How To Propagate Rosemary (With Pictures)

A bush of Rosemary.
A native to the Mediterranean, Rosemary gives a wild look to the garden and terrace.

Did you know that Rosemary or Rose of Mary got its name in honor of the Mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary?

Rosemary has a peculiar leaf structure resembling curled pine needles and hardwood shrubs, giving new twigs in the spring as an ideal propagating material.

To propagate Rosemary, use either stem cutting, layering, or seed. Keep the optimum temperature between 30ºF and 86ºF, and after the root germination, transplant the propagated Rosemary to a pot 4-6 inches wide. 

A green bush of Rosemary in a garden
Choosing to propagate from cutting makes the journey short and gives you a faster result.

Since ancient times, Rosemaries have held great significance for their culinary, aromatic, and medicinal uses.

If you want to populate Rosemary plants cost-effectively, stay with the article till the end.

Reasons to Propagate Rosemary

Rosemary, a perennial shrub, can be a member of your garden and collection for decades if you can provide proper care.

You can propagate the Rosemary to add fragrance to the air with other benefits.

I can provide hundreds of reasons to propagate Rosemary by cutting, layering, or seeds, but I have listed only important ones so you won’t get bored.

  • Buying the Rosemary plant every year is expensive, so propagating them will be cost-efficient.
  • Rosemary shows faster growth when propagated from cutting which helps to give you an entire garden of culinary herbs within a year or two.
  • The medicinal herb is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, iron, and minerals and adds to the flavor of the food with its health benefits.
  • Propagation by the vegetative method gives a new baby plant identical to the parent plant and authentic to its identity.

When to Propagate Rosemary

To ensure the propagation time, you need to know your surroundings and the hardiness zone.

The best time to propagate Rosemary in a warmer zone is the late spring or early fall. For colder zones, it is good to propagate in early spring or late summer in potting soil.

Rosemary is growing in a black pot in a terrace.
Rosemary has attained successful propagation if there are 4 to 6 hair roots of about one to two inches long.

However, you can also propagate Rosemary anytime in the year, but to be on the safe side, you need to stay on the timeline.

Propagation of Rosemary Plant- Complete Guide

Talking about the time and reasons to propagate the Rosemaries have already made me excited to share all the details that I experienced while propagating Rosemary.

Let us start with the tools and materials required.

ItemsPurpose
Rosemary plantA healthy matured plant for cut stems for propagation
Rosemary SeedsFor propagation by seeds
Pruning shear /Propagation knifeTo cut through stems, leaves, and roots
Isopropyl AlcoholTo sterilize the equipment before and after use
Fresh Potting mixPeat Moss Mix for planting
Clean, room temperature waterFor water propagation
500 ml glass vaseFor water propagation
Rooting HormoneTo boost the development of roots in the cut stems

Rosemary propagation can be an easy task, even if you are a novice in propagation. There are multiple methods for you to multiply Rosemary plants. 

1. Propagation Via Stem Cutting

Cutting can always be fun if you are good with pruners and knives.

Rosemary can easily take up the parent plant’s original pace of growth when propagated by cuttings. 

Surprisingly, you can have two propagating mediums to get more free Rosemary herbs.

Propagation in Water

Water can be an ideal medium for propagation only when you want to grow the root structure in the stem and later transplant it into the soil.

This method can be faster and easier, even without using growth hormones.

  • Firstly, cut the sprigs about 6 inches long from the Rosemary plant when they are in the growing stage for softwood cuttings. 

Hardwood is the mature plant part whose cutting can grow new plants after propagation. But it takes a longer period for root germination extending up to three months to six months.

  • You need to cut below the branching point where the new leaf or stem sprouts emerge.
  • Remember to remove the leaves up to 2 inches from the base of the cut stems to allow space for the new roots.
Avoid using the twigs from older stems and look out for new growth.
  • Fill a plant glass with clean water up to 2 inches.
  • Then, submerge the bare stems into the water, so the leaves do not touch the water level.
  • Lastly, change the water daily to prevent bacterial growth and stem rotting.

You can see the rooting in the basal part within 2 to 3 weeks which is faster than in soil.

At last, transplant the rooted cuttings into the soil mix enriched with perlite, peat moss, or vermiculite. And keep them in a shaded place to allow the cuts to establish the roots in the ground.

Propagation In Soil

Propagating in the soil gives you the perk of no transplanting if your plan is one stem per pot.

But if you want to grow more than one stem cutting of Rosemary, you can use a six-inch pot and plant four to five twigs of stems in the pot and later transplant it to the ground or bigger pot.

  • Firstly, choose a Rosemary parent plant that has fully grown old leaves and has formed new leaves in the growing season.
  • Make a diagonal cut below the petiole or branching leaf stem leaving a stem of six inches long.
  • Remove the leaves about 2 inches from the base of the stem to allow space for the growth of roots. 
  • Start filling a pot with light soil rich in organic matter and little sand. 
Seven red pots contain a single stem of Rosemary in each of them and lying over a tray.
Rosemary does not like acidic soil, so you should avoid excess use of peat as that makes the soil more acidic.
  • Afterward, dip the cut stem into the water for moistening and then dip into the powder or use gel growth hormone.

