Rosemary: Perseverance & Propagation

Let’s talk about Rosemary. I bought a plant about four years ago and put it in a big Terra Cotta pot. It spent the warm months out on the patio and overwintered in our spare bedroom…until last winter. Yes, I neglected my Rosemary plant. Not only had I let it become completely root bound but I left it outside through our two coldest months, subjecting it to temperatures well below its known tolerance. Epic. Fail.

When spring finally showed its bright, sunny face here in the Mid-Atlantic, I started cleaning up old pots and preparing my containers for a new season of gardening. Before tossing my, seemingly dead, Rosemary plant I went out on a limb (pun intended) and snipped a few branches off to try and propagate them. I had ZERO expectations. I took three little clippings, stripped the leaves off the bottom half of each one and put them in a cup of water in front of a sunny window. That’s it. Just water and sun. No rooting hormone, no fertilizer, no magic pixie dust. Just water and sun.

Two weeks later one of my clippings had roots! If that isn’t nature’s way for showing you that it can and will overcome, then I don’t know what is. I went from having zero expectations to feeling like I had conquered Everest in an instant. I know it sounds silly but when you attempt something new and it works on the first try, you feel truly empowered. Even if it is rescuing the Rosemary that you shouldn’t have let “die” in the first place. Oops…

When we were safe from potential frosts, I started potting up plants. Rose, as I’ve affectionately named her, was potted up too. I used a standard, premixed potting soil and planted her stem right up to the first set of leaves. I pressed down firmly for good soil-root contact and gave her a drink.

Rosemary clipping with new roots
Rose’s new home, Miracle Grow potting mix in a Terra Cotta pot.

Freshly planted and watered

From that point on I treated her as I would a mature Rosemary plant and she is THRIVING. Seriously, just look at her one month later.

1 month after potting up

Not all gardening tales have a happy ending, but this one sure does. Cheers, friends!

1 – Even experienced gardeners sometimes neglect their plants, we’re all human.
2 – Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before, even if you might fail.
3 – Not all gardening “miracles” require fancy techniques and/or equipment.
4 – Relish the small victories in life.
5 – Nature is incredible.

Update: Rose is thriving 3 months later!

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