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.

  • Your weather also matters, how is your weather? Jul 14, 2011 at 1:31

3 Answers 3


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.

  • yeah, if I fail this time I am definitely going to buy a plant
    – wax eagle
    Jul 12, 2011 at 18:30

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.


I've not tried growing from seed, but have managed to clone a cutting in a wet environment i.e. a LECA grow bed in my aquaponics setup. It did take several months to root, and then I was able to transplant into a pot which I gave away - for it to be then killed by over watering by the recipient :(

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