How To Plant Rosemary From Cuttings [ Full Guide ]

Rosemary is a fragrant and flavorful herb that adds a delightful touch to various culinary dishes, and its bright blue flowers offer a lovely ornamental addition to any garden. While rosemary can be grown from seeds, it is more commonly propagated from cuttings to preserve the characteristics of the parent plant. Taking cuttings from an existing rosemary plant and propagating them is an effective, simple, and inexpensive way to create new rosemary plants. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of planting rosemary from cuttings, ensuring that you have all the knowledge and tools necessary to successfully propagate and cultivate this versatile herb in your garden.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Rosemary From Cuttings

  • Select a healthy, mature rosemary plant for taking cuttings.
  • Take 4 to 6-inch cuttings from non-flowering, healthy branches in the morning.
  • Strip the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting.
  • Prepare the rooting medium with a blend of potting mix and perlite or sand.
  • Dip the cutting in a rooting hormone and plant it in the prepared soil mix.
  • Provide adequate moisture and warmth while allowing for good air circulation.
  • Monitor the cutting for roots to develop before transplanting to a larger container or garden bed.

Selecting And Preparing The Cuttings

When seeking to propagate rosemary from cuttings, the first step is to select a healthy and mature rosemary plant from which to take the cuttings. Look for a plant that exhibits vigorous growth, vibrant foliage, and is free from any signs of disease or pest infestation. It is important to choose a non-flowering branch for cutting, as flowering can reduce the success rate of propagation. Selecting branch cuttings that are 4 to 6 inches in length, taken from the top of the plant, is typically ideal for propagation.

The chosen branches should be trimmed using clean, sharp pruners to avoid crushing or tearing the stems. It is essential to make a clean cut at a 45-degree angle just below a node, ensuring that the cutting has the potential for new root growth. After obtaining the cuttings, remove the lower leaves from the stem to expose the nodes where the roots will emerge.

Timing Of The Cuttings

The timing of when to take the cuttings is crucial to the success of propagation. The best time to take rosemary cuttings is during the spring or early summer months when the plant is actively growing. This ensures that the rosemary plant is at its peak for root formation, allowing the cuttings to establish themselves more effectively.

Avoid taking cuttings during extreme temperatures or when the plant is under stress due to drought or excessive moisture. The morning is often the best time to take cuttings, as the plants are usually well-hydrated from the overnight moisture and have not been subjected to the heat of the day.

Techniques For Making Clean Cuts

When taking cuttings from a rosemary plant, it is important to use the correct techniques to ensure optimal success in propagation. Clean, sharp pruners are essential to avoid causing damage to the plant material. To make a clean cut, take the following steps:

  1. Prepare the Pruners: Before making the cuttings, sterilize the pruners with rubbing alcohol or a diluted bleach solution. This sterilization step is crucial for preventing the transmission of diseases between plants.

  2. Select the Branch: Identify healthy, non-flowering branches that are at least 4 to 6 inches in length. This length provides sufficient material for root formation.

  3. Positioning for Cutting: Position the pruners at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node. This angle encourages water runoff, reducing the likelihood of rot.

  4. Quick and Clean Cut: With a swift and clean motion, make the cut just below the node, ensuring that there is no crushing or tearing of the stem.

Following these techniques for making clean cuts enhances the chances of successful propagation and root formation in the rosemary cuttings.

Cleaning And Sanitizing The Equipment

Before making the cuttings, it is essential to ensure that all equipment, including pruners and any other tools used during the propagation process, is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. This process helps prevent the spread of diseases and pathogens that could potentially harm the cuttings and the parent plant. To clean and sanitize the equipment:

  1. Use Rubbing Alcohol: Wipe the cutting tools with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol to eliminate any potential pathogens that could be transferred to the cuttings.

  2. Diluted Bleach Solution: Alternatively, immerse the tools in a diluted bleach solution for a few minutes, then rinse them with clean water and allow them to air dry before use.

