Propagating Rosemary and Thyme

I love plants and so does my mom! My husband enjoys our plant addition and our house is a bit of a jungle to be honest, with my work desk soon having no more room for any more plant pots. We even have a tomato plant in our bathroom (we got two giant windows right in the bathroom which I find rather inconvenient in general, but it worked out good for the tomato plant) that’s been yielding modest, but consistent crop of cherry tomatoes over the last couple months. 🙂

Among the herbs some of my most favorite are Thyme and Rosemary for their smell. Thyme also makes a very lovely smelling herb tea that is especially good with some white chocolate 🙂 . And since we live in Colorado during the cold months my outdoor thyme plants are dormant and the rosemary plants don’t make it here. Recently I was searching for thyme plants to purchase as a gift for another herb-addict friend of mine and was surprised at the cost of tiny little pots of these plants. So it occurred to me to look into propagation. I wish I thought of it earlier, as we propagate many plants and flowers in our garden – you get lots of free plants this way! But somehow I never thought Thyme and Rosemary were the type I could propagate from cuttings. Turns out quite the opposite – nothing could be easier and all you need a few sprigs of either plant which you can get at any grocery store!

How to

  1. Get few sprigs of rosemary and thyme. You can clip from existing plant or buy little herb bunches sold at grocery stores. I bought 1 packet of organic thyme and 1 packet of organic rosemary from a local supermarket.
  2. Choose those sprigs that have most green and flexible stems, not the woody ones. Both plants root easily, nonetheless not all sprigs give roots. So select as many sprigs as you wish to get new plants plus few more.
  3. Gently strip away the leaves from the few inches/cm of the bottom part of the stems.
  4. Place in water. Do not use narrow top bottles. I heard it prevents proper air access. And true enough all the sprigs I did have in a narrow top bottles didn’t make it. I just used left over spice jars and they did great!
  5. I think it took about a week or so for the first roots to appear on Thyme. Rosemary took a bit longer. But in any case, give them few weeks, changing water regularly. Use nice, room-temperature non-chlorine water.
  6. Once the roots appear – plant away! I had many thyme sprigs that rooted, so planted 2 in each little pot. I got 20 plants going right now on my window sill!
  7. If some of your sprigs became rather tall while living in water – clip them back a bit as it is more difficult for plant to establish new root system while it also has to sustain large top part.
  8. Keep a close eye on your freshly planted plants to ensure they don’t go dry.

Here are my planted thyme and rosemary plants that are 2-3 weeks old now. They live on my west-facing window sill and have been rather easy to carry for. I’ve cut back my Thyme plants quite a bit already to make tea. And one of my rosemary plants even started blooming! Normally I would cut it back to help plant save the strength, but the little flower is so lovely and it helps the wait of much anticipated growing season!

P.S. Other plants that I found propagate very easily from cuttings are (a) roses, (b) hydrangeas, (c) willows, (d) geraniums and (e) Blue Mist Spirea. Roses are a bit more delicate and often require being planted directly in soil under a cloche (we just use cut-off plastic bottle halfs) for a long time instead of going into a jar of water. Nonetheless, they do propagate from cuttings and we got a number of free rose bushes around our yard this way!

2 thoughts on “Propagating Rosemary and Thyme

  1. I love the pictures and the step by step!! So helpful for a novice like myself! Thank you for giving your time and skills. Appreciate it

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your propagating experience. So helpful for me a went and bought some thyme and started the sprigs in a sauce jar. Will send you pic when it grows.

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