Gorizia rosemary, nicknamed Barbecue Skewers rosemary by Texas A&M AgriLife horticulturists, has been named the newest Texas Superstar selection for its edible and ornamental characteristics and ability to perform well across the state.
Gorizia rosemary is a selected variety from the northeastern Italian town of the same name.
David Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, San Antonio, said Gorizia rosemary can be utilized as an herbaceous woody ornamental plant, as a culinary herb and as an effective pollinator plant in containers or in landscapes.
“Rosemary has been a very popular dual-function plant for many years,” he said. “Gorizia rosemary is a beautiful plant that is aromatic around the house. Pollinators like bees and other beneficial insects love them, and they present tons of culinary possibilities – from marinades and dried herbs to using the stems as skewers for shish kabobs on the grill.”
Gorizia rosemary is fast growing with a vigorous upright growth habit. Its needle-like foliage is double the size of other varieties and has incredible flavor and fragrance, Rodriguez said. Its robust, straight stems are complemented with profuse sky-blue flowers that are magnets for bees and other beneficial insects.
Rodriguez said plants take well to pruning and are perfect for hedging, screens and specialty topiaries or simply as standalone plants. The variety is an ideal plant for any Texan who likes to garden, cook and use dry herbs. The plant is especially good for cooking on a grill since the woody stem makes an excellent skewer.
To be designated a Texas Superstar, a plant must perform well for growers throughout the state. Texas Superstars must also be easy to propagate, ensuring the plants are widely available and reasonably priced.
Get to know Gorizia rosemary
Gorizia rosemary are grown as an annual because it may be cold sensitive in some parts of the state, but it often performs as an evergreen perennial in milder climates. Plants are generally hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture Zone 8 and possibly Zone 7.
They require full sun for optimal growth and to maximize flowering potential, Rodriguez said. Plants are not particular toward any soil type or pH level, but they do prefer drier conditions, so well-drained soils are best. They will often die in areas with poor drainage.
Plants grow to 3-4 feet tall with spreads of 30-36 inches. They are also adept to inner city environments due to their high tolerance for urban pollution, he said.
Gorizia rosemary can be planted year-round as smaller plants and are typically available in the spring, but larger plants establish better going into the heat of summer, Rodriguez said. Their use in edible gardens also makes them well suited for use in outdoor pots and containers.
Gorizia rosemary’s upright growth habit makes it a good option as the centerpiece of “thriller-filler-spiller” container arrangements. Plant Gorizia rosemary near the center of the container bordered by smaller plants and/or plants that spill over the container’s edges. Plants in outdoor containers and baskets typically need more frequent watering than those in landscapes.
Applying and replenishing a layer of mulch around the root zone both in winter and summer will protect it in exposed locations and microclimates, Rodriguez said.
“This year, a lot of folks lost their rosemary during the mid-February freeze, and this variety would be a good replacement because it checks all the boxes from heat and drought tolerance to taste and versatility of uses,” he said.
For best grilling skewers
Thicker woody stems make the best barbeque skewers. Strip off the leaves for use in the marinade or later for other culinary needs and soak the skewers in water for about 20 minutes. Soaking helps release the aromatics while cooking and minimizes any burning wood.
Texas Superstar is a registered trademark owned by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, a state agency that is part of the Texas A&M University System. Plants are designated Texas Superstars by the Texas Superstar executive board, which is made up of nine horticulturalists from AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and Texas Tech University.