Home / Propagate Rosemary / How to propagate rosemary: 2 key tricks

How to propagate rosemary: 2 key tricks

How to propagate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary Propagation Overview:

It is very easy to propagate rosemary, if you know how.  However, my first few blind attempts were total failures.  None the less, if you are aware of two key points/tricks, then you will have no problem.

Rosemary propagation trick#1.

  • Take the clippings from a branch with new growth (green stem).
  • This is typically in the spring, but could be anytime depending on the watering conditions.
Rooting Rosemary

Rooting Rosemary

Rosemary propagation trick #2. 

  • Make short clippings.
  • You want to take a clipping that is about 3 to 5 inches long.  This was totally against my initial “intuition.”  In the past I tried rooting a bigger/longer branch with the assumption being that more plant would mean a faster result.  However, this approach was rather unsuccessful…  (Smaller is better.  Yea, who knew?) .  
  • As it turns out, roots sprout much better from a green stem than from a dark woody one.  In the case of  rosemary, that green part of the stem is found at the last 3 to 5 inches of a branch when it is growing.  Therefore, if you have a shorter branch, you will have more green wood on the cutting.
  • Then you just follow normal rooting procedure.  
  1. Make a short clipping from the end of a branch
  2. Remove about an inch or two of the lowest needle like leaves.
  3. Stick the cut end in clean water, and be sure not to cover the remaining leaves with water
  4. Put the cuttings in bright shade.
  5. Wait a few weeks
  6. That’s it.  


The results of my little rosemary growing experiment.

I cut up long, medium and short stems from a rosemary bush and put them in water. They all went into the water at the same time.  I did not add any supplements to the water such as rooting hormone.  I only used water.

Rosemary propigation results:

  • The smaller stems (with more green wood), had the most roots with a near 100% success rate.  
  • The medium length stems had less roots with about 50% success rate.  
  • The longer stems had the least amount of small roots and about 65% did not root at all.   
Rosemary propagation

Rooting rosemary experiment

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.


  1. I’ve been wanting to propagate some lavender and rosemary this year and came across your great little article. Your cutting experiment was great info. AND then I saw that you are a radiologist/neuroradiologist, and I knew it was a sign that I should follow your advice:) my 4 year old son is in remission from ATRT brain cancer and is the reason I’m obsessed w/gardening now. I want to incorporate as much homegrown goodness into his life after all the chemicals to which he has been exposed to for half his life. After having 38 rounds of IMRT photon radiation to the grapefruit-sized tumor bed (not to mention 2 autologous bone marrow transplants, multiple surgeries, and an ungodly amount of high-dose chemo), he is my favorite little gardening partner. Thank you for helping to save lives like his and for passing on your great gardening info!! Thanks!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Holly

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your moving story about your son’s very rare brain cancer. Your family has undoubtedly been through a tremendous amount of turmoil in this process. However, it is great to hear about the news of the remission. Congratulations; as I am sure you know this is very fortunate. Every day is a gift. It is wonderful to hear that you have a great little gardening buddy to help you with your healthy produce. I hope this can be an important part of the healing process.

      Side thoughts:
      -Although I am not aware of any well controlled scientific studies to support this, I believe in my heart that just the act of gardening has significant therapeutic benefits. However, precautions should be taken if someone is currently on chemotherapy/immunosuppressed and I would recommend a discussion about this with your son’s doctor.

      All the best,

  2. For a couple of years, i have been trying to grow rosemary and often failed then i came across this site. Thank you for these helpful tips. Im off clipping and trying this one out.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the nice note jhoanie
      It sounds like we were in the same boat with the rosemary. However, with a few alterations (mentioned in the article) things have turned around dramatically. Please keep us posted on your success.

  3. Thanks for doing that experiment, I’ve always wondered how length factored in with cuttings. Did you by any chance follow them for a while? I’m curious to know if maybe despite being slower to grow roots initially, the larger ones might have been able to grow faster/bigger than the smaller ones after a season or two?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Dan. Awesome question.
      Unfortunately I didnt follow them specifically after planting. However, I did plant them all in the same area and they are all about the same size now (about 2.5 feet tall). So it seems that the small guys caught up with the taller ones in a short amount of time.

