How to Grow Rosemary from Cuttings – 5 Tips

Tips for Growing Rosemary from Cuttings

YC and I are attempting to grow about 200 rosemary plants from cuttings (more on exactly why we’re doing that later)… Last summer, I grew a few plants on accident when I took cuttings and left them in a glass of water with some other herbs and flowers for about a month. The flowers all died, but the mint and the rosemary rooted, and now YC has a fairly good sized rosemary plant in his elevated garden beds, an exact clone of the rosemary in my garden. For the past few months, I have been trying, mostly unsuccessfully to root some rosemary – intentionally this time. Finally – FINALLY – I successfully rooted a dozen rosemary plants from cuttings (a 100% success rate with the method I used!). Now, I have about 60 more cuttings, attempting to root them by the same successful method. Today, I’m sharing a few tips that I’ve learned this spring for rooting rosemary from cuttings.

1. Take small cuttings of new growth. I have tried all lengths and variations of new (green) stems of rosemary versus the older, woody (brown) stems. The new stems root much better. (In fact, the woody brown stems did not root at all.) Also, don’t be afraid to take small cuttings. My intuition was to take cuttings that were 3-4 inches long, but I had less success with these. It works better if you take cuttings that are 1.5 to 2.5″ long. I think that this might be because the new cutting has fewer leaves and less stem to support and feed.

Take short cuttings of new (green) stems
Take short cuttings of new (green) stems

2. Root the rosemary in water. I did a side-by-side comparison, attempting to root rosemary in water versus peat pellets. The rosemary that I rooted in water had a 100% success rate in about 10-14 days. The rosemary that I attempted to root in soil had a 0% success rate, and although the cuttings are still green, they show no signs of root hairs, even after 3 weeks.

3. Root rosemary in wine glasses. I honestly haven’t the faintest inkling why this works, and perhaps it is very unscientific. But I have now attempted rooting in a variety of glasses – tall ones, short ones, mason jars, etc. The one that works best is the wine glass. It may be because the shape of the wine glass helps to trap some evaporating moisture? Or it keeps all of the cut ends in a very little bit of water at the bottom of the glass while letting the majority of the cuttings remain out of water, thereby preventing rot? Either way, this is what worked for me.

Root rosemary in wine glasses
Root rosemary in wine glasses

4. Keep the water level low. As I mentioned above, the shape of a standard white wine glass (mine are from Ikea) allows for all of the cut ends to be concentrated at the bottom of the glass. You don’t need more than a half inch to an inch of water in the bottom. Even an inch might be a little much. Just check it periodically to make sure that you’re cuttings haven’t run out of water and replenish when necessary.

5. Use water that has sat out over night in a glass. My dad tells me that by keeping a glass of tap water out overnight or at least for several hours, you allow the chlorine to evaporate off and that this is good for the plants. After attempts with both fresh tap water and tap water that has sat out, I have had greater success with the tap water that has set out over night.

9 thoughts on “How to Grow Rosemary from Cuttings – 5 Tips

  1. this post was awesome timing for me! I just brought home a rosemary cutting from a friend of mine’s bush. I put it in a mason jar of water and it is a large cutting. Now I know what to do to fix it. 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Great! Good luck with your propagating! I’ve also read that using a rooting hormone can be useful, but I worry about adding chemicals to a plant I intend to eat, especially chemicals I’m unfamiliar with. And why add them when rosemary grows so easily?! Good luck with your rosemary! Hope it roots for you!

  2. Love your blog! Do you have any tips for growing rosemary in standard forn? It must take years…I would love to do it though. Thanks for tips on rooting rosemary- You are an inspiration!

  3. Very helpful! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one having 0% success with rooting woody cuttings. I’m looking forward to attempting again with your tips in mind! Thank you for sharing!! 😀

  4. Thank you , I’d been trying unsuccessfully for several weeks to root some cuttings. I was using old growth, so now will try again with new cuttings. Love the smell of rosemary!

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