[Market-farming] rooting rosemary cuttings

Shoemaker, William H wshoemak at illinois.edu
Mon Apr 11 21:28:19 EDT 2016

If they're long, cutting them back may help. Make a fresh cut at the base end, then proceed with rooting hormone and setting them in a good moist medium.

William H. Shoemaker

Retired fruit and vegetable horticulturist

University of Illinois

wshoemak at illinois.edu<mailto:wshoemak at illinois.edu>

From: Market-farming [market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] on behalf of Kathryn Kerby [kakerby at aol.com]
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 3:50 PM
To: 'Market Farming'
Subject: [Market-farming] rooting rosemary cuttings

I had something of a plant emergency over the weekend.  A dearly departed friend had a magnificent healthy rosemary out in her yard, and I had talked to her husband about taking cuttings from it before he removed it from the landscape.  I was even trying to come up with a way to safely remove the entire plant and replant it here.  So imagine my dismay when we showed up at the house on Saturday and found that he’d already hacked off all the branches that morning, tossed them on the yard waste pile, and saved me one limp sprig.  <sigh>  I fished all the branches out of the yard waste pile and brought them home and I’m going to try to take cuttings anyway.

Ideally I would have taken a cutting, put it right into rooting hormone and then either into water or into moist soil.  I’ve been trying to figure out about how best to proceed given that they were cut 48-72hrs ago.  It’s been in the 40’s to 60’s here the last few days, with moderate humidity, so maybe they haven’t dried out yet?  I was able to get some of the branches and/or cuttings into water within a few hours of being cut, but most of the branches had to wait at least a day or two before getting any water.

So, my questions:

1.       Should I even bother trying to take cuttings from the branches which didn’t get water for 24-48hrs?  I can always just “harvest” those sprigs as herbs instead.

2.       For the cuttings which I did get into water right away, some of the branches were a lot longer than the recommended 3” – 6” lengths.  I was planning to cut them back to that ideal length, then maybe soaking them overnight and then dipping in rooting hormone prior to planting. Would that help restore some of the water to the cuttings, and give them a better chance?

3.       I did read one online source about starting rosemary cuttings in water, and changing the water each day.  Would that perhaps be a better approach for these cuttings, since they didn’t get into water right away?

Any suggestions would be welcome.  I really wanted to propagate that plant into as many cuttings as I could, so seeing those branches laying there on the yard waste pile was quite a blow.  I hope it’s not too late to get some cuttings to root.
Kathryn Kerby
Snohomish, WA
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