Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


Plant Family

Mint Family (Labiatae / Lamiaceae)

Common Names

Rose of Mary


Rosemary is a drought tolerant aromatic evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean region. It is also grown as a perennial landscape plant in areas where winter temperatures seldom dip below zero.

Plant as a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9 (some references list Zones 8 through 10).

Flowering green shrub
Mature Rosemary shrub Photo credit: cliff1066  Flickr CC BY 2.0

Rosemary can grow up to 4 to 6 feet tall and wide eventually becoming woody and shrub-like. Small blue-purple flowers bloom along a stalk in late spring.

Dwarf cultivars and those with white or pink flowers are available. Some cultivars will bloom again if spent flowers stalks are removed. Thin dark green leaves have grayish green undersides.

Plant in full sun in well drained dry soils or in pots if plant will be taken inside during winter. Although difficult, sometimes Rosemary may successfully be grown indoors in colder regions.

Rosemary is used as an herb in cooking as well as for fragrance. Some evidence supports its medicinal properties.


Hawk moths

Bee feeding on a white flower
Bee feeding on rosemary flower Photo credit: Automania Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Additional Resources:

USDA Plant Database 


California – Rosemary
Idaho – Rosemary


Pennsylvania – Rosemary