How to Propagate Rosemary from Cuttings, a step by step guide which can be applied to other hardwood plants such as lavender, sage and roses.
In the past, I’ve had a lot of trouble growing rosemary. Every time I bought a plant from the nursery, planted in the ground, I ultimately watched it die. It took three different plants before it took off. And by taking off, the tiny sapling ended up growing into a shrub and later formed an intertwined mess that’s now my height. After some hard pruning, it started to look like a little tree, taking up almost a quarter of the garden space dedicated to herbs.
Rosemary is a hardy herb. It likes full sun and thrives on minimal watering. With the bushfires and drought this summer, I woke up one day to find one third of the plant burnt to a crisp. The leaves had fallen off, a lot of branches were dead and it was looking very sad. Admittedly, I have not been watering it much along with other well established plants. I had been contemplating getting rid of it, starting again in a pot and reclaiming the space for something else so it was time to propagate this rosemary from cuttings. Fortunately, there was still new growth and some flowers on the shrub so all was not lost.
The following steps for propagating rosemary from cuttings can be applied to most plants.
How to Propagate Rosemary from Cuttings
- Cut a used plastic soft drink bottle into two pieces. They will be used as a cloche.
- Fill a small container with seed raising potting mix and water it well.
- Take a 6-10cm cutting from new growth, cutting the stem at a 45 degree angle.
- Gently remove the bottom leaves, (save them for cooking), leaving a few at the top.
- Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone gel, then using a chopstick or a pencil, make a hole in the soil and gently insert the cutting. If you don’t have rooting hormone gel, honey works just as well.
- Use one half of the soft drink bottle to cover the cutting. Repeat with the other.
- Keep the plants moist but not soaking wet at all times to encourage root growth.
- Occasionally lift the cloche to allow the plant to breathe, or remove the cap of the bottle.
Keep an eye on the cuttings. If they wither and die, you can start again with a new cutting. If some of the leaves show signs of stress, don’t give up yet. Once you notice a little bit of growth, you can gently have a prod around the roots.
I have had success propagating rosemary, lavender, roses, Sambac / Arabian jasmine (which you can see in the right hand side container) and I’m currently trialling more rosemary, sage and a bay tree.
Want to Know More?
You’ll find more information on how to grow rosemary, which varieties to try, how to pair it with food and spirits, and how to use rosemary in cocktails including a full recipe in my 260+ page digital book GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available now.