    • It a really has more to do with Juvanility versus adult phases of the plant growth. Juvenile growth is more easily rooted than adult woody growth, also, if you root adult plant material, your rooting will always be in the adult phase. If you root juvenile plant material, your plant will have to go through the juvenile phase, transitional phase and adult phase before being able to flower and reproduce. 🙂

  4. I’ve never tried that method – it looks very visually rewarding with being able to see the root growth. I will definitely try it with the kids for that reason! Love your comments on the therapy of gardening. You will find with propagation that green or softwood cuttings do take a lot quicker than hardwood cuttings. The disadvantage is that the plants will be more vulnerable than those struck from hardwood cuttings. I would use your method at home but if I was intending to plant somewhere the plants wouldn’t get as much attention I would use hardwood cuttings for more hardy plant. If taken in the growing season, hardwood cuttings can be surprisingly quick too. Happy gardening and thanks for sharing!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Donna
      Thanks for the info.
      I have not yet noticed the vulnerability you mentioned; I have not had any issues with any of the plants and they are all growing very well.
      However, I will keep an eye out.

  5. Thanks for the helpful hints.
    I hope I have a good strike rate.

    Toni Favaro
    Dili, Timor Leste

  6. This is the article that I’ve been looking for. Thank you so much for sharing your experiment doc.

    Bantayan Island, Philippines

  7. Would you happen to know how one could root rosemary into the shape of a Christmas tree? I would like to have one about 3-4 feet tall eventually. I see the smaller trees in the garden center, but wonder if is even possible to get rosemary to grow this tall in a similar fashion..

    Thank you.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Great question Cathie

      The Christmas tree looking rosemary plants that you see at the store is the result of trimming and shaping.
      It is basically toparary.
      If you get one of these Christmas tree looking rosemary plants and stop trimming it, the plant will quickly start to grow out of its groomed shape. Before long it will look like a typical rosemary bush.

      The method of rooting rosemary should not matter.
      The key is constant shaping and trimming. Its kindof like bonsai.

      Hope this helps.


      • This is completely false. The Christmas tree look is often very natural, and just happens. I grow thousands of rosemary plants from seed every year, and many take on that shape. i’ve never pruned one of them, and some just have that growth habit.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thanks for the info Chris. I have never seen a rosemary plant naturally growing like a Christmas tree. Cool to hear that they do.

  8. I have always tried to grow lavender in Alabama.
    The lower stems turn black then… Goodbye $7.99one day I decided to plant lavender from seed and save a few bucks Some of the seed got into my pots of succulents. The they flourished. It made sense. The gravel warms up the lower leaves after a rain and in general keeps silo away from the leaves. So I decided to plant a whole herd of lavender. This time though I decided to take thing a bit further. To provide fast drainage. I dug down. 2 ft and put in 5 inches of gravel. The cheapest grey. Then I mixed 50 percent builders sand…very corse grey sand . Do not use play sand. It makes concrete when the soil and it bind. I add this mix 4 inches to the top of the bed. Then I planted the lavender, but I also planted Cleome, tomatoes and some Mexican lavender…all of these plants because of their hairy stems can have issues growing when in moist conditions. Well what a success! The lavender was amazing. It bloomed that summer. Sometimes it won’t even bloom the same year. The tomatoes did fantastic. I had a cherry tomato that great…20 ft! What a revelation. I am going to try this with other plants hairy stems or not.
    Hope some of you try this technique. Can’t wait until spring!!! One more thing. I just found this out but you can buy incredibly I expensive bedding plants both annuals and perennials that are about 2-3 inches. They are called plugs. This is what the growers buy and sell to you at a big markup. Just type in plant plugs. Or plant liners. You will usually have to buy anywhere from 30-50 plants. But what a savings ! I have found these plants do just as well as the 4 or 6 packs and in some instances better . Happy gardening!!!

