How To Propagate Rosemary In Water

Many people who like to cook with herbs look for their own way to grow herbs. Herbs can be quite expensive when bought regularly at your grocery store. It just makes sense to create your own herb garden. Fortunately, rosemary is a very easy herb to grow. It even looks pretty and will be a great addition to your garden. The only downside is that it usually becomes too big to be kept in your kitchen with the other herbs. Instead, you’ll have to keep it outside.

Still, growing is a great option, and there are a few ways to propagate your own rosemary. One of the best ways to grow your own rosemary is to grow clippings in water. This is the method we’ll be covering today. Below, I answer can you root rosemary in water before describing exactly how to grow rosemary in water. You’ll soon know everything you need to know to start growing your own rosemary in water.


Why Grow Your Own Rosemary?

Many gardeners have found that it’s better to grow your own rosemary than to buy it. Growing rosemary is so simple, and it leaves you with a huge payout.

The plant itself — although large — is beautiful. The leaves are a deep green and look needle-like. In the spring and summer, colorful flowers bloom, making the plant look even more appealing.

Growing Rosemary for Cooking

However, the best reason to grow rosemary is because of what the plant can do for you. Many people use rosemary in their cooking, and some people use it for medicinal uses too. If you frequently use rosemary in cooking, you’ll find that it can become quite expensive.

Why pay for fresh rosemary at the grocery store when you can grow it yourself? Planting a rosemary shrub in your backyard is a great idea. Not only does it make a nice-looking addition to your garden, but it provides you with fresh herbs for years to come.

What Are Your Options for Growing Rosemary?

With that said, there are a few ways that you can grow your own rosemary. Some people simply buy juvenile plants from their local garden center. This is certainly the easiest way, but some people like to save money by starting from scratch.

Seeds are an option, but this method takes the longest. Not only that, but only 15-30% of the seeds usually survive to germination. This can make the planting process of seeds very frustrating.

You can also grow rosemary by using clippings. Some people use root hormone and place their clippings in soil. This is the quickest way to propagate rosemary. However, some people don’t like this method because they don’t want to be eating something grown with hormones.

So, where does this leave us?

Another easy method of growing your own rosemary is to grow it in water. This is similar to the above method where you’ll use fresh clippings from a rosemary plant. However, rather than growing the clipping with root hormone and soil, you’ll begin the growing process with a cup of water.

Rosemary cutting
Rosemary cutting

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Can Rosemary Grow In Water?

It is certainly possible to grow rosemary in water. Some people choose to do this method rather than planting their clippings directly in soil.

This is a popular method among those that don’t like to use growth hormones. A lack of growth hormones means that your rosemary plants will grow slower. Because it takes longer for the roots to sprout this way, you’ll want to be able to keep an eye on them.

If your plant is in soil, it’s not possible for you to keep taking it out to see how the roots are doing. That’s only going to damage the roots.

You also can’t use the water method if you plan on using root hormones. That’s because the hormones come in either powder or gels which will easily wash off if placed in water.

So, the water propagation method is a great way to grow your rosemary plants without hormones. However, because you aren’t using growth hormones, be prepared for your rosemary to take a bit longer to grow.

Why Grow Rosemary Cuttings In Water Instead Of Planting Seeds?

As we stated above, it’s better to grow rosemary from cuttings rather than from seeds. It’s simply easier and will save you both time and money.

Growing Rosemary From Cuttings In Water

Fortunately, it’s quite simple to propagate your rosemary in water. Still, there are some specific steps you need to take to make sure your plant begins growing roots and becomes healthy and strong.

What You Need To Start Growing Rosemary In Water

Of course, there are a few things you’ll need to get started growing your rosemary in water. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much:

  • Pruning shears
  • Small dish of water (~2″ deep)

How To Take A Cutting From Rosemary

Pick A Healthy Plant

There are a few things you’ll want to know before getting a clipping from your rosemary shrub. You never want to harvest from a plant that is less than 12 months old. Prematurely clipping from a plant that is too young can damage the plant and make it hard for it to grow.

