What Rosemary Varieties Survive in Southern California?

What Rosemary Varieties Survive in Southern California?

“Will rosemary plants survive a mild winter in Zone 9?” Question from Linda of Fresno, California

Answer: Yes! Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a drought- and heat-tolerant Mediterranean shrub made for California growing. Here are my top four favorite rosemaries that will grow beautifully where you live. Each is unique in its own way.

Top Four Favorite Rosemary Varieties

  1. ‘Blue Boy’ dwarf rosemary (Zones 8-10): The low-growing ‘Blue Boy’ stays 6-8 inches tall and spreads to a foot and a half. It’s perfect for containers and flowers well.
  2. ‘Irene’ weeping rosemary (Zones 8-10): Plant this along the edge of a retaining wall or large pot. Its lavender-blue flowers, flavorful stems, and cascading habit make it a very impressive choice.
  3. ‘Arp’ hardy rosemary (Zones 6-10): Here’s the rosemary that I grow on the East Coast. It is big, bushy, flavorful, and will survive very cold winters.
  4. Tuscan Blue‘ (Zones 8-10): Noted for its vigorous nature, bushy habit, and wealth of spring flowers, ‘Tuscan Blue’ is also exceptional for cooking.

I hope that some of these great rosemary plants interest you.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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