  9. Extremely useful article! I have been trying to root rosemary from a big plant, and I always trend to try with thick, woody branches! I thought that green stems would never root. Thank you!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks Rosa!
      I did the same thing you mentioned for a while until I stumbled upon this method.
      Rooting from the green stems is the only way to go.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    I’m curious… even though the larger cuttings did not root as well as the small pieces… Wouldn’t it still be a good idea to use the larger pieces? If you have a starter that is 12″ tall and takes 4 months before it gets truly established, that still seems better than having a bunch of little cuttings. Heck, it’s rosemary. Even if you took 30 cuttings and had 50% survival rate you still have many plants. Just curious to your thoughts on that/this. Thanks, Rusty Shackleford

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Rusty
      Great idea. What you have outlined is exactly what I had initially felt would be true as well.
      However, as it turns out, the rooting rate for large woody rosemary branches is very low.
      … and if the larger branches do root, they have much fewer roots.
      This smaller root base results in a slower rate of growth when they are transplanted.

      Overall however, after about a year, all of the cuttings (big and small) result in plants that are about the same size.
      So.. if you start with the small guys you get more plants that end up being about the same size.

  11. Thanks for the information, I have taken some rosemary cuttings from my great aunt who lives in Gurensey, she does hours of gardening each day at the tender age of 93! I am sure that the gardening is what keeps her mentally as well as physically active.

    The little problem that I have is that I live in northern Finland! The summer growth is fantastic from May to September with June/July almost 24 hour daylight, but can you advise what is best method during the long winter to keep plants (rosemary amongst others) alive? I have a warm garage (about 10c during winter) so maybe this will suffice. Or would just keeping some cuttings be the best method indoors. I will try both this year but just wondered if you had any thoughts.

    Many thanks,


    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Andrew

      Great to hear about your gardening aunt who is still going strong at 93.

      That is also an interesting question you bring up.
      Unfortunately for your situation, rosemary is one of those plants that needs year round sunlight.
      I dont think it would be possible to grow rosemary in the ground in Finland.
      Therefore, the only thing I can think of that would work is; have them in containers and bringing them inside using grow lights in the darker months.


  12. how many months i have to wait in order for the rosemary to have their roots,,?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Dennis
      The exact number probably depends on a few factors such as temperature, sunlight, type of cutting wood you are using, etc.
      However, I often see little roots at a week or so and then after about a month I need to start moving them to different containers so the roots dont get too tangled. Transplant time is usually before 2 months.

  13. Hi Dr. Osborne-
    Your article is very helpful. I am an RN who has started travel nursing. On my first assignment, I went to Arizona from North Carolina, and found a huge rosemary bush right outside my apartment. I love rosemary and wanted to bring that bit of my experience home to NC. So I have a large rosemary stem that traveled over 2000 miles with me. 🙂 I really want to make sure it thrives to planting. Thank you for the article!

  14. Very informative! Thanks a lot for sharing. You are very generous. May God bless you more!

  15. Greetings from Serbia. Do you have any comments about taking cuttings in mid Septmber? Do you think they would survive outside after transplanting? As a point of reference, the weather here is probably like sotheastern Pennsylvania. Cheers and thanx for your informative site!

    • Hey Will
      Thanks for the great question.

      Best growing environment for rosemary:
      Rosemary does best in a Mediterranean environment.
      They require full sun (or near full sun) and excellent drainage.
      They don’t like humidity or severe cold.

      Cold tolerance of rosemary:
      Cold hardiness depends on the specific variety of rosemary.
      Upright varieties seem to be hardier than the ones that stick close to the ground (prostrate).
      Less hardy varieties start to see damage at 20F/-7C (or even earlier if in windy area with wet soil).
      More hearty may survive temps -10F/-23C (if your lucky).
      Prolonged cold can kill both even if below the temp limits.

      Growing rosemary in cold climates:
      In colder locations, keep them in pots and overwinter in a sunny south facing windowsill.
      Frost cloth or frost blanket may also help keep them going if in the ground.
      Perhaps hedge your bets and try both techniques.


