Herbs | Plant Propagation

How to Propagate Rosemary: From Cuttings to Plants in Water or Soil

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Considering how much we cook with it, propagating rosemary plants from cuttings makes perfect sense in our home. I always love having a live rosemary plant nearby! Luckily, I’ve found it’s very easy to do and will share my favorite tips on how to propagate rosemary from cuttings so you can try it, too!

First things first, get yourself some rosemary! You can take rosemary cuttings from an actual plant or simply pull a few pieces from the fresh rosemary you buy at the grocery store.

How to Propagate Rosemary in Water - Start with a propagation station and fresh rosemary!
How to Propagate Rosemary in Water – Start with a propagation station and fresh rosemary!

Either way, you can end up with a happy, healthy new rosemary plant!

I can’t wait to tell you all about how to propagate rosemary from cuttings. Let’s get started.

Can you regrow rosemary from cuttings?

Yes, you can regrow rosemary from cuttings fairly easily. It is possible to take healthy rosemary cuttings and place them in water or soil to propagate a new rosemary plant.

What is the fastest way to propagate rosemary?

Growing rosemary from cuttings is most likely the fastest method of rosemary propagation. Starting rosemary from seeds takes a very long time to result in a mature plant. Instead, take clippings of rosemary and start a new plant quickly.

Propagating Rosemary from Cuttings - fresh sprigs in water in glass jar
Propagating rosemary from cuttings in water is fun and easy!

How do you take rosemary cuttings?

Take rosemary cuttings by clipping a branch of rosemary below a leaf node with a sharp knife or scissors. The rosemary cutting should be about 3 to 4 inches long. Remove the lower leaves and you can even harvest some of the rosemary leaves for cooking first.

How to Propagate Rosemary in Water: DIY

Propagating rosemary from cuttings is an easy enough task to do while you are meal prepping your next dish that includes rosemary.

Here are quick and easy steps on how to propagate rosemary from cuttings.

  1. Obtain rosemary cuttings from an existing plant or a sprig of rosemary from the store. If needed, cut the rosemary stem to separate it from the plant or larger sprig. Make the cut just a bit below a leaf node, making sure the cutting is about 3 inches long.
  2. Remove rosemary leaves (most of them) and use them in a recipe or set aside the rosemary leaves for future use.
    Rosemary sprigs propagating in water in glass beaker on wood frame
  3. Optional – If desired, dip the end of the rosemary stem cuttings in rooting hormone like Clonex gel.
  4. Place the rosemary cuttings directly in water. A propagation station works wonders, but a regular vase or glass jar will also do.
  5. Place the jar or propagation set near some natural sunlight, such as on a windowsill or nearby a window or glass door.
  6. Change the water every other day or so.
  7. Look at the stems for roots. Once you notice a healthy root system, you can transfer the rosemary cuttings to soil.

How to Propagate Rosemary in Soil

To propagate rosemary cuttings in soil, you can

  1. Follow the steps above for taking rosemary cuttings and preparing rosemary for rooting.
  2. Instead of placing the rosemary in water, stick the stem cuttings in a small nursery pot filled with peat-rich potting mix.
  3. Next, place a plastic baggie overtop of the pot to keep the moisture all around the cuttings.
  4. Move the pot to a sunny window.
  5. Check on it daily to ensure moisture needs are met and the soil isn’t drying out.
  6. Watch for new growth. Eventually, you can check for roots within the pot before transplanting to a bigger one.

Tips for Propagating Rosemary

As you learn how to propagate rosemary, keep these propagation tips in mind.

  1. Your mileage may vary. Remember that every cutting doesn’t always become a successful plant. You may want to try starting more cuttings than you actually need.
  2. Try misting with a spray bottle. Even when caring for rosemary, a light misting with water on the leaves can help encourage a healthy plant. In the Mediterranean region, this often happens naturally in the environment, so the plant should respond well.
  3. Avoid killing with kindness. Sometimes we’re so excited about our propagation projects that we may give our plants too much attention. Try to resist the urge to dig them up looking for roots, or poking at them too much, etc. In many cases, less is more!
Propagation Station with Fresh Rosemary
Propagation Station with Fresh Rosemary – this was a gift from my best friend who knows me best! <3

Winter Rosemary Propagation

Some gardeners in cooler growing zones like we are here in zone 6b may find it difficult to keep a rosemary plant alive over the winter.

During the coldest time of the year, when outdoor gardening is dismal, focus on propagation! Clip a few branches off of your existing rosemary plant and stick them in a glass with water. In a matter of a week or two, you should already see some new roots growing.

You can also do this directly in soil! Try a quick dip in some rooting hormone and pop them in a little nursery pot with potting mix.

I’ve successfully rooted rosemary without any rooting hormone, but it is certainly a useful trick to have in your gardening kit.

Fresh rosemary sprigs, delicious for cooking!
Fresh rosemary sprigs, delicious for cooking!

Propagation from Rosemary Cuttings

When you grow rosemary from cuttings, try to be patient. Rooting rosemary generally doesn’t happen overnight.

Now that you know how to propagate rosemary from stem cuttings, I hope you will give it a try! Next time you need fresh rosemary for dinner, it should only take you an extra minute or two to stick some stems in water.

I highly recommend a lovely and stylish propagation station. My bff got me one for Christmas and I’ve been loving it. I already see some roots growing on my rosemary cuttings and it’s been only one week since trying to root them.

Thick white roots growing on rosemary cutting during propagation in water
Thick white roots growing on rosemary cutting during propagation in water

Look closely and you may see your own rosemary rooting much sooner than you expect! Patience is certainly a virtue, but we gardeners are often rewarded with wonderful surprises from time to time as well.

Tiny, hair-like root growing on the tip of a rosemary clipping during propagation efforts
If you look closely, you can see a tiny, hair-like root growing on the tip of this rosemary clipping during my propagation efforts.

Have you successfully rooted rosemary cuttings? Do you have any questions about propagating rosemary?

Love to hear from you in the comments below!

By the way, if you love rosemary like I do, be sure to try my grandfather’s chicken recipe – rosemary garlic chicken!

Happy Gardening!

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