For the first time in a long time we’ve had to purchase dried Rosemary for our cooking. We’ve always had a plant or two. They’ve always grown well and so we’ve always had fresh rosemary in our cooking when the recipe calls for it.
When we moved here, to Alabama, and bought new plants for our new garden, our rosemary plant grew well until the end of the summer. Then it developed a thick, sticky brown substance with attacked the plant from the bottom out to the tips of the branches. I was told it was a spittle bug (or rather a colony of them) and so I treated it with neem oil but decided that even if they all died, I still didn’t want to eat what was left. It just seemed nasty to me. We purchased another the following summer (which was this summer). The same thing happened.
A worker at the nursery where I get most of my plants told me they started having problems with their rosemary plants and apparently it’s been an issue throughout this part of the state, too. There was no easy solution other than washing the bugs off or purchasing a new plant every year. So I got another but it quickly succumbed and I just threw it out. No fresh rosemary this winter. Ugh.
I know that folks down here use rosemary as a hedge plant as well as for culinary uses. I’m wondering if the old, well established “bushes” are having this problem.
So, my plan of action is this: dried, store-bought rosemary this winter (sigh) and in the spring I will purchase another plant. As it grows, rescue the healthy branches and dry them myself (more appealing than store bought dried herbs) until the plant no longer produces and becomes bug infested. Hope my plan works.