Saturday, March 17, 2012

Urban Permaculture Plants, Rosemary Propagation by Cuttings

One can never have enough plants on the Urban Farm.

Especially rosemary.

We start many of our plants from seeds.  Yet some, like garlic chives and rosemary, though they can be sprouted are much easier to propagate via cuttings.

Florida Permaculture: A full tray of rosemary cuttings ready to root

Cuttings are an easy and quick way to multiply your herb and plant inventory.  Having too many herb and garden plants can be a good thing!  Potted up herbs make great gifts for birthdays, special occasions or just for when you want to give company a special gift.

The following photos illustrate how I propagate rosemary via cuttings.  There are many ways to asexually increase your rosemary plant inventory via cuttings.  Most gardeners have their own preferred method.

I like to propagate rosemary, either the upright or prostrate variety in 72 count square plug trays.  For some strange reason, the square corners of the tray seem to make my cutting's roots grow faster and fuller.

Start by obtaining approximately one hundred rosemary cuttings about twelve inches long.

Florida Permaculture: Twelve inch Urban Farm cuttings ready to strip and stick

Strip the lower four or five inches of leaves from the stem with your fingers.

Florida Permaculture:  Cuttings and stripped cuttings ready for the rooting tray

Fill the cutting tray with sharp sand (I just use sand out of the back yard).  Pack the sand into the tray tightly by firmly pressing the sand down with your fingers.  Be sure to level off the top once the sand is impacted.

Florida Permaculture:  Sharp sand and a  72 count cutting tray

Press the stem cuttings with the end stripped down into the compacted sharp sand, two cuttings per cell.  The standing cuttings will help support each other once all the rosemary is placed into the tray.

I use an cheap electronic hose timer and sprinkler to mist the cuttings for ten seconds every fifteen minutes.

With the warmer spring weather I'll have one hundred or so rooted rosemary plants within a couple weeks.

We never use rooting hormone.  In my opinion rooting hormone is a capitalistic trick to make money.  Yes, I know there are studies that show potentially toxic rooting hormones can help develop roots.  Some of these studies are also funded by those who sell the powders.

My studies show ground willow bark can out perform root industrial powders.

Yet I never use any rooting hormones.

And our cuttings, roses, natives, figs, herbs, and anything I've ever tried to root, have rooted ever so quickly.   And I don't have to worry about the industrial powders and cancer, nor spend extra money.

The key is keeping your cutting leaves moist and the sharp sand just barely wet using a fine mist.  Don't let cuttings dry out.

Asexual propagation is an easy way to cost effectively increase your permaculture stock.

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