Every herb gardener is likely to have this culinary favorite in their herb garden. In this article, we’ll outline two ways to grow rosemary from cuttings.
- Rooting rosemary cuttings in a sterile growing medium
- Sprouting rosemary cuttings in water
A good time to start this process is at the end of the spring. This gives you time for the cutting to grow all summer. Start more than one cutting in case a few don’t make it.
Benefits of Growing Rosemary from Cuttings
Many gardeners grow new rosemary plants from cuttings because it is simple and cheaper.
Using the water method, it is virtually free. Rooting hormone costs about $6, and a bag of perlite is $5 for an 8 oz. bag. Both of which will last a long time.
The Success Rate
Growing rosemary from seed requires patience. Rosemary seeds are slow to germinate (2-3 weeks). They also have a lower than average germination rate of just 15%. Which means many of the seeds won’t sprout. Cuttings are a far more reliable way to start new plants.
Most cuttings will sprout in 2 to 3 weeks with rooting hormone is used. The time from planting to harvest is reduced by 3 months compared to seed-grown plants. Of course, nursery plants are always much faster.
|Plant Source||Length of Time|
|Nursery Plant||3 Months|
How to Grow Rosemary From Cuttings in Water
One easy way of starting new rosemary plants is by sprouting cuttings in water. This method requires everyday household items and is simple to implement.
What You Will Need
- A healthy rosemary plant with fresh growth
- Glass of Water
- Sharp scissors
Step by Step Instructions
- Select a Healthy Plant, preferably with new growth.
- Cut a stem 5-6 inches from the tip.
- Strip off the bottom leaves from the branch
- Place the bare end in a glass of water.
- Place the glass on a window where it receives indirect sun.
- Once you see the roots beginning to grow, gently plant it in a four-inch pot with potting mix. Tap the pot gently to settle the soil around the root system rather than pressing the soil down with your fingers, so you don’t damage the roots.
- Gently water it and place the plant where it will receive 6-8 hours of indirect sunlight.
- Watch it carefully in the first few weeks, watering it when it gets dry.
- Allow the plant to become established in its new pot before harvesting. About six new inches of growth is generally sufficient.
You should start to see new growth in two weeks or slightly longer in cooler areas.
Rooting Rosemary Cuttings In Growing Medium
A second way to start new Rosemary plants is to grow cuttings in soil or a soilless potting mix, such vermiculite or perlite. This will ensure the cuttings develop a healthy root system.
Here is what you’ll need.
What You Will Need
- Small pots
- Growing medium (vermiculite, perlite, or indoor potting mix)
- Plastic bag
- Sharp knife
- Rooting Hormone
Step by Step Instructions
- Make a clean cut about 4 to 6 inches down from the tip of a new branch.
- Remove the lower leaves (and flowers if present).
- Pour a small amount of rooting hormone into a small cup. Reseal the original rooting hormone container to keep it fresh.
- Dip each cutting in the rooting hormone covering about 1 1/2 inches of the cutting.
- Remove excess rooting hormone by tapping it on the side of the stem on the pot. Dispose of any unused rooting hormone. Placing it back in the container can cause the disease to spread.
- Make holes in the growing medium. Ensure that the hole is larger than the cutting. This prevents rooting powder from rubbing off when placing the cutting in the medium.
- Stick each cutting in the prepared holes. Gently press around the cutting to ensure there is good contact between the medium and the cuttings. You can place more than one cutting in larger pots, but do not crowd the cuttings as this can result in rotting and mold.
- Water the cuttings sparingly.
- Cover the pot with a plastic bag or a glass top to keep the soil moist.
- Place it in a warm sunny location that receives indirect light.
Other Ways to Propagate Rosemary
You can grow new rosemary plants in three other ways.
Starting from Seeds
Growing Rosemary from seed is a great way to try out new varieties. It just takes a little longer. Rosemary seeds germinate in 2-3 weeks and reach maturity in six to twelve months.
Layering is forcing an existing branch to take root while it is still attached to the mature one. The parent plant will continue to add nutrients to the new plant helping it while new roots sprout.
To do this you will strip of the middle section of a longer branch and bury it in soil with the goal of forcing it to root.
To divide an existing plant’s root system to create two separate plants. The benefit of division is you essentially have two mature plants from day one. The trick with this method is to take care and not damage the root system during the process.
How to Care for Your Growing Rosemary Plant
Rosemary needs a few essential items to stay healthy once it’s in the garden.
- Six to eight hours of sun.
- Well-drained loamy soil with a pH of between 6 and 7
- Moderate watering schedule (between 1 and 2 weeks) allowing the soil to dry out in between watering.
- Trim your plant after flowering so it stays compact and bushy. The more you trim, the bushier it grows.
- If growing rosemary in colder temperatures, you’ll need to bring it inside over winter. They cannot withstand temperatures below 30 degrees F (-1 degrees C).
A rosemary plant can grow up to 1 to 3 feet high in a pot. When the roots start filling the container, it’s time to repot to a bigger size.
While your new plant is growing and establishing its root system, it will need a little extra care. After about two months, you can move your new rosemary plant to the final location in the garden.
How Will You Start Your Next Rosemary Plant?
As long as you have room in your garden, it is good to have more than one plant of each herb. If one plant falls prey to disease or a sudden weather turn, it’s nice to have a backup. And if you find you have too many plants there are alwasy fellow gardeners tthat would be happy to take one of your extras.