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20 Dec 2019

Growing, Maintenance, and Care Tips


Leucothoe [Loo-KOH-thoh-ee] is a genus of evergreen flowering plants, belonging to the family Ericaceae along with Calluna vulgaris

This genus has around 50 different species, including Leucothoe Fontanesiana and Leucothoe Axillaris.

All of these species are low maintenance and produce beautiful foliage to enhance the overall beauty of the garden, particularly in winter and autumn.

Leucothoe works well on dry slopes without irrigation and slopes near water. 

This plant is native to Madagascar, Asia, and the United States.

The common names of this plant include:

  • Coastal Doghobble
  • Drooping Leucothoe
  • Swamp Doglaurel
  • Fetterbush
  • Coastal Leucothoe
  • Rainbow Leucothoe
  • Mountain Doghobble
  • Scarletta Fetterbush

Leucothoe Plant Care

Size & Growth

This evergreen shrub is vase-shaped and grows about 3’ to 5’ feet tall. 

It spreads about 6’ feet or more. 

The stems of this plant are elegant and arching. 

The majority of the species start with vibrant green, bronze, or red stems, which turn into glossy or dark green as they mature.

The plant has spear-shaped or elongated leaves. 

The leaf color ranges from red, pink, pale yellow, or green, and changes to purple or bronzy during the autumn season. 

Some of the varieties also have variegated leaves.

Flowering and Fragrance

  • All the varieties of this plant produce bell-shaped, white flowers. 
  • The flower color might also be bluish in some species. 
  • These tiny flowers gradually transform into five-lobed globular fruits.  
  • The bloom time of this plant is between April and May.

Light & Temperature

This plant tolerates the full sun if there is a sufficient amount of moisture in the soil. 

Full shade to partial shade is required to develop vibrant leaf color and variegated leaves. 

The lighter spot you place this plant in, the more beautiful its color will become.

These plants are hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9. 

This plant is moderately hardy but requires a bit of protection during the winter season. 

Provide extra protection during periods when thawing and frosting occur regularly.

Watering and Feeding

This plant has the ability to tolerate short dryness spells. 

However, for healthy plants, you must provide it with consistent but moderate water.

Make sure the soil stays moist and ensure the soil doesn’t completely dry out between waterings. 

Keep in mind the Mountain Doghobble shouldn’t sit in standing water for an extended period.

Feed the plant with special Ericaceae fertilizer during the spring season to enhances its health and maintain the acidity of the soil.  

Soil & Transplanting

It grows optimally in well-draining and acidic soil. 

This plant is rather versatile and grows well in all types of soil, but make sure the pH level of the soil isn’t alkaline.

Grooming and Maintenance

  • Protect this plant from drying winds as it might damage the foliage. 
  • Apply a layer of organic matter or mulch all around the root area to prevent desiccation and weed. 
  • A bark layer also works well in maintaining the acidity of the soil and protecting the plant from drying out.
  • There is not much need for pruning unless there is a broken or errant stem. 
  • Enjoy new growth by taking out stems within a few inches of the soil, which will rejuvenate the old plants.

How to Propagate Leucothoe Plant

The propagation of this plant is done using half-ripe cuttings and seeds.

  • Sow the seeds in late winter in part shade inside the greenhouse. 
  • Be sure to cover the seeds lightly. 
  • Make sure the compost doesn’t dry out throughout the germination process. 
  • Once the plant is big enough to handle, take the seedlings out and plant them in separate pots.
  • Allow the plant to grow under light shade inside the greenhouse till their first winter. 
  • During late spring, transfer the plant in their permanent spot in the garden during the late spring season.

When propagating the plant using half-rip cuttings, make sure to take 2” to 4” inches of the cutting. 

  • Grow the cuttings in a frame during the summer season. 
  • Layer the plant with mulch in the fall season. 
  • Once the plant is big enough, transfer them out in the permanent position.

Leucothoe Plant Pest or Diseases

The Drooping Leucothoe is deer resistant and doesn’t experience any severe disease or pests problems. 

However, be on a lookout for scale insects, lace bugs, leaf gall, powdery mildew, tar spot, and Anthracnose spot

In a humid environment, the plant might experience a leaf spot.

