Propagating rosemary quickly & easily
Rosemary is one of the most popular kitchen herbs. It can easily be propagated from cuttings. You can effortlessly grow the fragrantly scented herb yourself.
Although it is possible to multiply rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) from seeds, it is generally not recommended. It simply takes too long until the seeds germinate and the tender seedlings push themselves out to the substrate surface. Under optimal conditions with high germination temperatures of 25 to 30 °C it takes six to eight weeks until the first seedlings begin to stretch themselves out to the sun’s rays. This approach is therefore more suitable for those who are patient and want to expand their rosemary stock. If you already have a grown rosemary plant available, it can be propagated faster and easier with cuttings. The following instructions will explain how to grow rosemary from cuttings.
Propagating rosemary from cuttings
- Choosing the right season: Spring is usually the best season for propagating cuttings. At this time of year, the plants sprout freshly. The tender young shoots can be rooted particularly well. In addition, the higher light supply in spring favours the propagation of rosemary via cuttings. A bright and warm place on the windowsill is optimal.
- Removing the cuttings: The shoots which serve as cuttings should have a minimum length of 5 cm and a maximum length of 10 cm. It is important to note that the shoots should not be rooted in the lower area of the mother plant – this would unnecessarily complicate rooting and reduce the success of propagation. A sharp knife is preferable for cutting off the shoots. Scissors cause crushing at the cut, which is not conducive to the formation of new roots on the cuttings.
- Choice of substrate: Special substrates are offered for the propagation of plants via cuttings. These substrates are characterised by a low nutrient content. In addition, they have a very loose airy structure, which makes it easier for the delicate newly formed roots of the cuttings. It also provides them with sufficient oxygen. It is best to fill the substrate first into propagation plates or small degradable paper pots. This saves space on the windowsill and you can still repot the small plants into a larger container after the successful rooting.
- Planting the cuttings in the soil: Do not insert the cuttings too deeply into the substrate. Only the first centimetre above the cut should be in the substrate. If necessary, remove the needle-like pointy leaves of rosemary at this point. When they are in the substrate, they can start to mould. After the cuttings have found their way into the substrate, water them well.
- Creating the perfect environment: In addition to a warm and bright place on the windowsill, cuttings require dense air. To achieve this, cover the propagation pots with a transparent cover (like a plastic bag). The special propagation boxes, which are available in different variations and price ranges and consist of a lower part and a removable lid, can be very handy. If you simply insert it into a single pot, you can also put a cut-off plastic bottle over it. Why? Because the cuttings do not yet have the roots with which they can draw water from the substrate. The increased humidity created by the cover prevents excessive evaporation through the rosemary needle leaves and additionally decreases the risk of wilt.
- Weaning the cuttings: After two to three weeks, the first roots form on the rosemary cuttings. Now it is time to slowly remove the pampered young plants from their moist comfort zone. In the long run, fungi threaten to infest rosemary due to the high humidity. It is advised to gently introduce the cuttings to the drier air. At first, remove the lid only at night and leave it on the plants as usual during the day. If you also remove the lid during the day, observe the dainty little plants a little more closely. If the tissue becomes too soft and there is a risk of wilting, it is better to cover them with the transparent lid again. Alternatively, you can wet the rosemary cuttings with a fine spritz of water from a sprayer.
If when deciding to multiply your rosemary, you chose to propagate using cuttings then you will get to enjoy this spicy kitchen herb sooner. If you follow all the above mentioned steps, the rosemary cuttings will definitely feel at home with you and you will be rewarded with more rosemary plants.