Starting rosemary cuttings , Taking rosemary cuttings , Taking rosemary clones....
Taking cuttings of a favorite rosemary plant is an easy project that all gardeners
can accomplish.Weather used for landscaping , as a food spice, medicinally, or
better yet, a combination of all three, rosemary is a rugged survivor that belongs
in every garden.Rosemary seeds are very difficult to find due to their tendency to
not come true to type (not be like the plant they came from). Rosemary plants can
be obtained from nurseries ect. however, making your own plant for free is much easier
and lets you pick the type of rosemary variety you will end up with.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a fragrant perennial herb with evergreen needle
like leaves. The fragrance is an intense camphor like aroma.Rosemary is technically
a member of the mint family “Lamiaceae” and is native to the Mediterranean region.
Rosemary has been used historically as a medicine to treat gout and to improve memory.
In the Middle Ages rosemary was used in wedding ceremonies and was considered a love
charm. A branch was planted by the newlyweds on their wedding day. If the branch grew
it was considered a good omen. Fortunately, rosemary roots easily and is very tolerant
of adverse growing conditions. Modern uses include landscaping as a drought resistant
plant (very common in Southern California track home landscaping). In the home garden
it makes a colorful evergreen shrub that flowers with small purple to blue flowers in
early spring through summer. Rosemary comes in numerous varieties from trailing ground
covers to upright woody bushes. Flavor intensity and winter hardiness also varies greatly
among different varieties.
(scissors, pruning shears, clippers, ect.) Sharp and clean is most
Rootone: rooting hormone powder that greatly increases success odds. This is optional but
Planting container: This article features the use of a large plastic six pack recycled
from earlier seasons. Use any container you have. Multiple cuttings
could be put in a 1 gallon pot for instance. Your container should
be deep enough so that the cutting has some space below the bottom
of the cutting stem to allow for proper root development. Also
success can be had by just putting the cutting directly in the ground
at your preferred spot, provided that you keep it wet and free of
weeds until it is well rooted. Experiment with this area, rosemary
is a very forgiving plant.
The rosemary plant that you take
your cutting from is referred to
as the mother plant. The mother plant you select for your cuttings is very important.
If you plan on planting it outside at your house then you would want to pick a mother
that thrives in your local environment. The best plan of attack is to find a great
rosemary plant from your area and make this plant your mother. Rosemary varies greatly
in flavor intensity, cold hardiness, growth styles, and coloring. Be selective if you
are looking for a permanent addition to your herb garden.
When it comes to rosemary cuttings
there isn’t really a bad time to
take cuttings. The plant is an evergreen and never goes dormant. It does flower and
this might be the worst time to take cuttings but even cuttings from them have rooted
successfully for me. Other factors that might influence when you take your cuttings
would be the temperature of your area during the time you plan on rooting your cuttings.
Freezing temps won’t work. An out of the way spot in the house during winter or a cold
frame alleviates this problem. A basic rule for all rooting of cuttings is that plant
root faster in warmer temperatures. If it’s a little colder then it will just take a
little longer to root.
Once the mother plant is selected,
take your cutting shears and cut the rosemary
about 6 to 8 inches back from a fresh growing tip. Make your cuttings a little longer
than your finished product to allow for a fresh cut when it comes time to plant the
cuttings. If you have to transport the cuttings or it will be a while until you get
to put the plants in some soil, then you can wrap the stems in a wet paper towel or
leave them in a cup of water.
Gather your planting supplies together
before you start planting
the cuttings. Fill your container with soil. Using a pencil or any other similar sized
object make holes about 3 to 4 inches deep into your soil for your cuttings to be
Take the stem cuttings you took
from the mother and working one at a time strip off
the lower 3 inches of needles from the rosemary stem. This should be about half of
the total length of the cutting. Now make a fresh cut about 1/4 inch above your
original cut. Dip this fresh cut end of the stem into your rooting hormone at a
depth equal to the amount you intend on having underground when planted.
Shake off any excess and plant
the stem into the holes you poked into the soil
previously. Pack the soil around the cutting. Repeat this for each of the cuttings
you intend on taking.
When the cuttings are all planted
water the container
thoroughly and put into your desired spot. The plants at this point would rather
not have bright direct sunlight and will respond better if the soil remains warm.
As the plant develops roots in three to four weeks (sometimes longer) you can move
it into more direct sunlight.
Keep the newly taken cuttings evenly moist for several weeks.
What I mean by evenly moist is not floating in water but also never drying out.
I water these cuttings once a day.
If you live in a very hot or dry environment then you might need
to water the cuttings twice daily. The size of your planting container
will also dictate how fast your soil will dry out.
After four to eight weeks it should
be apparent if the rosemary cuttings
have survived. The ones that didn’t survive will be brown and loosing needles. These
should be pulled so as to avoid affecting the healthy growing plants. Any remaining
cuttings will be green and should be left until they look otherwise. A gentle tug on
the cutting will reveal if the plants have set out roots but this could damage your
tender cuttings’ roots if you are not careful. Give your new plant time to set roots.
Four weeks is a decent bet for the plant to begin setting roots. Don’t be disappointed
if it takes several weeks longer. If the plants aren’t dead you still have a good
chance of success. After you are confident that the cuttings have rooted you can pot
them up into gallon sized pots or put them directly into the ground. Don’t put it
directly in the ground if you still have freezing or frosty conditions coming. A
gallon pot allows you to continue the root development of the plant and ensure that
it is very healthy when you decide to put it into the ground. The soil should be any
potting soil you are familiar with. Rosemary doesn’t seem to have any special soil
requirements. Just get a good bag of potting soil at your local nursery. In a pinch
you could use soil from your yard but you run the danger of introducing pathogens or
bugs to your developing cutting.
Rosemary can be encouraged to grow
bushy and compact by frequent pinching of
the growing tips. If you use the rosemary for a cooking herb you will be keeping the
plant bushy as a result and you will find that the stems are not as woody. Recently
people have been using rosemary in place of skewers for bar-b-qued shish ka bobs. If
this is something you want to try you should let the plant get tall and woody on the
stems. Limit your cutting for this. You cannot over prune your rosemary. As long as
there are some needles left on the plant it will continue to grow. Soon rosemary
outgrows your usage and it will require annual shaping to keep it from getting out
of control or treelike. If you can establish when your rosemary flowers it would be
a good idea to prune directly after flowing completes.
Good luck with this project! We
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