How to Grow Rosemary from Cuttings: A Guide to Propagating Rosemary Plants from Stem Cuttings

If you’re looking for an easy way to propagate rosemary plants, then stem cuttings are the way to go. It only takes a few minutes to increase your garden stock with this method. Let’s walk through the steps of how to grow rosemary from cuttings!
Eva Blum
how to grow rosemary from cuttings

The Benefits of Growing Rosemary from Cuttings Versus Seeds

Before we get into the details of how to grow rosemary from cuttings, let’s see why it’s worth doing it that way. There are three main benefits to it, as opposed to planting rosemary seeds.

  • Growing rosemary from cuttings is much faster than starting them from seed. It will take up to a few months, so you’ll be able to harvest the fresh herb in no time.
  • You’re getting a plant that is an exact clone of the parent plant which you already like. This guarantees you’ll get the same flavor, form, and size as the original.
  • It’s free. There’s no need to buy more seeds each time you want to propagate rosemary.

On the other hand, if you start rosemary from seed, you might not end up with a plant that has the same qualities as the parent plant. The germination process can also be quite long and unpredictable.

How to Grow Rosemary from Cuttings in Pots

The exact method will depend on where you’re going to grow the new plants. You can either plant them indoors in pots or directly in the ground. So, how to grow rosemary from cuttings in pots?

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Step 1. Prepare the Pots

Before you take cuttings, you’ll need to have pots ready to grow them in. Make sure the pots have drainage holes. Stock up on a mix of multipurpose compost and coarse horticultural sand or grit. This mixture mimics the well-drained soil rosemary plants naturally grow in. They don’t need much organic matter, and they prefer full sun, so avoid using peat-based composts.

Step 2. Take Cuttings from a Healthy Rosemary Plant

The best time to take cuttings from rosemary is in late spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut portions of the tip that are about 5-6 inches long. Make sure each cutting has several sets of leaves. Cut just below a leaf node – this is where new roots will grow from.

Step 3. Remove the Lower Leaves

The bottom 2 inches of the stems should be bare. Strip the leaves off them gently with your fingers. This will give your plants space to develop new roots.

Step 4. Place the Cuttings in Water

To root rosemary, fill a jar or glass with water and place the cuttings in it. Make sure the leaf nodes are submerged. If you want to help the rosemary cuttings root, you can dip their ends in rooting hormone before placing them in water.

Place the container in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Every couple of days, change the water to provide your plants with fresh oxygen.

Step 5. Wait 4-8 Weeks for the Roots to Develop

It can take up to 8 weeks for roots to grow. Once they do, you’ll see new growth on the plants. Give them more time to develop 4-6 roots on each stem, about half an inch long. When they do, it’s time to transplant them into potting soil.

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If your cuttings are brown and shedding needles, it means they died. In this case, you’ll need to start over with fresh cuttings.

Step 6. Plant Your New Rosemary in Pots

Take the pots you bought earlier and fill them with the soil mix you prepared. Dampen the soil and carefully plant each cutting about 3-4 inches deep to cover the roots. Place the pots in a spot with indirect sunlight.

Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged until your new rosemary plants establish themselves. After that, you can move them to direct sunlight and treat them like mature rosemary plants.

How to Grow Rosemary from Cuttings in Your Garden

Now, let’s see how to grow rosemary from cuttings outdoors. If you want to grow your rosemary plants directly in the ground, make sure to choose a spot that gets full sun. The soil should be well-drained and moderately fertile. To take cuttings and get them to root, follow the same steps as for growing rosemary in pots.

The only difference is that you’ll need to move the cuttings from water to the ground once the roots grow. Dig a hole that’s big enough to accommodate each cutting. Gently loosen the soil around it and plant your cutting about 3 inches deep.

Harvesting the Rosemary You’ve Propagated

You can start harvesting the rosemary you’ve propagated once it reaches about 6 inches in height. Use sharp pruning shears to cut off the stems as needed. You can then use them for cooking or drying. Remember to leave at least 2/3 of the stems unharvested, so your plants can continue growing.

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How to Dry and Store Rosemary Safely

If you want to store your rosemary for later use, the best way to do it is by drying it. Cut off the stems and leaves and tie them together in small bundles. Hang them upside down in a dark, dry, and well-ventilated area.

Once the leaves are crisp, usually after about two weeks, remove them from the stems. You can then store them in an airtight container (like a plastic bag) and keep them in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

Enjoy Your New Rosemary Plants

And there you have it – the answer to the question of how to grow rosemary from cuttings! With a little patience and the right conditions, it’s easy to propagate these fragrant plants. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be enjoying fresh rosemary from your herb garden in no time.

Do you have any tips for growing rosemary? Share them in the comments below!

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