You’ll also want to make sure that the plant is healthy. Clipping from an unhealthy plant will not help you to have a successful propagation. A healthy plant will have a dark green coloration in the leaves. They will also have plenty of new growth. If the plant is very woody and seems to have a bit of deadwood, you won’t want to clip from it.

When To Harvest Cuttings from Rosemary

Now that you’ve found a healthy rosemary plant to pick from, you’ll want to know the best time to get the clipping. Of course, rosemary is an evergreen plant, meaning that it continues to grow throughout the whole year. Because of this, you can successfully harvest a clipping at any time of the year.

Still, the best time to get a clipping from your rosemary plant is during the spring or summer. This is when your plant will be at its healthiest because it’s growing the most. You’ll notice lots of new growth on your plant during spring and summer. The new growth is what you’ll want to harvest.

Now you’ve found a healthy rosemary plant and know the best time to harvest. So, now it’s actually time to harvest.

man harvesting rosemary
Harvesting rosemary

Taking Cuttings from Rosemary

You’re going to want to choose 4-6 inches of the new growth to cut. Make sure that your shears are sharp and that you can cut the sprig in one smooth cut. If you have to cut more than once, some of the plant’s cells will be killed and it will be more difficult to propagate.

How To Grow Rosemary From Cuttings In Water Step-By-Step

Of course, it’s not enough to simply have a cutting of your rosemary. You need to know how to actually grow it in water.

Remove Excess Leaves

Your new rosemary sprig is going to need a place for the roots to grow. If there are a bunch of leaves in the way, the roots won’t grow and your propagation won’t be successful. This is an easy fix, though. Simply remove all the leaves from the lower 1-2 inches of the stem. This will provide plenty of room for the new roots to sprout.

Rooting Rosemary Cuttings In Water

Next, you’re going to need to place your cuttings in water. To do this, you’ll want to get a small container and fill it about 1-2 inches full of water. You’ll want that 1-2 inches of bare stem completely covered in water so that the roots can grow. You don’t want any of the leaves to be covered in water, however.

After this, you just need to be patient and wait for your cuttings to begin growing. Every few days, you’ll want to replace the water with fresh water. Some people even remove the cuttings from the jar to rinse them down.

The water-growing process does take a bit longer than if you were using soil and root hormones. So, you’ll have to be patient. Most cuttings will begin growing roots at about 4-5 weeks, but it can take as long as 8 weeks.

Once your roots begin to sprout, you’re not done yet! The rosemary plant can’t live in water forever. Once its roots are established, you’ll need to move it to soil so it can continue on to the next stage of its life.

How To Plant Your Rosemary Cuttings In Soil

Rosemary does best in soil that drains well, like sandy soil. The soil should also be slightly acidic for best growth. Make sure to plant the roots deep enough in the soil that they can expand out and secure themselves.

Keep a close eye on your growing plant for the first month or so. This is when it’ll be most vulnerable. Rosemary plants don’t need a lot of water, so be careful that you don’t overwater it. Most people like to wait until the soil has almost dried before watering again.

After about a month, you won’t need to keep as close an eye on your cutting. It will continue growing on its own. In two years, you’ll begin to see flowers bloom, and after a few years, it’ll be completely grown.

Keep in mind that you won’t want to harvest anything from your new plant until it’s at least 12 months old. This includes pruning, creating cuttings, or taking sprigs for cooking. For the first year, simply let it be.

Final Words on Growing Rosemary in Water

Rosemary is a great plant to grow in your garden or even in your home. It’s very easy to propagate and to take care of. Better yet, it has a bunch of uses in cooking and medicine. If you use rosemary a lot, it’ll be beneficial for you to propagate your own plant rather than paying for it regularly at the store.

There are a few ways to grow your own rosemary plant. Some people start straight from seeds, while others use clippings. Even with clippings, there are a few options. You can grow it either with soil and root hormones, or you can grow it with just plain water.

The plain water option takes longer than growing in soil with root hormones. Still, this is probably the simplest way as you just place your clipping in water. This option is also beneficial because you can watch as the roots grow. This lets you know that your plants are doing just fine.

Want to learn more? Click here to find all my guides to growing rosemary. You can also read my full guide to how fast rosemary grows here or click here for my guide to growing rosemary with a cutting.

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