Rosemary cuttings

How to take rosemary cuttings

Find out how to take cuttings from rosemary in our step-by-step guide.

Do it:

May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Takes just:

30 minutes

Rosemary looks good all year and is great for pots, the veg patch and the allotment. It's aromatic leaves can be used in a variety of ways and its flowers are extremely popular with bees.  

Find out all you need to know about growing rosemary in our rosemary Grow Guide.

Rosemary seeds can take a very long time to germinate, so buy young plants, which are widely available, or wait until after flowering and take cuttings.

Early in the day, snip off shoots without flowers and pop them in a plastic bag. Seal it and keep it in a shady spot to prevent wilting until you are ready to root the cuttings.

Here's our step-by-step guide to taking rosemary cuttings.

You will need

  • Rosemary plant (established)
  • Sharp knife or scissors
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • Terracotta pots for rooting in and potting on
  • Compost mix of equal parts potting compost and horticultural grit or perlite/vermiculite
  • John Innes No. 2 compost for potting on

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Snip off shoots of new growth 10-15cm long. To reduce moisture loss, remove most of the lower leaves so you have a clean length of stem.

Use a sharp knife to cut off the base of the stem just below a leaf node - the point from which the leaves grow.

Dip the stem ends in hormone rooting powder to speed up the rooting process.

Rosemary seeds can take a very long time to germinate, so buy young plants or wait until after flowering and take cuttings.

Fill pots with a gritty compost mix. Insert several rosemary cuttings around the edge, or plant individually in seed tray modules.

Water in cuttings from above to settle compost around their stems. Place pots in a cold frame in a sheltered, shaded area, indoors in a propagator or simply cover with a plastic bag to retain the moisure.

After a few weeks, gently invert pots and check for signs of root development. Mist over foliage and ensure the compost stays moist.

Once they have a good root system, tease cuttings apart and pot up individually into a loam-based compost, such as John Innes No. 2.

Keep plants watered and pot them on again as they get larger and the roots fill their container. They should be big enough to plant out in the following spring.

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Watering can

Cutting compost contains few nutrients, so feed the rosemary plants with a dilute solution of fertiliser as soon as roots have formed.

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