Costmary, commonly known as 'Bible Leaf', is among the "old fashioned" herb plants which gardeners are beginning to rediscover in their herb gardening efforts. In the Victorian era, nearly every kitchen gardener grew this sweetly-scented plant. Costmary plants can grow up to four feet tall and have aromatic gray-green leaves that have scalloped margins.
Also a delightful culinary herb, fresh leaves, if picked before flowering, can be used in salads, sauces, soups and in cold drinks. (Use sparingly, as a little goes a long way.) Costmaryspreads similarly to Mint but is actually a close cousin to Tansy. Though sweeter and more aromatic than Tansy, when clipped, Costmary makes an attractive, fragrant hedge in the herb garden or perennial border. The sweet-smelling leaves may be used for tea or in herb pillows, and were once used as bookmarks in Bibles to scent the pages and keep pests out, thus the common name, "Bible Leaf".
Costmary also has some medicinal applications due to its astringent and antiseptic elements. A poultice of leaves can be applied to cuts and grazes, bee stings, and swellings. It has many healing properties and is an extremely useful plant to have. But, above all, the lovely fragrance has been enjoyed and used for many hundreds of years, with the belief that it kept sickness and misfortune away.
Characteristics: Costmary can reach up to 2 feet tall and is perennial in Zone 5 - 11
Light: Costmary prefers full to partial sun.
Water: Water regularly; do not over-water.
Soil: A good, rich soil - lots of organic matter with a pH 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral), 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline).
Use: Normally this herb serves as a ground cover, but at the time of flowering it rises to a sprawling 3 to 4 feet. Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season.