Christmas rosemary will scent your holidays

Christmas rosemary
Rosemary plants can be found in local nurseries and outlets. John Zvirovski / The Sun

The Christmas holidays are filled with the scents of the season. The most common smells are of fresh pine boughs, the light aromas of cinnamon and ginger, and the heady scents of frankincense and myrrh. Along with these aromatic items is the sacred herb of the Christmas rosemary.

In recent years, the Christmas rosemary has been sold in nurseries and floral shops as plants trimmed in the shape of miniature Christmas trees. Many are decorated in trimmings of red, white and gold and have a wonderful scent. Many people are curious where the story of the Christmas rosemary originated.

It has been told that on the day when Christ was brought into the world, Mary laid her blue cloak upon a white blooming rosemary plant while she rested. In deep reverence for the coming Christ child, the flowers turned an adoring shade of blue. It was given the name of the Rose of Mary, which later became the rosemary plant we know today.

From that time, the Christmas rosemary was used in homes during the holiday season to welcome the spirit of Christ into their homes. It is one of the most common herbs used during the holiday decorating period.


If you happen to receive a gift of Christmas rosemary during the holidays, make sure it is planted in a pot large enough to hold the rootball. Many of the rosemary trees that are sold are large and planted in small containers. If they are in these containers for any period of time, they will not absorb the moisture requirements they need to stay fresh. Unlike many other plants, the leaves of the rosemary do not wilt when they are dry, but rather, just dry up. So keep a watchful eye on their freshness.

If your plants are in a container that is too small, replant them into a larger container as soon as possible and water them whenever the soil has become dry. Never allow them to sit in water for any period of time, as this will cause the roots to suffocate. Also, place them in the brightest light possible for growing indoors. Once spring has arrived, these plants can be placed outdoors in their containers or planted into the ground.

Plant them in a soil that is well-drained and in full sunlight. They prefer a more neutral soil over one that is acidic or alkali. They can handle sandy soils as long as they receive frequent irrigation.

Rosemary plants can be trimmed to maintain a compact shape and work well for topiary projects. Native from the Mediterranean region, these plants are not hardy for our area during the winter season, so they must be brought indoors if you want to keep them from year to year. Most will only grow to areas that get no colder than 35 degrees in the evening.

When growing, they are considered a small woody, perennial evergreen, herb that can reach heights of 5 feet. They have dense branches with leaves that are about an inch long. These leaves are narrow and resemble the flat needles of hemlock, which are green on the surface and silvery-white on the underside. When rubbed, their aromatic scents fill the air with a pleasant and relaxing essence.

Rosemary plants are one of the most common herbs used in cooking today. They are commonly used in flavoring roasted vegetables and meats such as lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey. Some people use fresh sprigs to place into their cooking vessels and remove these sprigs after the cooking is complete. Some dry the leaves and use them in cooking and eat them whole.

If cooking with just the leaves, take the bare stems and use them to place on hot coals when grilling meats and vegetables. The aroma produced from the burning stems will flavor the food in a subtle way. If not grilling, try saving them to burn in the fireplace to add an herbal scent to the room for a relaxing atmosphere.

Rosemary sprigs have also been commonly used in wardrobes and closets to kill cloth-eating insects. It is a much better alternative over the scent of mothballs that have been used for years. I would much rather smell the fresh scent of rosemary over the horrid scent of mothballs any day.


Not only is rosemary good for maintaining the quality of clothes and for culinary purposes, but it also has many medicinal properties to aid us. This herb is high in calcium, vitamin B6 and iron. Use it fresh to get the most out of its nutritional value. It has been used in the improvement of memory along with assisting in preventing dandruff when used in certain types of shampoos.

The Christmas Rosemary is a scared herb that should be added into our daily lives during the holiday season and beyond. Why not welcome Christ into your home during this holiday season with the wonderful scent of the rosemary plant. It will bring you closer together and allow you to relax with its therapeutic qualities. If it doesn’t add peace to your home, it can always be used for cooking!

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