Growing Rosemary From Cuttings: The Complete Guide and Know-Hows

Rosemary is a famous herb used in different areas of the culinary world. It is known for its distinct taste, aroma and its ability to enhance numerous dishes. It is very popular as it is a relatively easy and low-maintenance herb to grow in your home garden. Chances are, you may have used this herb before and probably still use it on future occasions. So what better way than to grow your own? In this article, you will learn about growing rosemary from cuttings.

growing rosemary from cuttings

You indeed grow your rosemary from rosemary stem cuttings. To propagate rosemary through cuttings is similar to any other plant. First, you must obtain a healthy cutting from a mother plant, leave a bare tip and establish a solid root system. Afterwhich, make sure to grow your rosemary plant in its ideal environment. That means a sunny, sheltered place with well-draining soil. 

Soon enough, you can harvest it by cutting new or old sprigs. Your plant can live as long as 30 years with proper care and maintenance.

Can rosemary be grown from cuttings?

Cuttings are known as a method of propagating. Plant propagation simply means producing a plant that is identical to its parents by means of dividing, taking cuttings, etc. Some plants are more difficult to propagate, but rosemary begs to differ. 

You can grow your own rosemary from cuttings. The process of growing rosemary from cuttings is pretty simple. You just need to select healthy stems from your mother plant, cut and put them in an appropriate potting soil mix, and allow them to take roots under ideal environmental conditions.

 With a bit of patience and care, you will have your own fresh rosemary bush in your herb garden in undeniably no time! Still not sure on how to do it? Worry not! A more detailed guide on growing and root rosemary cuttings is given to you in the next section.

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How to grow rosemary plants from cuttings?

In order to grow a well-established rosemary plant from cuttings, you will need

  • Small pot or a growing area with potting soil
  • Water
  • Rooting hormone (optional)

Growing rosemary plants can be a lengthy process, depending on the strategy. At most, it can take a year until you can harvest and eat from your new rosemary plant. 

Step by step guide on propagating rosemary

Once you’ve got the necessary tools and materials, you can do these following steps:

  1. Get a hold of a rosemary cutting

If you already happen to have a parent plant, you can simply cut off a healthy, non-flowering spring that is 4-6″ long. You can take this any time of the year, but it is best to take it during the colder seasons as the stems become slightly woody on the end. 

If you do not have a parent plant, a fresh spring that is purchased from farmer’s markets should be fine. Likewise, the best time to plant these are during early fall. 

  1. Strip leaves off at the bottom 2 inches of the rosemary sprig

Once you obtain your desired spring, strip off the leaves at the lower 2″ of the stem. You want them to be bare so that future roots can grow out of them.

Once ready to propagate, cut the tip of the sprig at a 45-degree angle to expose its center. If not, you may store the springs in your fridge, carefully wrapped in a plastic bag.

  1. Dip the stem into a growth hormone (optional)

Using a growth hormone is optional. If you want to use one, it can give you a healthier root system at a faster rate. Simply dip the tip before planting it. 

Keep in mind that you will have to wait until a year before consuming any part of the plant with a rooting hormone. 

You may purchase rooting hormone at your local garden center in either powder or gel form.

  1. Start the root structure

If you have used a hormone, you can now plant the stem in a potting soil that has good drainage. Preferably, they should be planted in a small pot or pack. This will allow you to move it around if needed.

If you have not used a hormone, you will want to establish roots before planting it in the soil. To do this, place the sprig in a glass of water with the 2″ base fully submerged. In 3-4 weeks, you should start seeing roots. By then, they can be readily planted in potting soil.

  1. Wait 6-8 weeks for the plant to mature

It is best to store your growing plant in a warm, humid area such as a greenhouse if possible. If not, you can achieve this by placing a plastic bag over the plant and container. 

In case you see leaves that start to yellow or darken after a few weeks, simply trim them off. This is most likely due to transplant shock. 

  1. Care for your new plant

Once it starts growing steadily, treat it like any other precious growing plant. Make sure it gets its required sunlight, water and care.

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What conditions do rosemary plants like?

Most herbs grow best with full sunlight and a well-drained fertile soil with a lot of organic matter. If you have a garden that receives more sun, growing rosemary plant and other culinary herbs is perfect for you.

Rosemary hails from the Mediterranean, and so they thrive in sunny, sheltered environments with well-draining soil. It might struggle in dense soil like clay, especially when the ground becomes wetter in the winter. 

They do well inside pots or containers with a soil-based compost without peat moss. You may also add some crocks to the bottom of the garden pots to help in drainage. They will need to be watered well during the drought, and fed with fertilizers during the actively growing season. During the winter, make sure to keep them indoors or under cover for protection.

How to harvest rosemary?

Harvesting your new plant can surely be exciting. However, you must remember that you can only harvest herbs when the plant has enough foliage to maintain growth.

The good thing is that harvesting rosemary is easy. You simply snip the sprigs with clean pruners or kitchen scissors. New growth is flexible and lighter green, while old growth is woodier and darker. Some people say that new growth is more fragrant and easier to chop. Either way, they can be both harvested and should come off quickly.

Once the spring is selected, strip the leaves from the stems by pulling them downward, opposite to their growing direction. These can then be roughly chopped and added to your favorite recipes.

How long do rosemary plants live?

The rosemary plant can be grown as an annual plant wherein its life cycle is completed in 1 year, or as a perennial wherein its life cycle is completed in 3 or more years. Oftentimes, they are also planted with other annual and perennial herbs such as thyme, oregano, sage and lavender. 

Rosemary will go dormant during the winter. However, it is known to have an average life of 10 years. Under ideal conditions, with the proper amount of care and attention (others have indoor rosemary plants!), it can last for as long as 30 years! 

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Summary and Conclusion

Rosemary is a popular, evergreen herb that is mainly used as a culinary condiment. It does not only provide an addition to the overall flavor of a dish but an additional aroma to it as well. Undoubtedly, its beautiful foliage and versatility live up to its scientific name, which roughly translates to “mist of the sea”.

While you can grow your rosemary from rosemary seeds, what is more fascinating is that you can also have your new rosemary plants from cuttings. They are relatively easy to propagate. Just like any other cutting, rooting rosemary could be a walk in the park. Just make sure to get hold of a healthy sprig with a bare 2″ at the tip. Then, place it in a glass of water for a few weeks until it establishes a root system. After this, it can now be transplanted in a well-draining potting mix. Make sure to pay attention to your plant like any other growing plant–with care and kindness. 

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Morgan Daniels

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