Andromeda polifolia (Bog Rosemary)

Michael's Opinion

Andromeda polifolia makes a wonderful groundcover, especially for rock gardens or even in pondless waterfall designs. The light pink flowers give a delicate ambiance to this small shrub with the berries also quite similar in colour.

Botanical Information

TypeShrub (evergreen)
ReferencesCanadale Nurseries, St. Thomas, Ontario.


USDA Hardiness Zone 2-9
USDA Hardiness Ref.
Canadian Hardiness Zone2-5a
Canada Hardiness Ref.
RHS Hardiness ZoneH7
RHS Hardiness Ref.
Temperature (°C)-46
Temperature (°F)-50
Height65 cm
Spread95 cm
Flowering PeriodMay

Description and Growing Information

General DescriptionLow, creeping evergreen with blue-grey coloured leaves and pink urn-shaped flowers. Creeping root stocks and vertically arching, thinly branched stems, becoming more open and flat with age.
ID CharacteristicNarrowly lanceolate leaves with distinctly rolled edges; 2.5-5 cm long. Foliage is a blue-green colour above, and nearly white below. The sharp tips on its leaves that point upwards are a distinguishing feature.
ShapeLow growing neatly rounded groundcover. Spreads by creeping rhizomes.
PropagationSemi-ripe cuttings 5-7 cm long with a heel should be taken in July/August. IBA talc or solution at 8000 ppm in a poly-tent. With a growth temperature of 21-24C is ideal.
CultivationThey are best planted in a shaded rockery, favouring a moist, well-drained, acidic environment. Will withstand any frosts and prefers a cold climate. Prefers very light shade but tolerates full sun if moisture is sufficient.
PestsPests do not often occur with the Bog Rosemary. Powdery mildew can develop and will appear as white spots on the upper surface of the leaves. Leaf spot and rust may also be a problem.
Notable SpecimensSifton Bog, London, Ontario.
HabitatFrequently found in sphagnum bogs in the cooler environment of the Northern Hemisphere.
Bark DescriptionRed/brown in colour; may become finely shredded over time. Twigs are slender, pale green in youth turning brown as it ages.
Bud DescriptionSmall, ovate, nearly white colour, about 4 mm in size.
Leaf DescriptionSimple, alternate, evergreen, linear-oblong shaped leaves. Glaucous; blue-green to dark green colour. Undersides of leaves are tomentose and almost white. Leaves are 3-4 cm long. Leaves seem narrow due to their slightly re-curved entire margins.
Flower DescriptionClumps of soft pink to purple-pink hanging bell-shaped flowers that are 0.5cm long. Flowers are produced at the tips of the shoots in 2 to 8 flowered umbels.
Fruit DescriptionDry dehiscent fruit produced from a compound pistil. Has a diameter of 0.5cm. Initially a pale green/blue colour, changing to a brown colour as it dries out.
Colour DescriptionRetains its blue-green colour throughout the seasons. Younger stems have brown bark turning a grey brown colour with age.
Texture DescriptionFoliage can have a leather-like texture to it, although the overall effect of the plant is fine textured.