US: Rosemary shrubs make their debut as tiny Christmas trees

Rosemary plants are gaining popularity as a holiday gift or a miniature, real Christmas tree. After the holidays, you can use it as an indoor houseplant. With a little care, holiday rosemary plants can be added to the landscape in the spring. Botanically speaking, Rosmarinus officinalis is an aromatic, woody shrub that originated in the Mediterranean. The word “rosemary” is derived from the Latin rosmarinus, meaning, “dew of the sea.” This refers to where it grows natively, among the misty hills of the Mediterranean coast, in France, Italy, Spain and the Dalmatian Islands.

During the holiday season, rosemary plants are often sheared into formal topiaries or Christmas tree shapes. Most of the rosemary plants sold during the holiday season were grown in greenhouses. Therefore, they don’t react kindly to being transported, displayed and then carried through the cold into the dry warmth of heated homes.

Rosemary does best in slightly alkaline, well-drained soil and can handle either full sun or light shade. It can grow to be 3 to 5 feet in height, and because of its Mediterranean origins, rosemary is naturally drought resistant once it becomes established.

With a little extra care, the gift of a rosemary plant can survive and become a remembrance of the holiday season and add seasoning to your favorite recipes.

For more information about re-establishing holiday rosemary bushes outside after the season, search for the UGA Extension publication "Herbs in the Southern Garden" at

Source: University of Georgia

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