Propagating Rosemary from Cuttings

I found an amazing trailing (prostrate) Rosemary hiding up on a ledge in the back of my garden this winter and made a note to propagate some more for the rest of my garden early in Spring – which I did, leaving me with 6 more little Rosemary plants that are coming along really nicely!

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosmarinus officinalis – mother plant in my garden.

"New" trailing Rosemary from cuttings made from mother plant early in August (almost spring time)

“New” trailing Rosemary grown from cuttings.

When I made a simple roast chicken (ala Jamie Oliver) the other day that called for fresh Rosemary, I harvested some from my garden, and having been overzealous, had a few sprigs left over and decided to root them too. Naturally, I have to share how easy and very rewarding it is to grow your own new Rosemary plants from stem cuttings.

I love Rosemary… it is such a wonderfully useful plant! From adding into roast meats and potatoes or using the woody stems as kebab sticks on the grill to using it as a rinse for hair, a cure for headaches and indigestion, and even as a fantastic deterrent for aphids! Not forgetting that it is a beautiful plant with rich dark needle-like leaves on long trailing  or tall upright stems (depending on the chosen variety). The pretty little flowers ranging from dark purple to light pink and white attract bees and butterflies to your garden and have the same, slightly less pungent flavour as the leaves and stems.

Do you need more reasons to propagate Rosemary? Well, if you insist:

Rosemary…

  1. …fights bacterial and fungal infections, especially topically,
  2. …increases circulation, raises blood pressure and strengthens blood vessels,
  3. …is a very powerful anti-oxidant,
  4. …can help with digestion by improving food absorption, reducing flatulence and stimulating the liver and gallbladder,
  5. …is a good antiseptic gargle for sore throats,
  6. …encourages hair growth and improves scalp health,
  7. …relieves rheumatic pains,
  8. …makes a stimulating tonic for fatigue,
  9. repels moths and other insects,
  10. …has a bold and assertive flavour for cooking.

So, how do you turn your one plant into many plants? Rosemary easily propagates from stem cuttings – either from soft wood cuttings (spring time) or hardwood cuttings (autumn time). This is how you do it:

Step-by-step Propagating Rosemary from Stem Cuttings

Two stems of Rosemary cut from the main plant

Two stems of Rosemary cut from the main plant

Cut each stem to about 5-7cm

Cut each stem to about 5-7cm (I halved each of my original stems)

Trim bottom 1-2cm of leaves and snip of growth tip

Trim bottom 1-2cm of leaves and snip of growth tip

Dip the bottom bit of each stem into rooting hormone, shake off excess

Dip the bottom bit of each stem into rooting hormone, shake off excess

Stick each stem (rooting hormone down) into soil

Stick each stem (rooting hormone down) into soil

Water well and keep moist and protected

Water well and keep moist and protected

Notes:

  • When you strip the leaves from the bottom part of your stem cutting, make sure you don’t tear the stem – rather use sharp garden scissors to cut them off. This way you minimize the possibility of infections.
  • You don’t have to use rooting hormone, Rosemary quite happily will root without, but your success rate is just kind of guaranteed when using rooting hormone.
  • I’ve used seed raising mix for my soil, but any fine soil, mixed with perhaps a bit of river sand to ensure good drainage will also work well.
  • Your plants should start rooting within a couple of weeks. Once a strong root system has developed you can plant your rosemary where you want it – directly in your garden or in a pot, making sure it will get enough sun and that there is good soil drainage.
Rosemary cuttings

Rosemary cuttings

 

WARNING!!

Do not use Rosemary oil or extracts when pregnant or if you suffer from high blood pressure. Moderate amounts in food is fine though 😉

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