Failed to propagate rosemary

San Jose, CA

I tried to propagate my rosemary plant by rinsing the roots and transplanting individual stems. But they ended up turning brown and dying. Why is this happening?!

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(Zone 9b)

I am not sure what you mean by washing the roots. Had you already rooted your cuttings in water before you stuck them in dirt?

Before I take any cuttings, I always water the plant well the day before so the cutting will be well hydrated while putting out roots. If I am really on top of it, I will even add some fertilizer to my water a week or 2 before I take the cutting just to give it a bit of a bounce.

You can start them in water to root or direct plant into a loose soil. Pull off the leaves on the bottom exposing at least 2 nodes. Place in water till you see roots for a few days, then poke holes in your soil with a pen, place the cutting in gently so not to harm the delicate new roots. Firm soil around the stem. Keep out of direct sun till well rooted.

Or stick the prepared cutting directly into loose potting soil. Firm the soil around the stem. I may use a rooting hormone on the root end if I have some but if you do use a pen to make your hole so you do not rub all the rooting hormone off by pushing it into the soil to make the hole.

Gently water soil. Now what I do with most of my cuttings and even seedlings, is I bag them in clear plastic bags, closing them with velcro. I take the bag, run water in it, then shake it out leaving a few drops on the inside. Then I place the watered pot into the bag and close it. Never place bagged cutting in sun for it can steam the cutting dead!

I leave it in this bag for several weeks till it roots. Then I open the bag but leave it still in it for a few days getting it used to the lower humidity. Once out, I slowly edge the pot into full sun.

I love this method because you do not have to water the pot again. Just do not open bag at all as it roots!

I hope this helps.

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