By maintaining clean and sanitized tools, you can safeguard the health of the rosemary cuttings and their successful development.

Propagating rosemary from cuttings is an efficient and rewarding way to expand your garden and ensure a consistent supply of this delightful herb. By selecting and preparing the right cuttings, timing the process appropriately, using proper cutting techniques, and maintaining clean equipment, you can increase your chances of successful propagation. Once the cuttings have been prepared, the next step is to immerse them in a rooting hormone and plant them in a suitable growth medium. Providing the ideal environmental conditions and care allows the cuttings to develop roots before being transplanted into a larger container or outdoor garden bed. With patience and diligence, you can be rewarded with healthy, vibrant rosemary plants that will thrive in your garden for years to come.

Choosing The Right Soil Mix

Rosemary is a popular herb known for its fragrant leaves and culinary uses. It is an evergreen perennial plant that can be grown from seeds, but propagating rosemary from cuttings is a popular and effective method.

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Before planting your rosemary cuttings, it is crucial to choose the right soil mix. Rosemary prefers well-draining soil to prevent root rot. A suitable soil mix for growing rosemary can be prepared by combining equal parts of potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand. This mixture ensures good drainage and aeration while retaining enough moisture.

To make the soil mix, start by selecting high-quality potting soil that is rich in organic matter. Perlite helps improve drainage by preventing the soil from becoming compacted. Coarse sand also aids in drainage and prevents waterlogging. Mixing these ingredients together creates a soil mix that will provide optimal conditions for rooting the rosemary cuttings.

Preparing The Soil For Planting

Once you have prepared the soil mix, you need to prepare the planting area for the rosemary cuttings. Follow these steps to ensure an ideal environment for successful rooting:

  1. Select a suitable container: Choose a container that is at least 6-8 inches deep and has drainage holes at the bottom. This ensures proper drainage and prevents water from accumulating, which can lead to root rot.

  2. Fill the container with the soil mix: Fill the container with the soil mix, leaving a few inches of space at the top to prevent overflow when watering.

  3. Make holes for the cuttings: Use your finger or a pencil to create holes in the soil mix. The holes should be deep enough to accommodate the length of the cuttings. Space the holes approximately 3-4 inches apart to allow enough room for the roots to develop.

  4. Take the cuttings: Select healthy rosemary stems for cuttings. Choose stems that are at least 4-6 inches long and have a few sets of leaves. Make a clean cut just below a node, which is where the leaves emerge from the stem. Remove any lower leaves from the cutting, leaving only a few leaves at the top.

  5. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone (optional): While it is not necessary, dipping the cuttings in a rooting hormone can increase the chances of successful rooting. Rooting hormones contain auxins, which stimulate root growth. Follow the instructions on the rooting hormone package for proper usage.

  6. Plant the cuttings: Insert the cuttings into the prepared holes in the soil mix, gently pressing the soil around them to secure them in place. Ensure that at least one set of leaves is above the soil surface, as this is where new growth will occur. Firmly press the soil around the stem to provide support.

Watering And Fertilizing The Cuttings

Proper watering and fertilization are essential for the successful establishment of rosemary cuttings. Follow these guidelines to ensure the best conditions for growth:

Watering The Cuttings

After planting the cuttings, water them thoroughly to settle the soil and provide moisture. Be careful not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Water the cuttings whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. It is essential to maintain consistently moist soil without waterlogged conditions.

A watering can with a narrow spout or a misting spray bottle can be used to water the cuttings gently. Water should be applied at the base of the cuttings, avoiding the leaves to prevent fungal diseases. Over time, as the cuttings root and establish themselves, the frequency of watering can be gradually reduced.

Fertilizing The Cuttings

Rosemary cuttings do not require heavy fertilization initially. Fertilizing too soon can stress the young plants and inhibit root development. Wait at least 8-10 weeks after planting before applying fertilizer.

