Outdoor Backyard Ideas

The secret to growing rosemary from cuttings

A step-by-step guide.
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Rosemary is an easy-to-grow, woody herb plant that, once established, will thrive on neglect. It is versatile on both the plate (lending plenty of flavour to soups, roasts and stews) and in the garden. 

Clip it into a tidy hedge for a manicured garden, or for a more cottage-style look, leave it to grow wild and develop pretty blue flowers (that also happen to be edible!). 

Rosemary propagation will save you plenty of money on store-bought herbs. The best part is that you can also get it started in your garden for free! Have a friend with a rosemary bush? Ask them to cut off a couple of 10-15cm-long healthy sprigs, and you’ll never need to pay for this fragrant herb again.

Want to learn how to grow rosemary from cuttings? It’s simple!

(Credit: Cath Muscat)

How to propagate rosemary

How to take rosemary cuttings

The secret to propagating rosemary successfully boils down to healthy cuttings from an established plant.

Cut a 10-15cm sprig from the bush with clean, sharp scissors. Then, strip leaves from the bottom third of the sprig. Removing the leaves will prevent rot developing. 

Rosemary plant close up
Propagating rosemary successfully begins with a cutting from a healthy, established plant. (Credit: Photography: Getty)

Can you plant rosemary cuttings directly into the soil?

Yes, rosemary cuttings can be planted directly into the garden or a container. Simply dip the sprig in rooting hormone and plant directly into a garden bed or a container filled with well-draining potting mix (succulent and cactus potting mix is a good choice).

Tip: If you don’t have any rooting hormone on hand, try dipping the tip of the sprig in honey instead.

Can you root rosemary cuttings in water? 

Yes, you can root rosemary cuttings in water! To do this, simply place the cutting in a clean glass jar filled with water and leave it in a sunny spot until roots develop. Once roots have developed, you can then plant the cutting straight into the garden or a container.

Where does rosemary like to grow?

Rosemary will thrive in a full-sun position (it requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day) and prefers well-draining soil. While it can adapt to almost any soil conditions, it will not tolerate wet feet. Plant it in a spot that is protected from strong winds. 

Rosemary growing in a garden bed in Queensland
Rosemary cuttings can be planted directly into the garden bed. (Credit: Photography: Getty)

How to grow rosemary cuttings

  1. Snip 15-20cm from the top of a vigorous shoot using sharp, clean secateurs. 
  2. Strip the lower leaves, then dip the cut end into root-promoting hormone gel or powder.
  3. Fill a small pot with seed-raising or sieved potting mix. Insert the cutting to just below the leaves. Firm in.
  4. Gently water and put in a warm, bright spot.
  5. Keep moist and, when roots form in about six weeks, carefully transplant into the garden or a larger pot.

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