Rosemary plants are an extensively grown and desired herb around the globe. The fragrant shrub is planted for several uses and is aesthetically pleasing in any landscape setting.
The Rosemary plant has a woody stem, while during early fall, they showcase beautiful flowers in radiant colors of white, pink, purple, and blue, followed by the production of rosemary seeds. These colors are known to captivate pollinators in the growing season, which in hand aid in the reproduction of the garden.
The fragrant needle-shaped leaves have a strong smell and are commonly used in dishes seen all around the world. Understanding the growing habits of the Rosemary plant is essential and knowing the benefits it brings to the garden can be challenging but rewarding to learn.
Thankfully Rosemary plants have rapid growth, and propagating rosemary can be quite easy with a high success rate. The name Rosemary originates from the Latin meaning ‘Dew from the sea.’ Fresh Rosemary is used in the kitchen and has many health benefits.
After purchasing new Rosemary plant seedlings from a local resource, it can feel like a challenge at the beginning to keep the plant thriving in its new conditions.
The Rosemary plant has a resilient growth habit from seed, and propagating rosemary can be done easily by cuttings. The cuttings and root layers can be added to organic material, which proves to be a successful method in growing rosemary from cuttings
Rosemary cuttings should be taken from the soft or woody stems on the parent plant. The soft wood is easily taken in the spring when the plant is in its most active growth phase.
It is possible to propagate plants and rosemary plants from seeds but can be timely in comparison to taking rosemary cuttings from a parent plant.
In this article, we are going to give you a step- by step process of how to propagate rosemary from cuttings.
In This Article
What is plant propagation?
Propagation generally describes an increase in numbers. Plant achievement involves the creation by the sexual reproduction of plants. The way in which plants are propagated can vary depending on the kind of plant you use.
If you learn how to propagate plants, it can be an easy and inexpensive way to increase vegetation in your garden. Natural propagation happens when flower seeds are crossed-pollinated by local insects or environmental effects.
Each seed includes an embryo containing genetics that comes from two-parent families. When buying seeds, you can usually find heirloom and hybrid seeds. These seeds are from plants that have been cross-bred and can be proven to be more resilient to pests and diseases.
How to propagate rosemary plants from stem cuttings?
Due to its aromatic properties, Rosemary plants are mostly used in the kitchen, and being able to reproduce this versatile herb yourself can be highly beneficial.
Keeping a parent plant in your garden is useful as you can take the cuttings from this at suitable times of the year.
Rosemarinus Officinalis is a long-living herb within the USDA Hardiness Areas 8 and cooler. It is frequently planted in the garden as a border and can grow up to 4 feet long by 4 feet wide. In warmer climates, rosemary cuttings grow well in containers giving the option to be moved during the winter months.
The most common way to propagate rosemary is through stem-cutting. Stem cutting is regarded as a popular choice because it is easier and much safer to grow. The cutting will also be identical to the parent tree, so you will have an exact indication of the plant being used. Cuttings should be taken in the spring when plants are growing or in early fall when flowers are finished.
The best time to propagate Rosemary?
The most ideal time to cut cuttings to propagate rosemary is in the autumn or spring. When you have rosemary in bloom and there are leaves on it, it is possible to take a small amount off and propagate it. It is likely to be successful, just keep in mind that rooting can take longer when you’re planting straight in the ground.
The most ideal time to cut and cultivate new rosemary plants is in spring as the plants have a high level of growth activity.
8 Steps to Propagate Romary
To get started on how to propagate rosemary, you will need a few items:
- Rooting Hormone Powder (optional)
- Terracotta Pots
- Perlite grit or vermiculite (your preferred choice) Drainage material
- Peat-free multipurpose potting soil mix
- Plastic bag
- Sharp Scissors or Secateurs
Taking the Rosemary cutting
The first step in the process of propagating rosemary is to take fair-sized stem cuttings from the well-established rosemary plant green stems using your sharp scissors.
Ideally, they have a healthy green bare stem that has grown this year and is of good length as well. If you don’t have access to a parent plant already, you can ask a Neighbour or a friend if they would allow you to take it from their mother plant.
One great reason to grow rosemary from cuttings is the varieties you can share with your friends and neighbors. You can produce a stock of more plants for your herb garden without the cost of purchasing from a nursery each time.
You can take a few cuttings from the mother plant at a time to ensure you have a good chance of success growing new plants.
Preparing the potting soil substrate
To create the substrate for the cutting to grow successfully, you will need to create a mix of multipurpose potting soil and the chosen drainage material of your choice. You can mix one part pearlite and two parts of the multipurpose potting mix in a container and divide it into your terracotta pots.
