Propagating and Growing Rosemary from cuttings – HOWTO

Flowers have been enjoying the popularity with people since ever. Partly because they are beautiful to look at , also they have a mind blowing fragrance.  Fragrance is not just limited to flowers, there are plants whose leaves have amazing aroma. Introducing Aromatic plants. Aromatic Plants are those that produce compounds that have an aroma/fragrance. They are mostly used as a aromatic agent (as a flavor) or for their medicinal value.

Many aromatic plants are in use in our everyday life. Mint, Coriander, Curry leaves, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme etc. We are gonna be covering lots of culinary herbs. Their propagation and growing ofcourse. In this post we are going to focus on Rosemary and how to propagate and grow it. Shall we?


Rosemary is a perennial herb plant with beautiful flowers. The leaves are needle like and exude an aroma when pressed. Rosemary belongs to the same family as Mint. No wonder they smell awesome.  Rosemary is a perennial plant which means, you plant it once and it thrives in your garden for ever. It forms a nice bush and sends out lots of branches if you keep pinching them.It can add a nice texture to your garden. Besides aromatic leaves, rosemary also has beautiful flowers. Another interesting fact about Rosemary is its tolerance to drought. This plant is very hardy and handle drought very well. So don’t pamper it with too much water. Keep it dry and water  only when it dries out.

Growing Rosemary from cuttings

Rosemary Cutting


Propagation of Rosemary

Rosemary can be propagated by seeds and by stem cuttings.

From seeds

Rosemary seeds are slow to germinate so if you are the impatient kind, stay away from rosemary. It takes somewhere between 20-30 days to germinate. Sometimes faster . The germination rate is also not great. So sow little more than what you plan to grow. When the plants do germinate, take care of them by putting them in a  loose well drained mix . Rosemary hates lots of water and very cold weather. The growth rate of rosemary from seeds is very slow, by the time you harvest the leaves the first time, it will be almost an year. Nevertheless growing from seed is fun.

From Stem Cuttings:

Propagating a plant from cuttings is always fun. With a little bit of patience and good inputs needed for cutting, one can always achieve almost 100% success. Rosemary is very easy to propagate from cuttings.  Here are the list of items you need to do a propagation from cuttings

  • Healthy Rosemary mother plant
  • Rooting Hormone
  • Sharp knife/scissors
  • Potting soil
  • Small cups/Propagation Trays
  • Water.

We will cover the above steps one by one.


Choosing the rosemary cutting:

Choose a healthy mother plant that is free from diseases etc. Take few stem tip cuttings like the one in the picture below. Take out the last pair of leaves from the bottom of the stem. Ensure that there is a node at the step tip. Roots start from the leaf node.  You can see there is a node (where leave joins the stem) at the end of every stem.


Growing Rosemary from cuttings

Rosemary cuttings


 Rooting Hormone:

Rooting hormone is a substance that encourages root formation in cuttings. It is naturally occuring in plants. It is also synthetically produced for propagation purposes. Indole -3-Butyric Acid is a rooting promoting hormone. There are several products in the market. This time I used a product called “Rootomax”. It is a mix of IBA and Humic Acid.

Growing Rosemary from cuttings



Potting soil

For propagating cuttings, all you need is a sterile mix that drains well. There is no need for any fertilizer at all. However a dash of compost wont hurt. The following are good candidates for propagating cuttings. Cocopeat, Perlite, Vermiculite, Sand, Cocohusk or even regular soil.

Take good a container and fill it with potting media up to an inch or two from the top.Ensure the mix is draining well and also the container you have taken has a drainage hole. Water should not be stagnant in the container at all.

Growing Rosemary from cuttings



Now take the cutting and dip the end in the rooting hormone.  Ensure the bottom node is properly covered with the hormone powder. Then you can stick it in the potting mix.  Once you have stuck all the cuttings, give it a nice watering. The right time to do this is either in the evening or morning.

Remember the cover it up and form a dome to keep the humidity in. Covering with a dome is required with most of the plants. This saves from the plant from dehydrating and keeps it fresh. Rosemary is a little bit different. Since it hates lots of moisture, you may want to remove the cover after a week or so. Just don’t keep it in the hot sun since that will make the plants wilt. After, say a week or two later, you can remove the cover. Keep an eye on the cuttings every day and watch  for any rotting or browning of leaves.


Growing Rosemary from cuttings

Propagation Dome


The cuttings should root approximately in 2-3 weeks. In winters, the rooting may take a little more time than summer.Patience is the key. Just check for roots coming out of the bottom of the cup. If you had used a pot or something like that, gently pull the stem and if the plant offers resistance then it has roots! Yay!

If everything goes well, you will get this

Growing Rosemary from cuttings

Rooted Rosemary cutting

Growing Rosemary from cuttings

Rooted Rosemary


Now that the cutting has rooted, all you need to do is find a home for the cutting and pot it up. Next time you visit your garden, don’t forget to take a pinch of rosemary leaf and enjoy the aroma!..

What herb should we post about next? Sage? Thyme? Got a suggestion ?


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17 Responses

  1. Hi GG,
    Long time no post and what a coincidence, I tried the rooting rosemary from cuttings and it worked. Only I did not have access to a healthy mother plant, I used rosemary bought from reliance fresh and used the thickest pieces. similar to mint (pudina)
    As usual, a good informative post

    • Hi Chitra,

      Using store bought rosemary for cutting is a very good suggestion. I will update the post. I got extremely busy with the setting up of the store and now I am relatively ok. So its posts time.

      Thanks and happy gardening.

  2. GG,

    Now that you are relatively OK, how about getting busy with the online store for poor souls like me who do not stay in Banglore?


  3. hello gg,

    this post came after a long time but was wellworth.i have 2 queries regarding propagating rosemary.1]will rosemary brought from supermarket do?[already answered above] 1] is rooting hormone essential? i have heard that honey and willow bark are natural rooting hormones.can i try honey?

  4. Very timely post! I have both seeds and the plant and was planning to propagate. One month for seeds?.. hmmm dont think am so patient!! Yes I’d appreciate some tips for thyme and marjoram. I saved my sage thanks to you. It was suffering from root rot and you had suggested that I take cuttings from the healthy parts and propagate. Very successful!! I do owe you one for that.

  5. Hey, where do you get the rooting mix in Bangalore.. I would also like to know where you get stuff like peat moss and good seeds to start a garden. I have tried a whole loy of seeds from various companies and they just don’t work.

  6. GG, i have heard and read somewhere that chillies/Bell peppers can be propagated by cuttings too. May be you can try and post this as the next post.

  7. Hi GG,

    I tried finding Rootmax in Bangalore and not finding it ,Where can I find one ? Its not listed on your online store 🙁

  8. Hi,
    I have been struggling with Rosemary but now I realise it’s due to excess moisture..will remedy that…

    Suggestion: Pls put tog something on growing herbs in India: Since you already have rosemary, pls consider including, thyme, sage, marjoram, parsley celery etc…Have been wanting to grow a herb garden but not found any tips that would suit the Indian context…

    Thanks in anticipation,

  9. can you send me cutting of rosemary and lavender in courier i live in india
    i want grow it but seeds will take time so if possible send me courier

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