The best variety for this area is winter hardy Rosmarinus officinalis 'Arp'. Discovered in Arp, Texas, by Madalene Hill of Hilltop Herb Farm in 1972. It is a Medium-high, open growth plant which benefits from frequent pruning. It has fragrant, thick gray-green leaves with light blue flowers in the spring. 'Arp' is known as the "winter hardy rosemary", since it's the hardiest variety available (will survive to -10°F). Mature plants can grow to about 5 feet tall and about as wide. If you don't want it to get this big, prune and use all the cuttings in your meals.
Rosemary needs a minimum 4 hours of direct sun for optimal growth and if you have clay soil it needs to be lightened up with compost or sand. Once planted it does not require any fertilizer and is very drought tolerant. It will do fine with as little as 12 inches of rain annually, but an inch a week will make it thrive.
- Rosemary is exceptionally rich in many B-complex vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin. It contains high levels of folates which are important in DNA synthesis and when given during the per-conception period it can help prevent defects in newborn babies.
- Rosemary also contains a good amount of vitamin A, a few leaves a day in the diet is enough. Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It's also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A are known to help the body protect from lung and oral cancers.
- Fresh rosemary leaves are also a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is required for making collagen in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and help scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- Rosemary is also a rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium controls strokes, blood pressure, anxiety, muscular strength, metabolism, heart and kidney disorders. Manganese is a trace mineral for promoting bone health, and used to treat medical conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, PMS, and diabetes.
- Rosemary is an excellent source of iron, which is a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells. Iron determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
- When considering what to plant in your landscape Rosemary has many lovely benefits from tasting great, to being lovely to look at and easy to care for.