Rosemary has been known to produce its roots in pure pearlite or sand and some plant cuttings can be successful in producing roots in potting soil mix alone however, this method is ideal for outdoor growing and should be avoided if growing indoor rosemary plants in a mini greenhouse, polytunnel, or the home.
Starting cuttings in these environments can produce root rot, fungi, and powdery mildew, which attracts pests and can result in the rotting of your cuttings.
Preparing your Rosemary cuttings
To prepare the rosemary cuttings, we need to take a sharp knife and cut the stem into single pieces. Each one can grow a new plant.
From the bottom of the plant, trim the original cut up to the bottom leaf node. A leaf node is a part where the leaf is formed from the stem. Cut the first piece using a sharp knife. İt is ideally 5- 6 inches. repeat the process until the original cutting is cut into as many pieces as you can get.
It is a good idea to remember which end of each cutting was the lower part of the original stem, as this is the end that needs to be planted. If the ends are mixed up, they will not be successful in growing.
Remove the leaves from the bottom of each cutting so that the only remains are at the top of the cutting. The stripped area of the cutting should be approximately 3 inches in length, whereas the leafed part that is remaining to stick up from the potting mix should be approximately 2 inches long.
Stimulating new root growth
Rooting cuttings can sound like a complicated task, but it is fairly easy. Rosemary cuttings can produce their roots but if you would like to start that stage more successfully, you can use rooting powder for rooting rosemary. It is used to stimulate root growth within a few weeks and provides a higher success rate to produce a new plant. Propagating rosemary from cuttings can be achieved without using powdered rooting hormone and is optional.
Gather your cuttings and have your terracotta pots filled with potting mix. Rosemary plants prefer pots that have enough breathing capacity and don’t hold as much water.
Terracotta pots can be used to grow and transplant seedlings. In most cases, the pot for indoor Rosemary plants should measure about 4-6 inches. If you need room for growing a larger well-established rosemary plant you can select larger pots.
Dip each cutting into the powdered rooting hormone and gently slide them into the pot along the outer edge. It is ideal to leave about an inch between each cutting. The reason for placing it around the outer edge of the pot is so that the cutting can appreciate the drier environment and create new growth. The terracotta pot breathes and allows drainage for the new plants.
Propagate Rosemary cuttings
After the cuttings are placed in the pot, give them a good drink with room temperature water and let the excess water drain out. Take your plastic bag and place it over the top of the pot to create a mini greenhouse.
Within a few weeks, the rosemary cuttings will produce roots along with new growth and during that time it is essential to keep moist soil. You can do this using a spray bottle filled with room temperature water. You don’t need to apply too much moisture to the potting soil, just enough to make sure the soil is moist and you can feel it with your finger.
The rosemary roots’ growth appears from the pot once they have grown into several plants with healthy stems.
Look after your Rosemary Plants
As soon as the rosemary stem cuttings have produced their roots and you can see them from the bottom of the terracotta pot- they have produced an individual young plant. The rooted cuttings will become mature Rosemary plants and potentially mother plants for the future.
Now to create new rosemary plants you need to water the rosemary cuttings and tap out the individual cuttings and potting mix. Delicately tease the new plants apart with your fingers and transplant them using the same potting mix and draining material ratio that you used previously.
After you have transplanted them, you need to water them in and let them grow a healthy stem before planting them outside.
Hardening-off the new plants
Before moving young plants from indoors to outdoors it is essential to harden the new plants off. If you miss this stage in the propagation of the plants you could shock the new root system and they can be permanently affected.
You can harden off your plants and Rosemary plants by introducing them to direct sunlight on warm sunny days and returning them indoors during the night. It should take approximately one week and they should be ready to be planted outside.
If the weather conditions are bad then you can wait a little longer until the conditions improve. They mustn’t be shocked by their new conditions because their new growth can still be sensitive.
Caring for your mature rosemary plant
Growing rosemary can be very rewarding and the plant has minimal requirements in comparison to others. Growing rosemary plants can be done in large pots in indirect light and by keeping the soil moist.
To grow rosemary in the ground you can dig a hole and transplant it from a rosemary plant that has been produced from a cutting. It is recommended to check the climate zone of your area and be aware of the recommendations given for growing rosemary in your region. If you experience cold frozen winters your rosemary plant may not survive and for this reason, should be kept in its pot so it can be moved to a warmer place if needed.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind
- When it comes to selecting stems – look for the woody brown ones.
