July

How to: Propagate rosemary

The Slowpoke: PROPAGATING ROSEMARY // Photo: Jess Kneebone

Wonderfully fragrant, rosemary is a versatile garden herb. In a bid to grow our own, we caught up with Sydney horticulturist Jon Kingston, who runs City Garden Wise, works for The Edible Balcony, and volunteers at the Wayside Chapel rooftop garden, to gather tips on how to propagate this popular botanical.

Rosemary is a charming and aromatic herb from the mint family that grows in an evergreen bush. With a woody scent and piney, peppery flavour, rosemary is often used in Mediterranean cuisine. Originating in that region, this perennial thrives in the dry, hot climates of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Tassie but can grow well up the east coast until about Brisbane where the tropical climate proves problematic.

It can be used to flavour salads, marinades, butters, oils, soups and baked vegetables, pairing particularly well with tomatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, asparagus, potato, zucchinis or other courgettes. In addition to its culinary uses, rosemary also has medicinal qualities: it can be used for skin irritations like eczema, joint problems like arthritis, is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory compounds.

There are several ways to propagate rosemary, but the most common way is from cuttings. If you propagate now, your cuttings should have roots by September.

You’ll need:
Access to a rosemary bush
Sharp pair of garden scissors
Gardening gloves
Pot plant
Potting mix
Tablespoon of raw ethically-sourced honey
Plastic bag

Firstly, take a two to three inch cutting from a mature rosemary plant with a clean, sharp pair of garden scissors. Rosemary cuttings should be taken from the soft or new wood on the plant, on a diagonal incline.

Next, remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the cutting allowing at least five or six leaves. You can do this by hand, or using the garden scissors.

Then dip the cutting into pure honey. (Raw honey is a natural rooting hormone, and can be found at most markets from local beekeepers.)

Fill the pot plant with potting mix and take the rosemary cuttings and plant. You can place a couple of cuttings close together to increase the chances of success.

Cover the pot with a plastic bag or plastic wrap to help the cuttings retain moisture. This creates a greenhouse affect. Be sure to place out of direct sunlight.

When you see new growth, remove the plastic. This should take around 8-12 weeks. The best way to check is to turn the pot plant upside down and checking the base of the soil for roots.

Congratulations, your rosemary cuttings are ready to transplant to a new location.

The Slowpoke: PROPAGATING ROSEMARY // Photo: Jess Kneebone The Slowpoke: PROPAGATING ROSEMARY // Photo: Jess Kneebone The Slowpoke: PROPAGATING ROSEMARY // Photo: Jess Kneebone The Slowpoke: PROPAGATING ROSEMARY // Photo: Jess Kneebone The Slowpoke: PROPAGATING ROSEMARY // Photo: Jess Kneebone The Slowpoke: PROPAGATING ROSEMARY // Photo: Jess KneeboneWords and photos: Jess Kneebone // Location: Wayside Chapel

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