Rosemary is a fragrant plant known for its rich aroma that will surely invite a family member when added to roasted chicken on a Saturday lunch. While you can sprinkle the dried form, nothing beats a fresh sprig of rosemary for garnishing a Masterchef-worthy plate. So it's always a good idea to have sprigs of greenery on hand.
Looking for an answer on how to propagate rosemary? You will just need cuttings from a bush and plant them in fresh soil. This blog will guide you through the detailed steps starting from how to cut a rosemary from plant to how to take care after planting.
Benefits of Propagating Rosemary Plants
Planting your own greenery does have many practical benefits. Rather than frequently buying herb plant in the grocery, consider the following advantages:
- Economical: Purchasing seedlings or fresh rosemary can be expensive. Sometimes, extra sprigs are wasted, especially if you only need a single branch when cooking. Fresh herbs are always available, sitting on the pot waiting for your next Michelin creations.
- Little maintenance: Once established, rosemary doesn’t require strict growing conditions and can subsist even on your kitchen windowsill. As long as it receives plenty of sunlight and proper watering, it will always be happy and produce aromatic sprigs.
- Fast-growing: Planting from cuttings is relatively faster than starting from seedlings. It skips the germination stage and jumps to the growing of new branches.
- True to type: Propagating rosemary for cuttings is a photocopy of the mother plant, giving them the same ideal traits of pest resistance, flavor, and growth characteristics.
The following paragraphs list a detailed explanation of how to care for rosemary plant.
How to Grow Rosemary from Cuttings
The plant is uncomplicated to propagate and will only require a few steps. The cuttings or the sprig size is essential. How much is a sprig of rosemary? It depends on the mother plant.
The cuttings can be planted directly in the ground, in a pot, or stimulated to root in water. The detailed description is listed below.
Rosemary Propagation Steps
- STEP #1 Selecting the right stem.
Choose a terminal branch with a new fresh sprout with soft, flexible, green, or less woody stem. Alternatively, the woody ones can still grow but would take a longer time. Another tip is to select a long stem that has no branches.
- STEP #2 Cutting the stem.
Snip off about 10-15 cm (4-6 in) or until slightly below the woody portion. The woody part is still essential to provide some stored energy during stressful planting.
- STEP #3 Preparing the stem for planting.
Hold the upper portion with your left hand and clean out the lower leaves about 2 inches (5cm) using your other hand. The stripped part facilitates transplanting and reduces transpiration.
- STEP #4Preparing the suitable potting medium and container.
Rosemary cuttings love well-draining and a porous medium. You can combine equal parts of universal soil, peat, and vermiculite. Adding ground eggshells slightly raises the soil pH preferred by rosemaries. It is also crucial to select a pot with drainage holes.
- STEP #5 Planting rosemary.
Dip the stem in a rooting hormone, usually available online or in garden shops. If not, the cuttings can still root without a problem. The period before you see any apparent growth varies. How long does rosemary take to grow? It could take about 3-6 months if planting was correctly done. Poke the soil with a finger or a stick and plant it until the stripped part. Water it to remove the air pockets in the soil. In spring, planting is best done to see the best results, although they can also be planted in other seasons except for winter.
- STEP #6 Planting greenery outdoors.
If the region you live in does not experience harsh winters, you can transplant rosemary seedlings outdoors. Plant it after it has been established in the pot to lessen the transplanting stress.
How to Propagate Rosemary in Water
The chances of survival in growing rosemary from cuttings can be increased with the addition of water. Using this technique, the root system sprouts and develops before planting, lessening stress. You will just need water and a container to grow rosemary from cuttings successfully. Follow this simple dip-wait-plant procedure:
- Dip. Rooting rosemary cuttings will need a water container like a glass, jar, or whatever you have. Dip the sprigs and ensure that the water is replaced every two days to discourage bacterial and fungal growth.
- Wait. Place it in a bright spot but indirect sunlight. The roots should emerge after 3-8 weeks, so patience is needed with this technique.
- Plant. As soon as you see roots coming out, the plant is set for repotting.
How to Care for Rosemary Plant
After planting, the herbs can thrive with little attention. However, some problems might arise. Here are some tips to properly take good care of it:
Watering. The soil should be moist in the first few weeks and might need constant monitoring by poking a finger. Once established, it should be left dry in between irrigations. Splash an ample amount until it drains out of the pot to ensure even wetness.
- Sunlight. A rosemary seedling loves to be in full sun, at least 6 hours of exposure. However, partial shade is needed in the beginning. An east- or west-facing window should work indoors.
- Temperature. It needs to be indoors if you experience below-freezing winter temperatures. The best growth would be 55-80˚F (10-26˚C).
- Fertilizer. Rosemary thrives in nutrient-poor soils, so they are not gluttonous-eaters with fertilizer. However, a light dose of a liquid fertilizer brand (1/4 or ½), applied once a year, is beneficial.
- Pruning. Prune some branches to control the growth and to encourage new sprigs, making the plant bushy.
- Pest and Diseases. A slimy sapling occurs if it has been overwatered and infected with root rot. However, this is likely to occur if planted from seed. Transplanting rosemary might be saved after trimming the infected parts. If the browning occurs in a few leaves after repotting, don’t panic. It is probably stress which is a pretty typical reaction. New leaves should emerge soon. Meanwhile, small insects like spider mites, mealy bugs, and thrips might feast on the leaves if grown indoors. Blasting it with water will simply control the insects.
How much is a sprig of rosemary?
A sprig of rosemary is a terminal branch of the stem, measuring about 3-6 inches (8-15 cm). When measuring a dried form of herbs, a sprig can be about 1 tablespoon or 15 mL.
How long does rosemary take to grow?
Rosemary takes about 3-6 months before you can see apparent growth, while starting from seed takes more than 6 months before it can produce a mature sprig.
How to propagate rosemary to a grocery store?
Propagate the plant from a grocery store by cuttings. Ensure that it measures at least 4-6 inches (10-15 cm). Strip the lower needles about 2 inches (5cm) and plant in fast-draining soil and container with potholes. It can be allowed to root in water, increasing the chances of its survival.