The rosemary is a vigorous shrub – its aromatic scent and lush green foliage is a favorite for everyone. The small blue flowers are always a delight. It prefers rocky, poor soil – I have a group of rosemary mothers tucked on a hot, rocky slope and they are doing better than the rosemary I planted in cultivated beds. Doesn’t need much fertilizer. Once established, the plant can take or leave watering. And my Sicilian Nana grew it in her backyard!
We just propagated 500 Rosmarinus Officinalis, your common rosemary, more to clean up the mothers than for production, but every little bit helps – and in this case, a little bit may be all we get. We usually propagate rosemary in the early fall or in the spring and summer. But, this winter we tried anyway. Unfortunately, our propagation environment failed us. Our hot table broke down; we had a cold snap and the soil media got a little too wet… so we lost several dozen starts – mold and stalk rot. More air circulation might have saved them – we will see; we have a fan on them now.
Propagation isn’t that hard, but you do need to get it right. Nothing wrong with being stubborn, but don’t be discouraged if your timing was off. And timing may have been the problem. During the late summer, I started several trays of Rosmarinus Officinalis in the shade house. They did quite well with a minimum of care. Bear in mind that different varietals may have different propagation requirements. Rosmarinus “Gorizia” may be more of a challenge than the “Officinalis”.
Let’s go over the rosemary propagation techniques and supplies you need for success.
– You will need a small pair of garden nippers, a sharp knife and razor blades. Any container will work, but six-packs are convenient.
– Acquire some rooting compound – I use KLN but Rootone is fine.
– Make your potting mix from half peat and half perlite – you want it lite and airy. You also want it moist, not wet.
– Your work space should be well lighted, but not in direct sun. Provide enough room for a small cutting board.
– Select disease-free stock. Take the fresh young growth (stem-tips) but take cuts that are only 2″ to 3″ long. Young plant material is best, it roots better. Keep these stem-tips cool.
– Take the stem-tips to your workbench. Fill the containers with your potting mix and moisten.
– Remove the lower needles from each stem-tip cut. Slice the lower end of the stem-tip with a diagonal cut – nice & clean
– Dip the stem-tip in the rooting hormone for a few moments.
– Stick each stem-tip into the potting mix.
– Provide a cool (65 70 F) and shady environment. Get a fan going for air circulation. Don’t let them dry out, but if they get too wet, they will rot (better not use a dome cover).
– In six to eight weeks, sometimes sooner, they will root. Give them plenty of time to fill their container before you pot up. Once rooted and going they like sun. They are a very attractive potted plant on the deck or patio.