When it is time to fertilize, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K). Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for proper dilution and application rates. Apply the fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

Avoid overfertilizing, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth and reduce the plant’s essential oils and flavor. Always water the cuttings before applying fertilizer to prevent root burn.

Providing Adequate Sunlight

Rosemary is a sun-loving herb and requires at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. Place the container of rosemary cuttings in a location where it can receive ample sunlight. A southern-facing windowsill or a spot in your garden with full sun exposure is ideal.

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If you are growing rosemary indoors, you may need to supplement natural sunlight with artificial grow lights. Position the lights 4-6 inches above the plants and provide them with 12-16 hours of light per day. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent overheating and discourage fungal diseases.

If growing rosemary outdoors, ensure that the container is placed in a sunny location away from shade-producing structures, such as buildings or trees. Regularly rotate the container to ensure even growth as the sun’s position changes throughout the day.

Growing rosemary from cuttings is a rewarding and cost-effective way to propagate this versatile herb. By selecting the right soil mix, preparing the planting area, watering and fertilizing properly, and providing adequate sunlight, you can successfully establish rosemary cuttings and enjoy a bountiful harvest of fragrant leaves for use in cooking, herbal remedies, and more. With a little patience and care, you will be able to enjoy the beauty and benefits of rosemary in your garden or home.

Maintaining Humidity Levels

Rosemary is a popular herb known for its fragrant aroma and culinary uses. It adds a delightful flavor to a wide range of dishes and is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. While rosemary can be grown from seeds, propagating it from cuttings is a faster and more reliable method.

Before you start taking rosemary cuttings, it is important to create the right environment to encourage root growth. Rosemary cuttings require high humidity levels to root successfully. Here are a few methods to help you maintain the required humidity levels:

  1. Mist the cuttings: Use a spray bottle filled with water to mist the cuttings regularly. This will keep the leaves hydrated and create a humid environment around the cuttings. Be careful not to over-mist, as excessive moisture can lead to fungal diseases.

  2. Use a humidity dome: A humidity dome is a clear plastic cover that fits over the container holding the cuttings. It helps to trap moisture and maintain humidity levels around the cuttings. If you don’t have a humidity dome, you can use a clear plastic bag instead, just ensure it doesn’t touch the leaves.

  3. Place cuttings in a greenhouse or a propagator: If you have access to a greenhouse or a propagator, it will provide the ideal conditions for rooting rosemary cuttings. These structures trap warmth and moisture, creating a microclimate conducive to the growth of the cuttings.

By following these methods, you can create the right environment for rosemary cuttings to root successfully.

Transplanting The Rosemary Cuttings

Once the rosemary cuttings have developed roots, it is time to transplant them into individual pots or a well-prepared garden bed. Follow these steps to ensure a successful transplant:

  1. Prepare the planting medium: Rosemary prefers well-draining soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Mix equal parts of potting soil and perlite or sand to create a lightweight and well-draining planting medium. This will prevent waterlogging and promote healthy root growth.

  2. Choose the right containers: If you are transplanting the cuttings into individual pots, select containers that are at least 4-6 inches deep. Ensure the pots have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. If you are planting them directly in the garden bed, ensure the soil has been prepared with organic matter and is well-draining.

  3. Dig holes for the cuttings: If planting in individual pots, dig holes in the center of each pot that are deep enough to accommodate the root ball of the cuttings. If planting in a garden bed, dig holes that are slightly larger than the root ball.

  4. Remove the cuttings from the rooting medium: Gently remove the rosemary cuttings from the rooting medium, being careful not to damage the delicate roots. If the roots are tightly wound, gently loosen them with your fingers to encourage outward growth.

  5. Place the cuttings in the holes: Carefully place each cutting in a hole, ensuring that the roots are spread out and not cramped. Make sure the top of the root ball is level with the surface of the soil. Fill the hole with the prepared planting medium, gently firming it around the cutting.

