Growing Rosemary is No Problem

The herb is all around us. Nature has no problem growing rosemary wild from seed on the breeze everywhere you look, even here in the suburbs of London city.

We are going to try growing it from scratch. If all fails then do a cutting which I will talk you through of course.

Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb and loves dry sunny conditions. It is found growing on coastal shrubland and that's where its name gets its roots from. Rosmarinus is Latin for “dew of the sea”.

But London is not located along a warm sunny shoreline so rosemary is a compromising herb, ready to put down roots as long as the conditions are tolerable.

Growing Rosemary From Seed

Start off on the right foot! Get your rosemary seeds from a good reputable source to sow in the early growing season from end of February to end of March. The seeds need to be fresh to aid successful germination.

Heat and darkness are key factors to growing rosemary from seed. Don't grow outdoors if you live in a cold climate but start your herb off in a warm dark environment indoors.

Using a covered heated propagator or a dark airing cupboard would be excellent for germinating the seed.

Place a pot of damp compost in the propagator or airing cupboard and check the temperature by sticking a thermometer to see if it averages a consistent 15c (60f).

If it hovers around those figures you are all set to go with the sowing.

Sow a liberal amount of seeds on the surface of your pot or pots and lightly cover them with compost.

Don't allow the soil to dry out at this vital stage and keep the temperature stable. In about 2 to 3 weeks the seeds will sprout.

Now the growing rosemary seedlings need light and warmth. Put them in a warm sunny position to grow. Once they are 3 or 4 inches high they can be planted out.

Word of caution:

Keep a look out for aphids! I have a young rosemary plant about 4 ½ inches high growing indoors. It was looking rather disfigured with lots of new leaves popping through on the one branch.

I examined it a little closer to find those little terrors crawling all over it feeding on the sap. A strong spray of water washed most off and then I gave it a good soaking with SB Plant Invigorator and Bug Killer for edible plants.

Growing Rosemary
From Soft Wood Cuttings

OK! Moving on to growing rosemary from cuttings. If you have any plants growing wild locally or a friend  has a bush, ask for a cutting to start you off.

Choose a semi-ripe, soft wood cutting from young growth near the tips of the plant. Cut away 3 to 4 inches just below a leaf joint and strip of most of the leaves leaving only a few.

Push the cutting into warm compost in a propagator and keep the compost moist. They should root in a few weeks and there is no need to use rooting powder for soft cuttings.

If you don't have a propagator cover with a clear plastic bag left open at the bottom for ventilation and placed in a warm shaded place. Try not to let the cuttings touch the sides of the bag.

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