- when the plants increase in size, pot them into the next size pot as the roots fill their container- this method is called ‘potting on.
- Wet soil can soak the woody part of the stem so make sure you are using the drainage material in your substrate.
Recommended Rosemary uses
Rosemary has a number of beneficial properties and can be used in various applications. Its strong aroma enhances an incredibly tasty dish. Growing fresh plants throughout the whole season will broaden your culinary skills. Because Rosemary retains its heat so well it is a great addition to flavor to eat with chicken, beef stews, baked goods, and roasts- especially potatoes!
Rosemary-infused cooking oils can be made which will make your dishes taste great too. Rosemary presents excellent herb mixes making it ideal to pair with mint or thyme. Rosemary potpourris are perfect to naturally refresh rooms or to be placed inside a drawer or closet to give a scent to your clothes and remove the unwanted odors that can occur when items are not used for a long time.
It is also appreciated well whilst taking a bath- the hot steam brings about the aroma and helps you to relax. There have been studies that state that rosemary also contains memory improvement benefits.
What light does Rosemary need when being grown indoors?
The growth phase of rosemary requires a lot of lighting. Once your cuttings are planted on their long- or next-stage growth plates, they can be exposed to light. It is ideal for giving the rosemary 7-8 hours of light daily.
The window offering the most exposure to sunlight in your house might make the ideal space to keep your rosemary plants. İf there is not adequate natural lighting, additional light may be needed. Distinguish the light areas in your garden to find the best spot. It can be beneficial to use grow light bulbs and lamps in the vicinity.
Rosemary plants fertilizer requirements
As the winter months approach, rosemary requires little fertilization. Sometimes the soil fertilizers you mix can carry the mixture throughout the winter and occasionally even throughout the year. Your rosemary can’t be fertilized without rooting and planting it. If you fertilize your rosemary while it is still establishing its root system, you can stress the plant and possibly burn the roots, causing it to grow irregularly.
If you have been growing rosemary plants indoors, you should monitor them often. If you notice that your plants have turned yellow or are not growing, you can apply diluted water-soluble fertilizer or indoor plant feed every four to eight weeks.
Harvesting rosemary plant to promote regular growth
Consistent usage and trimming encourage the business of your rosemary plant. Do not be afraid to use your rosemary if you are growing it indoors. Make certain that you don’t remove its entire growing area because, like most plants, rosemary needs its leaves for photosynthesizing and feeding itself.
When harvesting your rosemary, use clean, sharp scissors to make clean cuts to reduce damage to the plant. Once you have cut the required amount off, you can either let it sit to dry and store for later or use it fresh. Most people will remove the needle-shaped leaves from the stem and sprinkle them on dishes. When you are using rosemary for baked goods, you can use a whole sprig, including the stem, and add it to the roasting pan.
Good planning is key to a successful herb and vegetable garden
Every time we grow a new vegetable plot, we prepare more for the future. Taking care of a vegetable or herb garden requires patience and knowledge. Half of the work involved in vegetable gardening is observation and problem-solving.
It is common for gardeners to start by planting too many of one variety and having an abundance of one product that they are unsure what to do with, which can create waste. By planning your vegetable and herb garden carefully, you can eliminate waste and make the most out of the space you have.
Most herbs can be grown in indirect light and are available to be harvested often to prompt vast growth. Whereas vegetables grown for fruit need direct sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours daily. Ensure that you choose the right area in your garden for your plant’s specific needs. It is recommended that you monitor the sun over your garden to understand where these places are.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best way to propagate rosemary?
If the rosemary was newly cut, you could cut this piece into individual segments. If the stems aren’t fresh at the time, they can be prone to dehydration and it is possible you could lose the chance of success.
Can rosemary grow from seed?
Yes of course. It can be a lengthy three-month procedure in comparison to growing from cuttings. Seed germination requires 2-3 weeks of care and then several months for plant growth.
Can sprigs be harvested in 3 weeks from propagation?
Unfortunately, after propagation, you will need to wait at least 2 weeks for the roots to form. It is not ideal to cut the top of the plant during this time and it creates confusion about where it should be using its energy. Let the cuttings fully establish root settings and new top growth before harvesting for use.
How do I keep my plants healthy when they’re in the ground?
For a few days, the plants should be away from the intense heat of direct sunshine. While sunlight can help with the plant’s development, it’s best to focus on root growth instead of leaf production. Keep the plant in a slightly cooler (not cool) area. Keep the “greenhouse” cover on your plants for the duration of the period. Breathing or airing the plant is always recommended and is easy – but it is difficult to stick to it for days.