  16. Jane in Atlanta, Georgia

    I live here in Atlanta, and rosemary will grow anywhere in almost any soiil!!! However, the more sunlight the better.

    As far a rooting it, the larger plants do some much of it on their own, almost any of the bottom branches surrounding the plant will have little long roots trying to get to the soil, if they have not already.

    For me to grow and transplant them, it is a piece of cake. If you have potting soil great, any type of food even better.

    However, here in our climate, you can take rosemary almost in any condition, almost any non-freezing month of the year, poke it in the ground, and several months later it is GROWING with no issues. It must love the Georgia famous red clayish dirt we have here.

    I do water when I first plant, but the weather seems so perfect here for it, I keep it year round in the ground, and it will grow many feet in the first year. It is wonderful for naturally deterring rabbits and deer, as they do not like the smell of it.

    It will grow with huge long branches within a year, and you can use it for herbs, wreaths, or part of any type of flower boquet. It grows like WILD here in Atlanta, I am actually just planting 10 roots to make 10 plants, so I guess I will be a rosemary farmer!!!

  17. I’m just curious as to why the plants don’t drown instead of actually rooting?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Sue
      That is a very good question.

      The process seems to contradict the normal behavior of the rosemary.
      Namely, rosemary is definitely not an aquatic plant… in fact it is prefers dryer conditions than most plants.
      So what gives?

      I do have a theory.

      So rosemary gets into trouble when the soil is constantly waterlogged-wet… which can cause the roots to rot.
      (Fungi do very well in damp-boggy conditions)
      I believe this root rotting is mostly caused by fungal disease, and made worse by other bugs that also like that type of soggy environment.

      However, these same pathogenic fungi/bugs do very poorly in clean water with no organic material.
      Which is basically the conditions you have when you root these little cuttings in water.

      However, that theory does not take into account the whole getting oxygen from air thing.
      Another words, roots/stems stuck in water are not able to breathe the way they would in aerated soil.

      So here is another angle:
      We have all seen plants that have been watered too much start to turn yellow.
      This happens bc the soggy conditions do not allow the roots to get the nutrients they need.
      I believe part of this is actually due to root damage from moisture loving bad guys as discussed above.

      However, part of this is also likely the result of the wet soil being unconducive to sharing its goods.
      In addition, nitrogen in the air is not accessible to water soaked roots they way it is to roots in aerated soil.

      I believe, the little plants draw from their stored nitrogen reserves for a while while they are in the water.
      So the rooting cuttings in water is a limited time thing.

      Some personal observations support this.
      Specifically, if you leave the cuttings in the water too long, they will start to turn yellow.
      This could be a sign that the cuttings have used up their reserves and are not able to replace what has been lost.

      Again, cool question.
      Looking forward to hearing any additional thoughts from anyone with additional theory’s or insights.


  18. Thanks for a great article. We moved into our own home 12 months ago (Bathurst Australia) and our place had several hedges one of which is a rodrosemary hedge 7 meters long and about 1.2 meters wide. My husband has just finished trimming the hedges today and I have about 2 washing baskets full of sprigs. I am trying your method ofpropoergating in water. Crossing my fingers it works butreally have nothing to lose.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Leonie
      Thanks for the note and congrats on your new home.
      Sounds like you have a lot of great rosemary material to experiment with.
      I have had the most success rooting the non-woody branches, so I would at least try to separate or cut branches to root them specifically.
      Woody branches will occasionally root, but not as well.
      Looking forward to hearing about your results/success.

  19. I got a lot new things about rosemary propagation. how ever, can one plant rosemary cuttings directly ti main field?


  20. can we plat rosemary directly to main fields?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Dejene
      Thanks for the question.

      Planting directly into the field is tempting but tenuous.

      Fresh cuttings:
      Planting fresh cuttings in the field without roots will not work.
      Without roots, the fresh-cutting needs lots of water to be supported or they will dry-up and will die.

