings will emerge in 14-21 days
- As soon as the seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill, or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun where water drains quickly after a rainfall.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
- Rosemary may also be grown in containers. Make sure the potting mix is light and well drained. Use a mix for succulent plants, or add perlite to improve drainage.
- Do not allow plants to dry out, but never let the soil stay wet. A clay pot is recommended as it drains well.
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Tuscan Blue Rosemary is an evergreen shrub that grows to about 4-6' feet tall and 4-6 feet wide in zones 8 to 10. It is perfect for the southern states as it is more tolerable to heat and humidity. In zones further north it's a good idea to protect plants in winter or plant them in containers and take them inside. Though it sounds like lots of trouble, this rosemary plant is worth the effort! Throughout the year, this Mediterranean native has needle-like leaves, which are very fragrant from afar. In spring, its small violet blue flowers cover the plants and attract butterflies, bees and other beneficial pollinators. Tuscan Blue rosemary has a lemony tang that goes along with its pine flavor and scent. It is not as harsh a taste as most other varieties and partners well with chicken, lamb, and fish.
Rosemary is a great culinary herb for the garden, and the broad, bushy 'Tuscan Blue’ has the added appeal of distinctly sea green foliage and violet-blue flowers. In the South, it is classified as a shrub and can be useful ornamentally in foundation plantings and garden beds. Be sure to plant it near decks, patios, porches and other outdoor living areas where the fragrance and the pretty blue flowers can be enjoyed from closer up. It is also at home in coastal areas, rock gardens, hillsides and, like other rosemary plants, is deer and pest resistant. As with all varieties of rosemary, Tuscan Blue performs very well in pots and may be brought indoors for winter use.
Culture & Care Tips
Rosemary is easy to grow and appreciates well-drained soils and plenty of sun. Constantly soggy or wet soils can be problematic. Water as needed until fully established during its first year and then only occasionaly as needed. If desired, lightly shear for shaping after flowering in spring and apply a general timed release fertilizer at that time.
A superb Rosemary introduced by Theresa Mieseler of Shady Acres Herb Farm in Minnesota. The highly fragrant and flavorful leaves can be used to flavor lamb dishes, roast meats, sausages, fish, poultry and potatoes. Try adding fresh sprigs to vinegar or olive oil to create delicious…
'Spice Island' is an upright Rosemary with lush, highly flavorful foliage. Use fresh or dried leaves to flavor lamb dishes, roast meats, sausages, fish, poultry and potatoes. Try adding fresh sprigs to vinegar or olive oil to create delicious sauces or dressings. Rosemary is also an…
Does anyone have a Rosemary variety that regularly survives? Tips on care?
This is year 7 for me and all but one year my beautiful plants made it to February and died in the first week.
I cook, and love the plant for decorative uses!
You’re in my zone, too. The short answer is No. We’re too cold for any rosemary to over winter. I can get rosemary to hang in there to about 20 degrees, so I keep it outside until then and return it to the outside when it gets around freezing. I don’t like to push its cold tolerance when adjusting from inside temps, even though ours is a house most would consider chilly. I forgot to take my rosemarys in one night this winter when the temps hit 12 and they both survived (one upright, one prostrate),, but with lots of damage.
But….here’s my take on things. Rosemary doesn’t transition well to inside. I’ve had the best luck with prostrate rosemary in a cool, north-facing garden window. It blooms all winter!
I read that could could dig a deep hole (4′) wrap the plant in burlap and bury it over the winter. I did that once. Dug in up in late April. It was sad looking, but had lots of green growth grown in the ground! It died almost instantly though, even though the temps were just fine. Didn’t try it again.
I just bought an Arp rosemary for the first time. I hope to take cuttings and experiment with different micro-climates. I have an double-walled, plexiglass greenhouse, but it gets just as cold as the outside. It is, obviously, a more sheltered climate. I am going to try putting it on a heat mat inside a mini-greenhouse within the bigger greenhouse to get me through the very worst of the winter. I adore rosemary so I’ll keep trying!
ARP are good to zero so you would likely have to plant it in an insulated container to protect it then keep it growing in a cold frame next to your house to block the wind.This way you could remove the lid on the cold frame in the summer months when it doesn’t need protection but you’d put the lid back on during the winter months. When the temperature drops near zero bring the potted plant inside .A light bulb inside the cold frame would give the plant some much needed heat & protection but I can’t promise how much.I’m going to start growing it here In West Virginia and will be doing all the above for mine
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