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How to Propagate Rosemary Plants

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How to Propagate Rosemary Plants

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Overview

Rosemary is a favorite herb of many cooks because it enhances the flavor of chicken, beef, fish and vegetable dishes. The shrubby rosemary plant has woody stems with small needle-like leaves, and is fairly drought-tolerant. It is relatively easy to propagate and there are several different methods you can use. Do not try to propagate rosemary by seed. The seeds have a bad germination rate and take about three months to spout.

Cuttings

Step 1

Cut off a 3-inch cutting from a branch of rosemary. Choose a healthy looking branch that is not flowering. Strip the bottom third of the branch of all leaves. There should be at least six leaves on the branch.

Step 2

Dip the bottom section of the branch in rooting hormone powder. This will give the stem a boost of energy and allow it to produce roots more easily.

Step 3

Place the prepared stem in a pot filled with potting soil. Choose a pot with a drain hole at the bottom and cover the drain hole with a coffee filter to keep the soil in and allow water to drain in and out. Bury the stem up to the remaining leaves.

Step 4

Water the stem cutting until water runs out of the drain hole of the pot. Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag and secure it with string or a rubber band placed around the pot. Make it as airtight as possible because the moisture in the pot must be retained. Condensation may form on the bag, but do not be concerned.

Step 5

Place the pot in indirect sunlight. Full sun can damage the cutting.

Step 6

Water if the soil gets dry by placing the pot in a saucer of water. The planting medium will absorb it through the drain hole. The pot should remain moist because of the plastic covering but there is a chance it will need water if the covering is not tight.

Step 7

Remove the plastic bag once you see growth. Let the plant grow in the pot for about two weeks then either report it or plant it in the garden.

Layering

Step 1

Choose a long stem from a mature plant growing in the garden. The stem must be able to reach the ground with a few inches to spare.

Step 2

Bend the stem so that it touches the ground. Pin it down with a horseshoe-shaped wire by pushing the two ends into the ground and catching the stem in the middle. Leave about 3 inches of the stem on the other side of the pin.

Step 3

Remove the leaves 1/2 inch on both sides of the wire pin. Bury the pin and stripped areas with a little garden soil but leave the tail on the other side of the pin free.

Step 4

Watch for new growth on the tip of the branch beyond the wire. Once 2 or 3 inches grow, cut the stem from the mother plant, and carefully dig up the new plant.

Step 5

Transplant the new plant into a pot or in the garden. There is no need to harden off rosemary plants that have been layered as they are used to the soil in the garden.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cuttings can take six to eight weeks to root and grow so do not get discouraged after a few weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Rooting hormone
  • Small pot with a drain hole
  • Coffee filter
  • Plastic bag
  • String or rubber band
  • Flower pot saucer
  • Bendable heavy wire 4 to 5 inches in length

References

  • Gardening Know How: How to Propagate a Rosemary Plant
  • "Fine Gardening": Rosemary Outdoors and In
  • MileWide Nursery: How to Propagate Rosemary

Who Can Help

  • Garden Patch: Growing Rosemary
Keywords: propagation of rosemary, layering of rosemary, rosemary cutting propagation

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