      Freshly rooted cutting:
      You have a better chance planting directly in the field with with a freshly rooted cutting.

      However, once you have a good root structure, you typically plant it in a container/pot.
      This allows you to closely control the amount of moisture and to grow the new plant in a partly shaded area. This less intense sun location will also be less taxing on the water needs of the establishing plant.
      Once the young plant has established its root structure, you can then move to a full sun, well draining location which they prefer.

      Skipping from bare roots to full sun location has a smaller chance of working but it is more stressful on the plants and you have a greater chance of loosing the cuttings.


      • 10q Tom !!

        can two rosemary varieties be propagated by using one as scion and the other as root stock?


        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hi Dejene
          That is a very interesting question.
          I never considered that possibility before. I am not sure of the answer.

          Why are you asking… What would you like to achieve?

          • I am working at research center , in Ethiopian, and we do have one Rosemary cultivated for herbal yield and other cultivated for essential oil yield. so that, I want to see both planted grown as a plant and want getting herbal and oil yield at one place.

            thank you

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Ok, thanks.
            Sounds like a great idea.

            For your grafting experiment, I would suggest you use soft wood just before it becomes woody.
            I have a feeling that very woody stems would not graft well and very young green stems would wilt.

            Perhaps you could also side graft two different branches that are both still planted.


  21. I purchased an 8 inch rosemary plant back in the spring to grow on my deck over the summer. It didn’t do much over the summer, but remained healthy looking. When it began to get cooler, I decided to bring it inside and keep it alive to use over the winter. When I needed a sprig I would usually cut from the lower branches of the plant close to the main stock. Seemed to be doing o.k. One day I bought a grow light to use to grow some turmeric and also placed the rosemary plant under the light. With the light and the odd bit of tea every once in awhile, it really began to take off. Any unpruned branches now have about an inch of new growth and today I noticed it even has the start of a bloom. How fussy is it about pot size; I haven’t made any attempt to repot it. The plant’s main structure is two longer stems with smallish stocks coming from the bottom– is there any better way to prune the plant for use.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Gail
      Thanks for the note.
      Sounds like you are doing an excellent job taking care of your potted rosemary.

      Container/pot size:
      They are not too fussy about the container size as long as it is proportional to the size of the plant. So, yea, they will get root bound.
      A good indicator that it is time to put in a bigger container is when you see lots of roots popping out of the bottom of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.

      You can prune this plant any way you like. I have seen rosemary pruned into all kinds of orientations, including topariary animal shapes. Tight pruning may also (potentially) extend the time needed to re-pot.


  22. The town of Acciaroli in the Campania region of Italy ( on the south east coast ) has the highest proportion of centenarians in the world. Scientists suspect that this is due to the Mediterranean diet, daily excercise and liberal use of rosemary. It seems that Rosemary is used in just about everything in their diet.
    Well worth researching on the Internet. A scientific study is soon to be done into many aspects of these people’s diet and lifestyles.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks R2
      I knew about the longevity in that region but was not aware of the correlation with rosemary.
      Very interesting.

  23. Normally I grew Rosemary inside cinder block. In fall I would cut all branches and cover the block with another rock. After the last snow I just uncovered the the top and new branches would sprout out. This was a first winter that the plant died on me.
    So I am starting with 2 new cuttings in the water.

  24. I bought a rosemary plant from the greenhouse this spring. It looks like a small Christmas tree about 2 feet tall. It was beautiful and healthy when I got it and placed it in a sunny window. Now one side is brown. I placed it outside in less intense sunlight but not sure that it is getting better. Please help!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Teressa
      Thanks for the note.
      I am guessing that the brown side of your Rosemary is the window-facing side of the plant.
      If so, then it likely got fried by the “green house” effect of being so close to the window.
      If the needles are brown and brittle, then they are gone. Hard to know if the associated branches are also dead. If they are brittle and dry then that branch is dead. If not, you have a chance.
      You can cut back a branch little bit at a time until you see a thin line of green just under the surface of the bark. This is the cambium. When this layer is green, it means the branch is still alive.
      Hope this helps,

  25. Hi Dr Tom,thanks for your great article about Rosemary propagation tricks.

    I have just done that by taking about 30 cuttings.

