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How to Propagate Rosemary from Cuttings

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Are you tired of spending a fortune on herbs for your kitchen garden or herb garden? Do you want to add new rosemary plants to your garden without breaking the bank? Look no further than your own rosemary plant!

Not only is rosemary a versatile herb that can elevate any dish, but propagating it from cuttings can be a cost-effective way to expand your herb garden. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully propagate rosemary at home. From selecting the right cutting to creating the ideal propagation environment, and caring for your new plant, I’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!,

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Why propagate rosemary at home

Before we dive into the step-by-step guide, let’s take a moment to discuss why propagating rosemary at home is a smart move. First and foremost, growing your own herbs means you have access to fresh rosemary at all times, and you’ll know it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.

No more last-minute trips to the grocery store to pick up herbs that have been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long. Instead, you can simply step outside and snip off a few sprigs of rosemary from your own plants as needed. (Check out my full article on How to Grow Rosemary)

In addition to the convenience factor, propagating rosemary at home is also a cost-effective way to expand your herb garden. Instead of shelling out money for a new plant every time you want to add to your collection, you can simply take cuttings from your mother plant and root them to create new ones. (The last time I checked, a small rosemary plant was $8, so the savings add up!) This not only saves you money but also allows you to experiment with different varieties of rosemary without having to buy a whole new plant.

Finally, propagating rosemary at home is a fun and easy way to connect with nature and learn a new skill. Watching your cuttings grow new roots and develop into healthy plants can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and it’s a great way to get your hands dirty and learn about the world of gardening.

So, whether you’re a seasoned herb gardener or just starting out, propagating rosemary at home is a great way to add some greenery to your life while also saving money and enjoying fresh, organic herbs whenever you want. Let’s get started with selecting the right cutting!

Selecting the Right Cutting

To guarantee success when propagating rosemary from cuttings, it’s essential to choose the right cutting. It’s essential to choose softwood cuttings for use propagating.

Select a healthy stem that is approximately 6 inches long and has several sets of leaves. Look for a stem that is green with no signs of damage, fungal diseases, or powdery mildew. Also avoid using a stem that has flower buds, as this can divert energy away from root development. 

green stem of a rosemary plant

Using a clean, sharp knife or garden shears, make a clean cut just below a leaf node on the stem. Remove the leaves from the bottom two inches of the cutting, leaving a few sets of leaves at the top intact. This will allow the cutting to focus energy on developing roots rather than supporting leaves.

Preparing the Cutting

Before you can begin propagating your rosemary, it’s important to properly prepare your cutting. Using the clean and sharp scissors or garden shears, make a clean cut just below a leaf node on the stem.

Removing the leaves from the bottom two inches of the cutting will allow it to focus its energy on developing roots rather than supporting leaves. You should leave a few sets of leaves intact at the top to help the cutting continue to photosynthesize and produce energy.

stems stripped of lower leaves

Once you have trimmed the cutting and removed the lower leaves, it’s time to prepare your rosemary sprigs for rooting. This involves stripping the bark from the bottom inch of the stem and applying rooting hormone. By removing the bark, you expose the cambium layer, which is where root cells will start to develop. Applying rooting hormone to this exposed area can increase the chances of successful rooting. Try this rooting horomone from

Now that your cutting is prepared for rooting, the next step is choosing the right rooting medium to help it establish strong roots.,

Choosing the Right Rooting Medium

The success of propagating rosemary from cuttings mostly relies on choosing the right rooting medium. The ideal rooting medium should have good drainage, retain moisture, and provide ample aeration to allow roots to develop. Some of the commonly used rooting media are soilless mixes, peat moss, sand, vermiculite, and perlite. 

Soilless mixes are a popular choice since they are lightweight, sterile, and provide good drainage. They contain a blend of materials such as peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, which retain moisture and provide aeration.

Sand is another frequently used medium that drains well and is inexpensive. However, it is not very absorbent and may require frequent watering. Vermiculite and perlite are lightweight materials that provide good aeration and hold moisture. They can be mixed with other rooting media to improve drainage.

Also, be sure to use individual pots with drainage holes so the new roots the cutting is developing don’t rot. This is important for new growth.

Here are a few good options for rooting mediums and horomones:

Creating the Ideal Propagation Environment

When propagating rosemary from cuttings, creating the ideal propagation environment is key to ensuring the success of your cutting. The first important factor to consider is temperature. Aim for a temperature between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal range for root growth. If you’re going to be rooting outdoors, consider the late spring or early summer for ideal temperatures.

Secondly, humidity plays an important role in the rooting process. You want to keep the humidity level high to prevent the cuttings from drying out while they develop roots. One way to do this is by covering the cuttings with a clear plastic dome or plastic bag. This creates a mini greenhouse effect and traps in moisture. Just make sure to open the covering occasionally to allow for air circulation and prevent moisture buildup.

Lastly, light is also important for the propagation environment. While rosemary cuttings do not need intense light, they do require some light to support photosynthesis and growth. Place your cuttings in a bright, indirect light location or consider using a grow light if natural light is limited.

By taking these environmental factors into account and creating the ideal propagation environment, you can ensure that your rosemary cuttings will take root and grow into healthy plants. Once your cuttings have developed roots, the next step is to transplant them into the ground or larger pot.

small rosemary plant

Transplanting rosemary cuttings

Once your rosemary cuttings have developed roots, it’s time to transplant them into the ground or larger containers. Choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to improve its texture and fertility.

When planting, dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of your cutting. Gently place the cutting into the hole and backfill with soil, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Water the plant in thoroughly to help settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets.

It’s important to keep your newly transplanted rosemary plant well-watered during its first few weeks of establishment. Once it has become established, the best way to keep rosemary healthy is to water it deeply but infrequently to encourage a strong root system. Also, remember to prune the plant regularly to promote bushy growth and prevent it from becoming too woody. Remember, rosemary is essentially an evergreen shrub in some zones, so it may need shaping up from time to time.

With the right care and attention, your newly transplanted rosemary plant will thrive and provide you with fresh culinary herbs for years to come.

How to care for a new rosemary plant

Whether your young plant is in the ground or in a container, one of the most critical factors in caring for a new rosemary plant is water. During its first few weeks of establishment, it’s important to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. You want to ensure that the roots have enough water to establish themselves in the new soil but avoid drowning them.

Once the plant has become established, you can reduce the frequency of watering. Rosemary plants don’t like to be kept in moist soil, so it’s best to let the top inch of soil dry out before watering them deeply. This encourages the roots to grow deep into the soil, making them more resilient to drought conditions.

Another essential aspect of caring for a new rosemary plant is pruning. Regular pruning helps to promote bushy growth, which is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive plant. To prevent the plant from becoming too woody, be sure to trim the stems regularly. You can also pinch off the tips of the stems to encourage branching and bushier growth.

In summary, caring for a new rosemary plant requires attention to its water and pruning needs. By providing it with the right amount of water and regularly trimming it, you can ensure that your plant thrives and provides you with fresh culinary herbs for years to come.

Propagating rosemary from cuttings is a simple and rewarding process that can expand and enrich your herb garden. By selecting the right cutting, preparing it properly, providing the ideal rooting medium and environment, and caring for your new plants, you can grow strong and healthy rosemary from scratch.

Keep in mind that patience and regular monitoring are key to success, and remember the joy and satisfaction that come from reaping what you sow. Happy Gardening!