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I have tried twice now to start Rosemary from seed and failed both times. Last year I planted them in a self watering window box with a number of other herbs. It never really came up well and never thrived, then we went on vacation and it died.

This year I tried again in a different pot and it still came up slowly or not at all (most seeds did not germinate it seems). Then I knocked the pot over and that was the end of that attempt.

I am ready to try again. I am going to use a 6" self watering container and potting mix and a new pack of seeds.

What are the pitfalls and hangups starting rosemary from seed? What can I do to improve my chances or even ensure success?

My weather: Hot during the summer (mid 90s during the day mid 70s at night). Some rain.

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Your weather also matters, how is your weather? –  lamwaiman1988 Jul 14 '11 at 1:31
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I think one issue with some herbs is that they don't want to be too wet; I'm not sure you want the self-watering container. I let mine dry out a bit before watering it. And they germinate and grow very slowly. I think I soaked mine overnight before putting seed in soil. The germination rate is very low.

Some info taken from this page:

  • Darkness will aid germination.
  • Cover seeds lightly after sowing.
  • Optimum soil temperature for germination is 60 degrees.
  • Germination time 14-21 days.
  • Sow heavily because the seeds have a poor germination rate.
  • Some seeds can germinate up to 3 months after sowing.
  • Water in between dry downs; do not use enclosed planters...

You may find it easier to buy a small plant and then propagate from cuttings.

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yeah, if I fail this time I am definitely going to buy a plant –  wax eagle Jul 12 '11 at 18:30
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When I was handling seed propagation at a commercial greenhouse, the seeds were handed to me from the freezer. I'm sure they would go for 2-4 days. A whack of seeds in a 6" container may work and I would try a backup bunch in as small a cell as you could keep wet with daily misting. Transfer to bigger and bigger pots up to 6" then to the garden or well drained window box.

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