    I have also done this for mint

    I wonder whether the same principal can be applied for lavender too?

    Would you mind give your thoughts on please.

    Also I came to know that honey is a good rooting material for the cuttings .i have been very successful in hydrangea and Bristol ruby plants cuttings.

    I am very interested in creating new plants from the cuttings . The new plants gives me tremendous happy feelings.

    Thanks you very much.☺️

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Vic

      Thanks for the note, I know how you feel about new plants giving you that “happy feeling”

      I have not personally tried to propagate lavender the same way (yet). However, I would expect the same principles to apply. Please let us know if you have any success.

      I have found mint to be very easy to propagate and you dont have to follow all the same rules about the length and age of the cutting. Just snip and drop in water.

      I have also heard that honey is good for cuttings. However, when I did an experiment on propagating geranium, it didnt seem to help as all. (see articleSearch geranium The best way to propagate geraniums).


      • Hi Dr Osborne,

        further to your advice , I am delighted to let you know that all my rosemary cuttings I took from my mother plants on the 31st July 2016 has now started to shoot its white roots as from 25th Aug 2016.

        I wish to endorse your trick . it has really worked .

        thanks very much.



  26. Shazly Bari sarah

    Ive tried growing rosemarry from seeds several times and failed….being dr myself i dont get much time to spend in my garden… But after going through this blog ill try this method…

  27. Can you just plant the cuttungs into the ground? I did not know about rooting in water first. Thanks.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Sherie
      Sticking cuttings into the ground has not been a successful method for me.
      Even with root hormone and damp soil.
      Growing from cuttings is really the way to go.

      However, most of my rosemary plants in the yard naturally grow clones of itself when branches touch the ground and start to grow roots. Once the roots are robust enough you can cut branches and separate to make new plants.

      Good luck.

  28. Do you have experience with rosemary stem that have leaves covered in water?

    I have 2 rosemary stems that I’m trying to grow the roots in water.
    The first one I noticed the roots very fast. The second one I didn’t notice anything. Then I saw that the second stem have leaves covered in water so I pulled the leaves out. Now I start to see root on the second stem.

    Out of curiosity I just want to know that If I have leaves covered in water will it make roots not grown at all. Or is it just a coincidence that the roots start to grow when I decided to pull the submerged leaves out.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Pawit
      I have noticed the same thing.
      Leaving the leaves on seems to inhibit root growth… or pulling them off stimulates root growth (one or the other).
      I have also noticed that submerging the leaves often causes them to die-rot that fowls up the water and can make the whole process go bad.
      Bottom line, (as you have observed yourself), pull off the leaves from the stem part that is going in the water.

  29. Hello, I started propagating rosemary sprigs I got from a supermarket, and used the green stems. But after a couple of days, I noticed the stems were darkening, and some of the leaves were turning black… Do the cuttings need sunlight or can I leave them beside a closed window for weak sunlight?


    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Shawn
      Thats interesting.

      I have not tried rooting plants in low light, but yea, I would think that brighter light would be more useful. That being said, direct-intense sunlight may actually be harmful for cuttings. Its a balance.

      However, I suspect that at least part of the issue may also be related to how long the cuttings had to wait to be put in the water.
      In your example, if you got the cuttings from the grocery store, they might have already been in the dying and dehydration process because they were cut some time before you picked them up. The shipping process may have also added undue stress to the stems.
      Best option would be to put the stems directly in fresh clean water right after they were cut from the plant.

      • Oh…. hmm… I suppose I should get a plant from a shop, let it mature first and get a cutting off it then! Hopefully I will be more successful that way. Thanks! Will definitely try it again

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Sure Shawn
          Depending on where you live…
          Another option is to go to a friends home that has rosemary growing in the yard and just take some free cuttings.

