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Products > Westringia fruticosa
Westringia fruticosa - Coast Rosemary
Image of Westringia fruticosa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [Westringia rosmariniformis]
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Westringia fruticosa (Coast Rosemary) - A dense evergreen (evergray) shrub that in cultivation here in California typically grows to be a 4-6 feet tall mound by nearly twice as wide and can be left as a dense rounded shrub or be sheared for a more formal look. The linear dark gray-green leaves look similar to rosemary foliage, explaining the common name and one of the old synonyms for this plant, Westringia rosmariniformis. The small white flowers bloom along the branches year-round in mild climates but it is a spring-bloomer in colder areas.

Plant in full sun where it is drought tolerant but keeps better color and remains more dense when given occasional spring and summer irrigation. Cold hardy to about 20 F. It is an excellent dense growing shrub for coastal plantings where it can tolerate wind and sea spray.

Westringia fruticosa is native to the coast of New South Wales, Australia where it can be seen hugging the cliffs and growing near the sand on the beach. The name for the genus was given to it by Sir James Edward Smith, an English botanist and founder of the Linnaean Society in 1788. The name honors Dr. Johan Peter Westring (1753-1833), a botanist and physician to King Charles XIII of Sweden, who was a student of Linnaeus. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word 'frutico' meaning "to put forth shoots" or "become bushy", likely in reference to the dense bushiness of this species.

Westringia fruticosa was introduced into cultivation in California by William Walker at his Golden Gate Nursery in San Francisco in 1858. It was awarded the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1993. We have been growing this great shrub since 1984 and it has proven itself to be useful, fairly drought tolerant and long lived in the landscape. We also grow several cultivars of this species including the variegated forms Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light' and Westringia fruticosa 'Smokey', the low growing Westringia fruticosa Mundi and the even lower growing Westringia fruticosa Low Horizon and the compact gray Westringia fruticosa Gray Box. We also grow several hybrids of this species, including Westringia 'Wynyabbie Gem', Westringia 'Wynyabbie Highlight' and and the compact blue flowering Westringia 'Blue Gem

This information about Westringia fruticosa displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.