Landscape Plant of the Month

Westringia fruticosa - Coastal or Native Rosemary

An excellent, hardy, drought tolerant Australian native plant, that is also tolerant of coastal salt spray conditions, Westringia fruticosa, is an old favourite indeed. Westringia, is a member of the Lamiaceae family, making it a relative of the Mint, Lavender and Salvia, to which the similarity of the flowers with the two upper lobes and three lower lobes can be readily identified. There are some 25 species of Westringia, growing naturally throughout Australia in every state except Northern Territory. There are many cultivars now available which are generally more free- flowering and grow to a more reliably- compact habit. Westringia fruticosa, has been widely cultivated for many years on the east coast of Australia and hails its origins from the NSW coastal districts, where they can be seen hugging cliffs and growing near frontline sand dunes. The foliage of Westringia fruticosa is grey to dark green, narrow and pointed and set closely in whorls around the stem, the underside of leaves have a silvery tint. Each leaflet is approximately 2cm in length and the flowers are generally- white to pale mauve, with light- brownish spots around the throat. Coastal rosemary, flowers in spring through summer and can spot flower throughout the rest of the year. Westringia fruticosa- (original form), likes well-drained soil, they detest waterlogging, and compacted mulches, can grow to 2mt tall and 2mt wide and they are easily propagated by cuttings. Among the many cultivars, there is a variegated form- called W. fruticosa- ‘Smokie’. And In the image above, they are also a favourite for bees!

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