  30. Hi! Frequently I buy a cute, healthy little rosemary plant in the spring. It flourishes on the deck all summer and then I drag this huge plant into the den for the winter (southern IA). It drops leaves all over and I silently curse myself as I clean up every week. Finally I brought in the loppers and trimmed some bottom branches off this bush. Reading your cutting suggestion!!! I tried taking the tender, young tips for rooting. Have used a rooting hormone in the past (which did not seem to help the rosemary), but you simply use clean water. I cannot wait to see roots, as my other “rooting” trials have failed.
    Hope blooms as spring, too, will eventually arrive. Thanks for giving out Rosemary hopefulness.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey PJ
      I know what your talking about.
      Good luck and try a nice sunny south facing window with moderate temps.
      Good luck!

  31. Just so you know: this post is still helping people! Couldn’t figure out why my cuttings weren’t rooting. Thank you!

  32. Hi There!
    I came across this article while searching for my daughter’s wedding. You see, we have purchased these small “Ball” type jars as wedding favors for the guests. There will be about 300 guests at this wedding, so filling these jars with candy or something like that could be costly. Then we thought about filling them with dirt and giving a package of seeds as the gift. Then we went one further, and ironically, we are putting a fresh rosemary sprig on top of everyone’s napkin. I told my daughter if we give them directions, maybe they can take the rosemary sprig, which was just going to be for decoration, and recycle it by rooting it and planting it in the little jar we give them. We are purchasing the sprigs from a food supplier who supplies high end restaurants with the herbs. She confirmed with me that the herbs are cut about 48 hours before shipping, and they only ship next day air, which means I will be getting them 72 hours after cutting them. The wedding will be two days after that. I’m hoping that these fresh sprigs will be able to be rooted by the guests when they are around 5 days after being harvested. I of course will keep them in the refrigerator until we put them out the day of the wedding. If we give the guests directions as you have here, and tell them to clip the bottom of the sprig (which the supplier said the sprigs are between 6-8 inches), they should be able to cut your suggested 3-4 inches off the top and hopefully the stem will be green still up towards the top. Do you think this will work? Just looking for your advice on if we will still be able to root them after being cut 5 days earlier. Thanks for your help!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Deb
      A plant is a wonderful idea for a wedding guest take-home gift.

      However, I have not tried rooting rosemary for that long after it has been cut.
      I suspect that the success rate would be low.
      In addition, the rosemary branches you get will likely be woody (and not the the optimal green for rooting). No problem for a table centerpiece, but not good for rooting. This “woody-ness” is a major pitfall to rooting rosemary even in otherwise optimal conditions.

      Another major issue is that your guests have to keep the rosemary fresh and hydrated on the way home from the wedding.
      That is a challenge.
      Although I like the overall idea.. it seems like there are some obstacles to contend with.

      If I may suggest another option:

      Give some seeds to your guest.
      There is so much exciting potential in a seed, much like a marriage.

      You can do this in a way that is very custom, personal, efficient, and economical.
      I have done something similar… really cool.

      Here is what I have done that works pretty awesome.

      1. Get some small envelopes such as these (2.25 x 3.35 inch box of 500). Or, of course you can go with a bigger envelope that is more typical of a standard seed envelope.

      2. Create/order a custom self inking stamp. You can even add in a custom logo or personalized design on the stamp. Suggest add the name of seeds somewhere on the stamp so you dont have to write it down on all the envelopes. Of course, at this price you could get 2 different stamps with different info to be stamped on each side of the envelope too.
      This stamp is the best I found to fit on the smaller envelope (I suggest you confirm sizes and your design to be sure it will all line up on the envelope). Anyhow, really awesome quality stamp, great company, and totally customizeable. The company is very helpful with the design if you need/want.

      If you want more info on the envelope with a more detailed/personalized tribute to the guests/bride & groom, etc… then you will need the larger envelopes for more room and a larger stamp. I have not personally used this stamp but it looks pretty good for a different shape or larger areas.

      3. Order your favorite, beautiful flower seeds (or whatever) in bulk.

      4. Stamp the envelopes with your special note, and fill with a pinch of your beautiful seeds.


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