Propagating rosemary is a fun way to get as many new plants as you want. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to root the cuttings in either water or soil, step by step.
Propagating rosemary is a great way to get an abundance of this wonderful herb for free. It’s very easy to multiply an existing shrub, or even grocery store sprigs, into new baby plants.
In this guide I’ve discussed the different ways you can propagate rosemary. I’ve also provided step by step instructions that will lead you through exactly how to root them in either water or soil.
How To Propagate Rosemary
There are a few ways to propagate rosemary, but some are simpler than others. The most common method is by rooting cuttings taken from an existing plant.
It can also be propagated from seed, or by air layering. But these are less common and more time consuming.
Rooting stem cuttings in water or soil is by far the easiest and most practiced method of propagating rosemary.
In order to be successful, you’ll need to use stem cuttings, because it won’t work with just a single leaf or needle.
Seeds are less reliable and take a very long time to germinate, sometimes up to three months.
Even then, it will take much longer for them to get large enough to harvest. So we’ll be focusing on rooting the cuttings in this post.
When To Propagate Rosemary
There are a few times of year you can propagate rosemary. Ideally you should tackle it in the spring or early summer, or when your plant has a few inches of new growth.
This gives you plenty of time to get baby plants established before the colder season.
However, it’s also possible to take cuttings in the fall and root plants that you can overwinter indoors.
Related Post: Pruning Rosemary To Promote Growth & Larger Yields
How To Grow Rosemary From Cuttings
Before we get into the steps for propagating rosemary, first you need to know how to take and prepare the cuttings. Follow these tips for your best chance at rooting.
How To Take Rosemary Cuttings
There are two types of stems on a rosemary bush, softwood (tender new growth) and hardwood (woody older branches).
It’s easier and faster to root softwood cuttings. The new, flexible light green or white stems are what you’re after.
The older, woodier stems look more like thin tree branches and have a tougher texture. It’s possible to root them, but takes much longer, and has a lower success rate.
Use precision pruners to make clean cuts, and take 4-6” long pieces of softwood for best results. Avoid any flowering stems, since blooms will take energy away from their ability to root.
Preparing Rosemary Cuttings For Propagation
To prepare your rosemary cuttings for propagation, you’ll need to strip the bottom 2-3” of leaves. Roots will form from the exposed nodes, or bumps, along the stem.
You can twist, pinch, or strip the lower needles off with your fingers. But, be sure to leave at least 5-6 sets of leaves near the top.
How Long Does It Take Rosemary To Root?
How long it takes rosemary cuttings to root depends on if you put them in water or soil.
The stems can root in water in as little as 2-4 weeks, while the soil method typically takes 4-8.
When you see new growth forming on top, you’ll know they’ve successfully rooted.
Why Won’t My Rosemary Propagate?
There are a few reasons why rosemary cuttings may not propagate. If they’re taken during flowering, from a dehydrated or unhealthy plant, or are very old woody stems, the chances of success are lower.
Cold temperatures and lack of moisture or light will also slow them down.
It could also be that you took them too late in the season, when the plant is entering a rest period in the fall.
How To Care For Rosemary Cuttings
Caring for rosemary cuttings is very simple. For the water method, refresh it often so it stays clean until roots form. Otherwise the soil should remain lightly moist, but not soggy, at all times.
Either way, make sure to keep them warm, and give them 6-8 hours of indirect, bright light every day. Indoors you can set them on a heat mat, and add a grow light if necessary.
Learn exactly how to care for your rosemary plants here.
How To Transplant Rosemary Cuttings
When it’s time to transplant your rooted cuttings, you can move them up to larger containers, or prepare a garden space for them.
If you’re planting outside, amend the soil with worm castings or compost, and make sure it’s well-draining. Harden off your cuttings first, then plant them when temperatures are between 60-75°F.
Otherwise, prepare a large container with a well-draining soil mix. Then plant your cuttings only deep enough so the roots are fully covered, and water well. Drain off any excess and place them in a bright, warm location.
Some leaves may turn yellow or brown after transplanting, but you can trim those away. They will recover once they’ve adjusted to their new location.
FAQs About Propagating Rosemary
Here I’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about propagating rosemary. If yours isn’t on the list, please add it to the comments section below.
Can you root rosemary cuttings in water?
Yes, you can root rosemary cuttings in water, softwood stems work the best. It’s a very fast, easy method but it can increase chances of transplant shock.
Can you propagate rosemary from the grocery store?
You can propagate rosemary from the grocery store as long as they aren’t too dehydrated. For the best chance at rooting, choose the freshest stems possible.
It’s fun and easy to propagate rosemary, and you can root the cuttings in either soil or water. The tips in this guide will help you tackle multiplying rosemary like a pro, so you can have as many new baby plants as you want.
Do you want learn simple techniques and methods for how to multiply any plant that you want? Then you need to buy a copy of my Plant Propagation eBook! It’ll teach you all you need to know in order to be super successful! Download your copy today!
More About Plant Propagation
- How To Propagate Basil – A Step By Step Guide
- How To Propagate Lavender Plants From Cuttings
- Propagating Mint Plants From Cuttings Step-By-Step
- Plant Propagation: A Detailed Guide For Beginners
- The Best Plant Propagation Tools, Equipment & Supplies
Share your tips for how to propagate rosemary in the comments section below.
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