Growing Rosemary

Rosemary is an herb that is a royal treat to have in your garden. It appeals to all of senses from its evergreen quality to its unmistakable fragrance as you brush by its branches. A beautiful plant that has its place in every landscape. I love mine. And it started from a cutting I was given at our Master Gardener demonstration garden called, Heritage Garden.

Something you may not realize about rosemary is that it is fairly easy to start from a cutting. From just a  few of these you can have more rosemary for your own garden, some to share with friends or give away as gifts.

I have the shrub-like variety known as Rosmarinus officinalis  It grows to a height of up 48" with a width of nearly the same. It is hardy for zones 7a-10b. Like most herbs, it prefers a drier well-drained soil.  Rosemary that grew the largest at my house is planted on the south facing side of the house, where it gets plenty of sun.

Rosemary can be started by both seeds and cuttings, but cuttings have a higher rate of success and  grow much faster.

Here is how to do it to propagate rosemary from cuttings:

1. Cut branches from rosemary that are either semi-hardwood or softwood.  (See the brown and white stems of each?)

2. Cut pieces about 5 inches long, stripping leaves off bottom 2/3

3. Plant cuttings in a seed starter mix. Moisten. Mist and water as needed after that.  In 2-3 weeks you should be able to gently tug the plant to see if roots are developing. Allow to grow to a nice size in the pots before transplanting. 

Rosemary can even be started in water if placed in a sunny window. Watch for roots to develop and then transfer to small container with seed starting soil . Follow up as before.

This is my full grown rosemary plant. I planted it here in 2008 and trim it down periodically to keep it from getting leggy. I like to trim it up early in the Spring heavily, then  a little through the season as needed.
From all of the trimmings I either start new plants or dry them for later use. Its pretty easy to do. More information about growing rosemary can also be answered by
Stephanie Suesan Smith over at Information Central, Gardening Questions Answered.


  1. Melissa, I love rosemary. I planted a rosemary bush that I purchased from Lowe's in one of my front flower beds. It's still alive, but has never really grown. I think the problem is the GA red clay soil and not enough sunlight. Glad to know I might start the rosemary somewhere else with cuttings.

  2. Clay soil may be the problem. When I plant something, if possible I try to plant it several locations to test the area. That's why I like starting several of the same plant just to see. Enjoy starting new rosemary plants!

  3. My husband (we live in zone 5, so Rosemary isn't hardy here) kept a rosemary plant alive for 18 years by keeping it inside in the winter and outside in the summer. It finally died, but we have an offspring from that Mama plant that is approaching 18 years old. He loves to cook with rosemary. We've had very good luck, incidentally, rooting cuttings in water - its the only propagation method we use.


  4. Very inspiring and informative. Thanks.

  5. At my other house, when my dog was alive, she loved jumping around in our rosemary bushes. I think she ate the little blue flowers off of it. She loved that stuff! I can still smell it, just thinking about it. They were good hearty bushes.

  6. Thanks everyone.

    @Bike Lady - Don't you just love it? At our last house, our pomeranian used to dig a shallow hole under our rosemary bush to lay in. It kept her cool AND she smelled so good when she came in. Thankfully she didn't harm the bush by doing so. Good memories. :)


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