Westringia fruticosa 'Smokey' (Coast Rosemary) - This is a medium-sized compact shrub which grows to 4-6 feet tall and as wide. The tightly crowded linear leaves have a cream colored variegation along the margins. The flowering period for the species Westringia fruticosa can be year round in coastal gardens but this plant is a bit more shy to bloom and flowers are typically only seen in spring although the attractive foliage makes up for this. The small white flowers are tinged with violet but otherwise are very similar to those of Westringia fruticosa.
Plant in full sun to light shade. Tolerates coastal conditions and is drought tolerant. Hardy to about 20° F. It is similar to Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light', but is more upright growing and has a more overall gray look, whereas 'Morning Light' is squatter and has a yellowish cast.
The origins of this plant are unclear though a plant listed as Westringia rosmariniformis 'Smokie' was first listed in Norwood's (a specialty tag company in Australia) reference book in 1982 and continues to be offered in Australia under this spelling. We received this plant from Robert Abe of Chia Nursery in 1999 and have been growing this plant since 2000. 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.
We also grow the species Westringia fruticosa and another variegated cultivar Westringia fruticosa 'Smokey' and the low growing Westringia fruticosa Mundi and and Westringia fruticosa Low Horizon, the compact gray Westringia fruticosa Gray Box, as well as the hybrids Westringia 'Wynyabbie Gem', Westringia 'Wynyabbie Highlight' and Westringia Blue Gem.
Information about Westringia fruticosa 'Smokey' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.