The common rosemary is a large evergreen shrub growing with upward growing branches and dense needle-like leaves. Mature and unclipped plants can reach 6-8 ft. high and spread 10-12 ft. across. These leaves are deep green above and whitish below. Showy clusters of small medium blue flowers occur in late winter and intermittently throughout the year. Foliage is valued as a food seasoning and contains oils that are used in perfumes, lotions and soaps; flowers attract birds and bees.
Rosemary is native to coastal foothills and islands in the Mediterranean region where it grows on dry hills and rocky soils among heath type vegetation. It is a very adaptable plant that endures heat, drought and poor soils throughout the Inland Empire. It is an essential member of the Classic Mediterranean Palette where it can be clipped as a hedge, arranged on slopes and for foundation plantings. More than two dozen cultivars are available from different nurseries that offer prostrate forms and deeper blue flower colors. One compact cultivar, R. o. ‘Boule’ has distinctive branching and texture appearance, mounds 2-3 ft. high and 2-3 ft. across and fits residential garden scale spaces better.