Westringia fruticosa – Coastal Rosemary
Westringia fruticosa, commonly known as Coastal Rosemary or Australian Rosemary, is a tender, low-growing evergreen shrub that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Its various names, including Westringia rosmariniformis, Westringia villosa, and Coast Rosemary, reflect its widespread cultivation and resemblance to rosemary. Native to Australia, this hardy plant is often found growing on coastal cliffs, showcasing its adaptability to challenging seaside environments.
Westringia fruticosa displays attractive gray-green foliage that adds a touch of elegance to any landscape. The leaves are long and narrow, giving the plant a graceful appearance. Unlike true rosemary, the leaves of Westringia fruticosa are not aromatic. This distinguishes it from its fragrant culinary counterpart, despite their visual similarities.
During the spring, Westringia fruticosa produces delicate white flowers that contribute to its overall charm. In warmer climates, it may even bloom throughout the year, providing a continuous display of blossoms. The flowers feature an interesting structure, with the upper petal divided into two lobes and the lower petals displaying orange or purple spots. This unique combination of colors adds visual interest and allure to the plant.
How to grow Westringia fruticosa:
One of the reasons for the popularity of Westringia fruticosa is its ease of cultivation. It thrives in a variety of growing conditions and is well-suited for both garden borders and rock gardens. When selecting a planting site, ensure well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging, as this plant prefers dry conditions. It tolerates a range of soil types and can adapt to various pH levels, making it versatile in different garden settings.
Coastal Rosemary flourishes in full sun to partial shade, allowing it to receive the necessary sunlight for optimal growth. Once established, it exhibits remarkable drought tolerance, making it an excellent choice for water-wise landscapes. Its hardy nature also contributes to its resistance to common diseases and pests, resulting in minimal maintenance requirements.
Propagation and Care
Westringia fruticosa can be propagated from both seeds and semi-hardwood cuttings. Sow the seeds in well-draining soil and provide suitable conditions for germination. Semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken from mature stems and rooted in a suitable growing medium.
Pruning requirements for Westringia fruticosa are minimal, and it generally maintains a neat and compact form without intervention. However, light pruning after flowering can help maintain its shape and encourage bushier growth if desired.
Westringia fruticosa, with its low-growing habit, attractive foliage, and charming white flowers, is a valuable addition to gardens and landscapes. Its resilience and ability to thrive in coastal environments make it particularly well-suited for seaside gardens. Whether used as a border plant, rock garden feature, or container specimen, Coastal Rosemary brings a touch of elegance and versatility to any outdoor space, enhancing its overall appeal.
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