Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia)
Bog Rosemary is a low, creeping evergreen shrub that is ideal for soggy areas in the landscape. A native plant, it is commonly found in the northeastern parts of the United States. Bog rosemary spreads readily and is resistant to problems associated with compacted soil, wind or ice. It has few disease or insect difficulties. Properly located it is sturdy and virtually care free.
Size: Bog rosemary spreads slowly along the ground, sending up slender upright twigs. These arch as they age, becoming more twiggy and dense until a sort of mat is formed. A typical shrub is small, only 3 or 4 feet tall and less than 3 feet wide. There are several dwarf, or more compact varieties also.
Foliage: The leaves of bog rosemary are evergreen. New ones are silvery gray, changing to a deep green or blue green with pale downy undersides as they mature. They are glossy and have a thick, leathery texture. Commonly 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, they are narrowly oblong with their edges rolled producing pointed tips. The leaves of this shrub are poisonous to humans.
Flowers and Fruit: Bog rosemary shrubs produce nodding clusters of tiny urn-shaped flowers, 5 or 6 to a bunch, at the tips of branch stems in May. Only 1/4 inch, individual flowers are pinkish white. They are not particularly showy. They give way eventually to insignificant little dried capsules. These are bluish at first, then turn brown as September turns to October. Although these seeds are occasionally favored by small mammals, they are not of great value to wildlife.
Basic Requirements - Zones 3-6, sun or part shade, and very acid soil (pH 4.0 to 6.0)
Bog Rosemary Varieties
Better Varieties: `Compacta' is a dwarf form; `Montana' is compact, has smaller leaves; others are: `Angustifolia', `Grandiflora', `Major'.
Andromeda polifolia ‘Nana’, called Compact Bog Rosemary, is a mounding ground cover produces masses of tiny pink flowers. Perfect plant for rock gardens. Spreading habit well-suited for low borders, in moist situations. It is an acid-loving evergreen that needs full to partial sun. It is a moderate grower under one foot tall and three feet wide Grows from USDA Zones 2 to 6.
A cousin of this bog rosemary, called Downey Andromeda (Andromeda glaucophylla)is also sometimes called bog rosemary because it looks very similar and likes boggy locations.
For more information see file on Selecting Shrubs.