When you think of rosemary, there are many things that may come to mind, such as a fragrant and beautiful plant, a great herb for seasoning chicken and homemade focaccia bread, as well as other things you can make around the home.
Rosemary is a woody shrub that offers beautiful, fragrant soft needles and grows soft pink, blue or purple flowers, and it is used for many aesthetic, culinary and medicinal purposes.
The History Of Rosemary
Rosemary came to England at an unknown date from the Mediterranean area; it is thought that the Romans likely brought it when they invaded during the first century, but there are no viable records about rosemary arriving in Britain until the 8th century.
Rosemary finally arrived in the Americas with early European settlers in the beginning of the 17th century. It soon was spread to South America and soon after had a global distribution.
Why Do People Grow Rosemary?
People love rosemary as it is easy to grow, it is fragrant and typically disease and pest resistant, and it grows perfectly in a wide range of temperatures.
I am personally located in a zone 6 and my rosemary does very well here in pots, outdoors from the spring to the fall. I bring my rosemary in over the winter and make rosemary stem cuttings from my plant to easily propagate into other rosemary plants.
How To Grow Rosemary
There are a few ways to successfully grow rosemary at home. You can start your plant from rosemary seeds, or you can propagate rosemary from a cutting.
While growing rosemary from seed is a great way to start, it doesn't have to end there. Once fully grown, the rosemary plants you grow from seed can be propagated from cuttings in water every year!
Growing rosemary from cuttings can be an fun experience, and there are so many plants that can be propagated from cuttings like rosemary.
How To Grow Rosemary From Cuttings
To grow rosemary from cuttings, you will need:
- An established rosemary plant
- A small pot with decent drainage
- High quality potting soil (enough to fill your pot)
- A cup with some water
How To Prepare Your Rosemary Plant For Propagating
To get your existing rosemary plant ready to propagate, you will want to find some healthy 4 - 6" stems.
It is best if this is done in the colder months, maybe while your rosemary plant is happily indoors with you through the winter (of course, you can try this at any time of the year and you may still be successful, but rosemary is woodier and easier to get cuttings from during the winter).
Rosemary may also flower during the winter, so if you patiently wait until the plant is done flowering, this will also be helpful in successfully propagating rosemary.
When Does Rosemary Flower?
Rosemary flowers during an odd time of the year. It might be anywhere from December to February while it is indoors during the winter if you are in a cooler climate.
You will know that your rosemary is flowering when you start to see some fresh leaves growing that look a bit softer than its normal needle-like leaves near the top of the plant, and then you will see those pretty soft white, pink, purple or blue flowers bloom. These blooms will last a week, or up to three weeks and will disappear soon after.
Because this is a time of growth for the rosemary, it is best to wait until it is done blooming before cutting it for propagating purposes.
How To Cut Rosemary For Propagating
Here are the step by step instructions for propagating rosemary successfully!
- Using a small pair of clean, sharp scissors, cut several 4 - 6" rosemary branches that are not flowering.
- Using your scissors or simply your fingers, you are going to want to strip the leaves off of the bottom 2" of stem so you have nothing there but wood (and set those delicious leaves aside for your next meal seasoning!)
- Cut the base of your stem at a sharp 45 degree angle to expose the heartwood of the woody rosemary.
- Place your rosemary cuttings in a glass of water. It doesn't have to be a full glass, you will just want to make sure that your exposed 2" of rosemary is submerged. You will want to make sure you do 1 cutting per glass of water.
- Wait about 3-4 weeks, and you should start to see roots sprouting from your rosemary stem!
- Once you see your roots and they are about an inch or so long, you can get your potting soil ready in your pot and plant the rosemary cutting.
If you are not sure if you have a good quality potting soil, you can always get yourself a soil tester to see what it is lacking for your new rosemary plants. Make sure you plant deep enough so your rosemary won't be moving around at all, you will want those roots to establish in your pot as soon as possible.
- You will probably want to keep your plant indoors to keep an eye on it. Plus, to avoid giving it transplant shock, the inside temperatures do not fluctuate as much as it might outside, so to give it the best chance, keep it indoors until you see some new growth.
- you will start to see some new growth in about 6-8 weeks.
- Make sure the rosemary plant gets plenty of sunlight and water. If you plan on keeping the top of your soil slightly damp at all times, that is best.
- Once your plant is established, you can move it outdoors if the weather is temperate or you can transplant it into a larger pot.
Here are some other questions people are asking about growing rosemary from cuttings:
Can you start a rosemary plant from a cutting?
Rosemary is a very easy-to-grow and easy-to-propagate herb that can be started from a fresh rosemary cutting.
It is easy to start your own rosemary plant from a cutting off of a mother plant; simply cut off a 4-6" stem at a sharp 45 degree angle from the plant, strip the leaves off of the bottom 2", place into a cup of water so the bottom 2" are submerged and wait 3-4 weeks.
Once roots appear, transplant into a small pot with potting soil.
How long does rosemary take to grow from cuttings?
Once set in water to propagate, rosemary will take 3-4 weeks for roots to develop, and then once replanted into soil, will take another 6-8 weeks to grow in the pot you transplant it to. If it is winter out, don't worry;
Can I root rosemary in water?
Yes, you can absolutely root rosemary in water. There are many different herbs and plants that you can propagate by setting into water, and rosemary is one of the easiest to grow a new root system simply by submerging a cutting into water for 3-4 weeks.
How long does it take cuttings to root?
Once set in water, rosemary will take 3-4 weeks for roots to develop from the 2" section that you took the leaves off of. You will start to see a system of small, white roots branching out in your water, which is why you want to use a clear glass for propagation purposes.
Why is my rosemary not rooting?
There are a number of reasons why your rosemary is not rooting. Try these troubleshooting questions:
- Did you take your cutting during its flowering?
- Did you cut your stem off with clean, sharp scissors?
- Was the glass of water clean?
- Did you place your glass with your rosemary cuttings in enough sunlight?
- Did you try using a rooting hormone?
We suggest that when you make rosemary cuttings to propagate in water, you use clean scissors and clean water, because it is so easy for bacteria present to travel up the stem and inhibit new root growth.
Also, sometimes, a new rosemary plant may just not take, so it is best to do several cuttings at once in separate glasses to optimize your chances of success.
You can also increase your chances of your rosemary stem cuttings rooting better in the soil by using a rooting hormone.
How long does it take for rosemary to root in soil?
Once you have rosemary roots showing in your water, you can set it into a small pot with potting soil. Providing your rosemary does not go through transplant shock and you plant it deep enough and give it enough sunlight and water, you should start to see new rosemary growth in about 6-8 weeks.
What other herbs can you grow in water?
You can grow a number of herbs in water for propagation purposes and these include:
- lemon balm
- sage thyme
There are not only herbs, but also flowers and vegetables that can easily be propagated in water. This would be a fantastic way to start an affordable herb garden.
It is so fun to grow rosemary plants by rooting rosemary from propagated cuttings. All you need is a good, healthy parent plant that you can make new plants from! You will have an abundance of fragrant herbs in no time for your own herb garden.
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