Is Leucothoe Toxic or Poisonous?

This plant is toxic and might prove fatal if ingested. 

The plant also has a high flammability rating and shouldn’t be placed inside the house.

Leucothoe Plant Uses

This evergreen shrub works well as a single specimen when planted in containers. 

It also looks stunning when used with other plants in borders, woodland gardens, rock gardens, on slopes, or as a ground cover.

It may be used as an under-planting for bigger shrubs or as a foundation plant. 

The fantastic foliage of this plant looks wonderful with Checkerberry, Ling Heather, and Skimmia plants.


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05 Dec 2019

History Of Rosemary – Learn About Rosemary Herbal Uses


Cultivated for over 5,000 years, rosemary plant history is understandably steeped in legend, myth and folklore. Rosemary herbal uses run the gamut of medicinal remedies, culinary delights or even as a love charm. It’s really no wonder why its stimulating aroma and flavor has continued to enchant people for centuries.

History of Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has been used medicinally dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans in 500 B.C. Dried sprigs of rosemary even showed up in Egyptian tombs from 3,000 B.C. Discorides, a contemporary of both Pliny the Elder and Galen, also wrote of rosemary in his opus De Materia Medica, the gold standard about the use and identification of medicinal herbs for 1,400 years.

Rosemary was cultivated by the Spanish in the 13th century where it became a popular condiment for salted meats from the 15th to 18th centuries. Actually, I suspect it was used less as a condiment and more to disguise the less than pleasant odor and flavor of rotting meat.

Its genus name, Rosmarinus, is derived from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “belonging to the sea” (marinus) in reference to the warm Mediterranean region of its origin. The common name of rosemary is, of course, derived from the genus name but with a twist. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, as she fled from Egypt, sheltered next to a rosemary bush. She threw her blue cape onto the bush and the white flowers turned blue. Because of this, the herb has long been called “rose of Mary” even if the blooms look nothing like a rose but are rather more like the mint flowers to which rosemary is related.

Additional Rosemary Plant History

Rosemary is associated with remembrance. Its earliest use was probably by Greek students. They braided garlands of the aromatic herb into their hair, which is where rosemary’s other common name “herb of crowns” comes from. I do something like this whenever I trim my rosemary – stick the herb into my sweaty, messy hair. I can’t recall if it helps my memory, but it sure does improve upon my aroma.

Rosemary is also symbolic of fidelity or, to put more romantically, love. During the Middle Ages, a bride would wear rosemary in her headpiece and the groom and guests would wear a sprig as well. Really prosperous wedding goers might receive a rosemary branch gilt in gold. The newlyweds would plant rosemary on their wedding day in the hopes that it would be a good omen for their future.

It was said if a person tapped another with a sprig of rosemary with an open bloom, they would fall in love. Rosemary was also incorporated into doll’s clothes to attract lovers. From all of these folkloric traditions arose the concept that rosemary was a love charm.

Rosemary Herbal Uses

Rosemary’s medicinal history spans centuries and was probably first used for respiratory issues. During the 13th century, the Queen of Hungary apparently was paralyzed, but a concoction of rosemary and wine fixed her right up. For years thereafter, the concoction was used to cure baldness and dandruff as well as other skin ailments. Rosemary was placed under one’s pillow to prevent nightmares and was hung outside homes to thwart evil spirits. Of course, rosemary was also used between the sheets to repel moths.

By the 16th century, the marital rosemary planted with such hope by the aforementioned newlyweds was being yanked out by husbands. Due no doubt to an old common saying “where rosemary flourishes, the lady rules” that basically meant women, not men, ruled the home. We have three rosemary bushes, just saying.

In successive years, rosemary was used to treat the Plague, melancholy, gout, epilepsy, arthritis and many other ills. Today, the herb is still used by many as a tea to treat sore throats, head colds and to freshen bad breath. Rosemary is often used in cooking, but that isn’t the herbs only use. The aromatic essential oil derived from the plant is found in many toiletry products. In fact, a food preservative derived from the herb is used in cosmetics and plastic food packaging.

From love potions to plastic packaging, rosemary has come a long way. Who knows what uses we’ll find for the herb in the coming years. Maybe scientists will discover that rosemary oil is a new biofuel. Could happen.


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