Growing Hardy Hill Rosemary in Northeast Florida Herb Gardens
(Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Hardy Hill’)
Uses and Origins for Hardy Hill Rosemary Herb Plants For Northeast Florida:
Rosmarinus officinalis herb plants are natives of the Mediterranean area. Hardy Hill rosemary is a selection of Rosmarinus officinalis introduced by Madeline Siegler of Monk’s Hill Herb Farm. It is often foound growing under the names Madeline’s Hill or Hill hardy.
Hardy Hill rosemary is known for it’s extreme cold tolerance, upright, yet rounded growth habit and slightly larger leaf blades with nice silvery undertone to the underside of the leaves. Hardy Hill rosemary has light sky blue flowers and is at home in any garden setting.
Use Rosemary leaves fresh, dried, or added into herb oils, vinegars and butters. Rosemary’s strong flavors add great flavor to beef, veal, lamb, pork and chicken dishes. Used sparingly, rosemary is a nice compliment to vegetable dishes as well.
Click this link to open a new window for more information on medicinal uses of Rosemary
Growing Season for Northeast Florida Hardy Hill Rosemary:
Hardy Hill Rosemary herb plants are an evergreen, woody perennial that can be planted at any time of the year from S & J Nursery containers in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden’s landscape.
Sow seeds of Rosmarinus officinalis in spring.
Sun Exposure for Hardy Hill Rosemary in Northeast Florida:
Plant hardy Hill rosemary herb plants in full sun, or afternoon sun location in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens. Rosemary’s flavor and aroma is said to be at its best when planted into sunny locations. (Note: In Florida gardens, 6 hours of direct exposure is still considered a full sun location.)
Soil Preference for Hardy Hill Rosemary Herb Plants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens:
Hardy Hill rosemary herb plants do not require extremely fertile or moist soils to grow and thrive. Plant into any well drained area where water does not stand after a rain.
In Northeast Florida, unless you have a sandy garden spot, planting Rosemary into dry soils may prove to be a bit difficult during our rainy seasons. If planting your rosemary herbs into the ground, consider adding some sand to areas where water will stand after rains, or planting your rosemary into raised beds, elevated mounds, or containers.
Rosemary herbs are ideal candidates for container garden herbs. I like to use a large clay pot (the size it takes your arms to get a good hold of, not your hands) planted half way into the ground and filled with 50 percent sand and 50 percent good quality garden compost. That way, I know I can be in control of how much water my rosemary is getting, and they never sit in water during summer rains.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of Hardy Hill Rosemary / Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Hardy Hill’ Herb Plants:
Typically, little to no additional watering is needed for in ground rosemary plants. Watering once weekly for container rosemary plantings is needed only in times of drought for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine are landscape. For that reason, rosemary makes an excellent xeriscape, or water wise planting.
In general, herbs require little in the way of fertilizer. To much fertilizer with herbs can be worse than not enough. Over fertilization can lead to lush green growth with a reduced quantity of volatile oils in the leaves. Reduced oils, means reduced flavor and aroma in your herbs.
However, in Florida’s sandy soils you may find your plants in need of some help, particularly if compost wasn’t added to the soil when planting. Try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed at one ounce of each per gallon of water. Put into a sprayer and water every other week or as needed with the mixed solution.
If you find your rosemary plants struggling at any point, and your soil is not waterlogged, make up a batch of compost tea and water generously. Repeat as needed weekly or biweekly. If your soil has been remaining consistently wet,
Size of Hardy Hill Rosemary Herb Plants When Mature:
Hardy Hill rosemary plants can grow 3-4 ft or higher when planted into an ideal location, and have a 2-3 ft or more spread. Shear plants annually for best appearance. Remove at least a third of the previous years growth.
Harvesting Hardy Hill Rosemary Herb Plants in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Hardy Hill rosemary can be trimmed for harvesting any time during the year. Annual shearing or harvesting should be done just after the plant blooms, blooms can also be used in the making of rosemary oil extracts.
Use Rosemary leaves fresh, or dry them by hanging them upside down in a cluster till dry, you can also strip the leaves from the stems and spread out over a mesh screen or paper plate and allow them to dry that way. Store dried Rosemary leaves in an airtight container out of the reach of sunlight.
Rosemary leaves and soft woody stems can also be added to herb vinegars, oils and herb butters.
Use the woody portions of older rosemary herbs as skewers for barbecue!
Blooms of Hardy Hill Rosemary Herbs for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Hardy Hill rosemary will have beautiful clear blue flowers in summer.
Sowing Rosemary / Rosmarinus officinalis Herb Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Rosemary can be planted from seed, although some genetic variation from the parent plant will be produced in the seedlings.
Rosemary seeds have a low germination rate even under the best of circumstances. According to The Rhodale Herb Book, “Commonly only one to five of every ten seeds planted will germinate. And it may take up to three years to produce a usable bush from seed.
Rosemary can also easily be propagated from stem cuttings. Trim off the top few inches of the growing stems, strip the leaves off the lower portion and plant the cut stems into moist sand for a few weeks. Check your cuttings after a few weeks, if they come right out of the sand, leave them a bit longer, if they begin to resist when gently tugged, you will know roots have begun to form and are grabbing hold of the loose soil. Plant your new rooted cuttings out in the garden and you’ve got yourself some more beautiful rosemary plants!
Note: Rosemary can also be air layered by bending stems down and pinning a portion of them to the ground and covering with dirt. When roots begin branching off of the stem, cut the stem portion containing both the growing tip and the new roots, and plant in a new location.