Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Emergency Rosemary

My rosemary plant is (from memory) seven years old.  It's contained in a pot, so it doesn't have much spread, but it often stands well over a metre tall.  My rosemary plant isn't liking all this rain too much, but it is nowhere near dead.  The plant has become a bit sparse and spindly, but that's nothing a good pruning won't fix.  Rosemary, like most plants, should be cut at an angle, as a "flat" cut stem usually won't resprout.  If a stem is growing in the wrong spot, that's when you would cut it straight across.
I ended up taking off these dry, woody stems.
Even though these stems are dead, they still have a wonderful rosemary fragrance.  I'm hoping I'll be able to use them for something arty or crafty later on, as I know from past experience that smell is not going to go away any time soon.

After I pruned away all the sad, dead parts, I thought it would probably be a good idea to sprout a second rosemary plant, for when I need rosemary but the plants are weather affected or otherwise sparse.
I was in luck, as there was more than one lovely green shoot on my rosemary plant.  You should never take the only greenery off a plant.  I'm honestly not clear as to why, I just know it's not good for them.  I took this little cutting, again, cut at an angle.
I planned to shoot my new rosemary plant in a peat pot, and set about gathering supplies.  I filled the peat pot with fresh ready compost from my own bin, but seed raising mix or any fine potting mix would be fine.  In my pile of reusable things (every gardener should have one) I found an ice cream container lid, perfect for sitting the little pot on.
I dipped the cut end of the rosemary sprig in honey, which is high in nutrients and will encourage good root formation.  The tiniest blob is enough.
And firmly stuck the sprig into the soil.
I gave it a good watering (it hasn't been flooded like the parent plant) and now I shall wait.  I will give it a second watering tonight with a seaweed solution.  I'll know if the shoot has sprouted very simply: in a week, it won't be dead.
Not every cutting takes, and even cuttings that do take root sometimes die when moved out to the garden.  I minimise risk to my cuttings by:
  • using peat pots, which can be planted directly to the spot where the plant will grow, eliminating transplant shock
  • keeping the soil damp but not saturated until the cutting is established
  • transitioning the cutting to outside slowly, a few hours a day at first, to eliminate climate shock
All very simple, really.  I'll let you know how my emergency rosemary gets along.

Lots of love to you,
Cassandra Louise


  1. i have a basil plant which was growing well initially is now quite sparse. I think it's time for some pruning...thanks for sharing about cutting the stems at an angle...didn't know that before. It's always exciting and fun to see a plant grow...hope your emergency rosemary turns out perfectly!


  2. Hi Cassandra !! Nice to meet you !!! Your blog is very interesting !! I like to learn new things about the plants and how to grow and protect them !!! Thanks for following and i will follow you too !!!
    I wish your Rosemary will grow and bloom !!! Kisses !! :o))

    1. Thank you for following, I hope you enjoy. :-)

  3. I can't wait to see how your babies come along. I need to do some planting, but I live on a 7th floor and my terrace is being repaired at the moment. I'll have to come by often and delight on your growth. Rosemary is one of my favorite plants!

  4. That is a clever idea. My rosemary is dying, so I might try cutting off some shoots to see if I can save it that way. Thank you.

  5. I'm so glad I found this blog, on this day's post! I have a huge rosemary bush that has been flourishing in our mild winter, and two coworkers keep bugging me for cuttings. But I'm not a gardener: all growing plants at my house are leftover from the previous tenant, so never knew how to do it!

    You have made several people happy in Delaware, USA! (Well, you will have made them happy after I do this.)

    1. So glad I could help! I'm pretty sure my cutting is still alive, no leaves have dropped. I'll be writing the follow up to this post in a few day's time. :-)