  6. Water the newly transplanted cuttings: After planting, water the cuttings thoroughly to settle the soil and provide hydration to the plant. Ensure the water reaches the roots and not just the surface soil. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

Caring For The Newly Planted Rosemary

Once the rosemary cuttings are transplanted, it is crucial to provide proper care to ensure their growth and development. Here are some essential care tips for newly planted rosemary:

  1. Watering: Rosemary prefers slightly dry conditions, so be careful not to overwater. Wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering again. Water deeply, allowing the water to reach the root zone. Make sure the water drains properly to avoid waterlogging.

  2. Sunlight: Rosemary thrives in full sun, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Place the newly planted rosemary in a location that receives ample sunlight. If growing indoors, place it near a south-facing window or provide supplemental grow lights.

  3. Fertilization: Rosemary is a low-maintenance herb that does not require heavy fertilization. However, you can apply a balanced organic fertilizer once every few months to provide essential nutrients. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizers, as they can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flavor.

  4. Pruning: Regular pruning promotes bushier growth and prevents legginess in rosemary plants. You can start pruning once the rosemary reaches a height of around 6 inches. Trim the top one-third of the plant to encourage branching and denser foliage.

  5. Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the rosemary plants helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Use straw, shredded leaves, or compost as mulch, spreading it evenly around the plants, but avoid mulching too close to the stem.

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Troubleshooting Common Problems

While rosemary is a relatively easy herb to grow, it can encounter a few problems along the way. Here are some common problems associated with rosemary and their solutions:

  1. Root rot: Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot in rosemary plants. To prevent this, ensure proper soil drainage and avoid waterlogging. Water the plants sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering. If root rot occurs, try to salvage the plant by replanting in well-draining soil.

  2. Powdery mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as a powdery white coating on the leaves. It is caused by high humidity and poor air circulation. To prevent powdery mildew, ensure good airflow around the plants by spacing them adequately. Avoid overwatering and remove any infected leaves promptly. Apply a fungicide if necessary.

  3. Aphids: Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can infest rosemary plants. They can cause stunted growth and deformities in the plant. To control them, regularly inspect the plants for infestations and remove aphids by hand or use a strong spray of water to dislodge them. Alternatively, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to deter aphids.

  4. Winter damage: Rosemary is a tender perennial that can be damaged by frost and cold temperatures. If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider growing rosemary in containers that can be brought indoors during the colder months. Alternatively, you can protect the plants by covering them with frost blankets or straw.


Planting rosemary from cuttings is an excellent way to propagate this versatile herb. By following the steps outlined above and providing the right conditions, you can successfully start a new batch of rosemary plants. Remember to maintain high humidity levels during the rooting process, transplant the cuttings carefully, and provide proper care to the newly planted rosemary. With proper attention and care, you can enjoy a bountiful supply of fresh rosemary for culinary use throughout the year.


What Is The Best Time Of Year To Take Rosemary Cuttings?

The best time to take rosemary cuttings is in the late summer to early fall when the plant is actively growing and the weather is warm. This will ensure the highest success rate for rooting.

How To Prepare The Cuttings For Planting?

The first step in preparing your rosemary cuttings is to remove the larger leaves at the bottom of the cutting. Then, make a clean cut just below a leaf joint. This is where the roots will form. You can also dip the cut end in rooting hormone to encourage faster root growth.

What Kind Of Potting Mix Is Recommended For Rooting Rosemary Cuttings?

A light, well-draining soil mix is best for rooting rosemary cuttings. A mix of potting soil, perlite, and vermiculite is ideal. You can also add a small amount of sand to improve drainage.

How Often Should I Water My Rosemary Cuttings?

It is important to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Water your rosemary cuttings when the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry. Watering once or twice a week should be sufficient.

How Long Does It Take For Rosemary Cuttings To Root?

Rosemary cuttings can take 2-3 weeks to develop roots. However, it is important to be patient as some cuttings may take longer to root. Once the cuttings have developed a strong root system, you can transplant them into larger pots or directly into your garden.