Honey is also a striking alternative for growth hormones because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

  • Dig a hole of two inches with the help of a pencil and put the bare stem into the soil.
  • To speed up the propagating process, you can also use a plastic bag to cover the pot entirely to provide a greenhouse effect on the cuttings.
  • Mist the plant every 1 to 2 days if it seems too dry, or you can water the cuttings an inch of the soil once or twice a week before the development of roots.

You can see the roots growing within four to eight weeks of propagating. 

Transplanting is only necessary if you grow more than one stem per pot, or you can leave it as it is for further growth.

2. Propagation Via Layering

By layering, I meant to say simple layering, which may be new for many but can be obsolete for you. 

But do you know you can apply the layering method in propagating Rosemary, which is similar to other herbs?

Follow through with the steps to be more sure of the process.

  • Take a long, healthy, soft branch from a well-established parent plant.
  • Then, bend the branch towards the soil to allow the new plant to grow attached to the parent plant.
  • Remove the leaves from the bent part to make space for the cut and emerging roots.
A stem of Rosemary with roots.
A single plant can give numerous stems for propagation in case of layering.
  • Cut with a pruner or sharp knife in the bare stem, but it should not be through. Only scrape the outer layer, making the tissue open to the soil.
  • Dig a hole in the soil so the wounded stem is inside and the leaves are above the ground.
  • Lastly, use a stone or heavy object to keep the plant bend down in its place till new roots emerge.

New roots are visible only after four to twelve weeks, depending on the climate and surroundings.

After root emergence, cut off the new plant from the Rosemary with the help of shears and transplant it either in a pot or directly into the soil. 

3. Propagation Via Seeds

Seeds have always been the most used method of propagation for shrubs and herbs.

You can grow Rosemary from seeds and develop it into a bushy shrub in the following way.

  • Firstly, choose a container having enough drainage holes, or you can even buy a seed-starting tray for easiness.
  • Make a potting mix with a 50-50 ratio of perlite and peat moss, or use a soilless combination for seed.
  • Before filling the pot, remember to moisten the mix with water lightly.
  • Seeds of Rosemary are tiny in size, so it is better to sprinkle 4 to 5 seeds in the potting mix or soil and cover them lightly with the soil to allow them to reach sunlight.
seedlings-of-rosemarry
Propagation via seeds takes more time for Rosemary to root and transplant.
  • Water the seed with a mister, so the soil is neither soggy nor superficially wet.
  • Cover the pot with plastic to capture the heat and moisture, creating a greenhouse effect.
  • Finally, place the pot within reach of direct sunlight, and if you do not have south-facing windows, use a heating mat or grow light.

You can see seedling germination within two to four weeks, which needs transplantation when the seedlings reach a height of 4 to 6 inches.

Care for Recently Propagated Rosemary

After the cutting and seeding, you have completed almost half of your task. 

But the most important ones are to establish the cut plant and seeds properly into the new soil and provide the care as much as possible to prevent transplant shock.

  • First, keep your plant pot in a place that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Keep the humidity level at 45-55% for better results.
  • The surrounding temperature during the winter months should be between 40ºF and 65ºF, and 68-86ºF during the spring. 
  • After transplanting, you should water Rosemary once a week in summertime and once every two weeks in spring and fall, one inch from the soil.
  • Keep the light and well-draining soil with a pH of 7.0 or higher. 
  • Add pebbles or gravel limestone to increase the draining system of the soil, and remember the pot should have a drainage hole.
A new Rosemary plant is growing in a black-brown pot with a memo of a cat over the pot.
Keep your Rosemary plant in a warm, humid place but not in excess, as that invites pests and disease.
  • In potted conditions, Rosemary can thrive even without fertilizer. However, you can use balanced 20-20-20 N-P-K liquid fertilizers if they show stunted growth or yellow leaves.
  • Prevent your newly potted plant from pests like aphids, spittlebugs, whiteflies, and red spider mites by using insecticidal soap. 
  • Rosemary is prone to diseases like powdery mildew and downy mildew during warm, wet seasons, for which you can use neem oil or fungicides.
  • The new plant does not need pruning, but when the plants get bushier, you can trim them off once in the growing season.

Conclusion

It is a blessing for Rosemary to have multiple propagation methods, other than seeds, like cutting and layering. 

Propagating from cutting and layering tends to be more cost and time efficient than a seed.

However, seeds will add to the genetic value by being different from the parent plant, while cutting gives you the new plant genetically similar to its parent.

If you have other houseplants, you also need to learn about propagating Raspberries and Spider Plants

So it is up to you whether you want genetically new Rosemary by waiting a little longer or the same Rosemary, quicker. 

Keep Parenting and Planting!

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