So you love cooking with rosemary, right?
Well, did you know it’s super simple to multiply your plants, too?
Whether you want more for your kitchen or to share with friends, we will show you easy ways to propagate rosemary.
By the end of this article, you’ll be experts at making new little rosemary plants through cuttings, dividing the parent plants, or even growing from seed.
What Is Rosemary?
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a beloved and versatile herb cherished for centuries for its culinary, aromatic, and medicinal properties.
Native to the Mediterranean region, this evergreen shrub is a staple in culinary gardens and a symbol of remembrance and culinary delight.
Rosemary’s distinctive appearance is marked by its needle-like leaves.
These leaves exhibit a dark green hue on their upper surface, while their underside features a striking silver-white shade.
Arranged in pairs along woody stems, the leaves grant the plant its characteristic aesthetic.
Beyond appearance, the leaves release a delightful and refreshing fragrance when brushed or crushed, adding an aromatic dimension to gardens and culinary endeavors.
During spring and summer, rosemary adorns itself with charming tubular flowers that span a spectrum of colors, from delicate whites to pale blues and lavenders.
These flowers are a visual delight and attract essential pollinators such as bees.
In some cultures, rosemary is incorporated into wedding bouquets and decorations as a token of love and fidelity.
Here are the main methods for propagating rosemary.
Method #1: Stem Cuttings
One simple method of propagating rosemary is taking stem cuttings from an existing rosemary plant.
Select stiff 6-8 inch (15-20 cm) stem cuttings with a few sets of leaves in late spring or early summer.
Remove the bottom leaves, leaving the top set.
Dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder.
Plant the cuttings in potting soil heated to 70-75°F (21-24°C), pressing soil firmly around the stems.
Maintain soil moisture until roots form in four to six weeks.
Once established with a root system, the cuttings can be transplanted into separate pots or the garden bed.
Proper care and humidity will result in successfully rooted clones of the parent rosemary.
Method #2: Layering
Layering involves bending a flexible stem down to the ground and covering part of it with soil so it will root along that buried section.
In spring or summer, select stems that can be bent low enough to reach the soil surface without breaking.
Secure the stem using a U-shaped wire marker and cover it partially with potting soil.
Maintain moist soil to encourage root growth over the next two to four months.
Once rooted, sever the new plant below the buried section and transplant it into a container.
Proper watering and warmth will result in a self-rooted plant developed through non-destructive layering of flexible rosemary stems.
Method #3: Division
Carefully rejuvenate overgrown rosemary clumps in early spring or fall by digging them up.
Then, use garden shears or a sharp knife to separate the plant into segments with a few stems and roots each.
Each division should have some woody portions.
Replant the divided portions immediately into the garden or soil-filled pots.
Space them 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart and place them in a sunny spot.
Maintain moisture levels as the new plants establish over six to eight weeks.
The division encourages fuller bushes while also generating new rosemary stock for propagation.
Method #4: Seeds
Gently collect mature seed pods in late summer and remove seeds.
Sow the tiny black seeds indoors in pots of seed-starting mix in winter.
Keep the soil moist and warm at about 70-80°F (21-27°C) until germination occurs within two to four weeks.
Once the seedlings develop their first true leaves, transplant them individually into small pots.
Grow them indoors until spring, when they can harden off, before planting outside when nighttime temps stay above 50°F (10°C).
Patience is required, but growing rosemary from seed yields new plants.
Method #5: Grafting
Grafting rosemary involves joining a desired variety (scion) onto a rootstock plant.
This technique is useful for disease resistance or hardiness.
In late winter/early spring, select one to two inches of the current year’s growth from the scion variety.
Remove leaves, leaving a quarter-inch stems.
Also, prepare rootstock stems by making a smooth diagonal cut just above the root flare.
Use a grafting knife or razor blade to match the cambium layers of scion and rootstock cuts.
Bind them tightly with grafting tape or rubber bands, leaving the graft union one to two inches above the soil.
Maintain humidity and warmth of 70-80°F (21-27°C) until healing is complete, usually four to six weeks.
Pot up grafted plants and slowly harden them off before transferring them to the garden in summer.
Monitor for graft union growth and root development.
With little effort, any gardener can enjoy multiplying their rosemary harvest by using these propagation techniques.
Both experienced growers and those new to rosemary will gain valuable skills for the organic expansion of their herb collection.
Following the step-by-step directions ensures success in cultivating more delectable herbs through cuttings, division, layering, seeds, or grafting.