Severely stunted lavender/Old rosemary cutting

KiddyPlanterFebruary 22, 2013

Okay, first off, hi everyone!=) I'm new here! Just your average university student who just grows plants in her bedroom for fun! I'm not one of those super growers who grow huge super healthy plants, just whatever I can balance on my window sill and chest of drawers...=P Anyways, here are my questions:

1) So basically, this past year I've been super busy, and have a shortage of growing space in my room... I had sown 10 lavender seeds in a small 100g yoghurt cup last summer, and one germinated and grew as much as a teeny yoghurt cup will allow. I kept procrastinating, thinking I would pot it up later, but I never did till today! Omg! I know!=0 I was just wondering if such a severely stunted lavender can recover and grow to a full sized lavender? It's had one 3" main branch and two 2" side branches for a long long time...=X

2) Last fall, I took a 6" rosemary cutting from my mom's plant that wasn't doing too hot. I stuck it into a medium sized 175g yogurt cup with soil, watered it, and soon gave up on the idea because it didn't seem like it was going to work out (plus it's a super lopsided cutting. Very unbalanced). But of course I just left it there, watered it at random times, let it dry out at other times. The thing is, the leaves are still green, and it MIGHT have grown a teeny bit at the tip. Is it possible for a cutting of rosemary doomed to never grow roots and rot away stay green for so many months? Or is there some chance it actually (by some miracle) grew roots? I haven't dared to pull it out to check because some people say they've killed their cuttings by checking. Should I leave it in the cup till there is some action? (growth or death... LOL) Or should I repot it?=0

I'm not too good with repoting my plants cause the widest my window sill (where the sun comes in) can support is the diameter of the base of a disposable plastic cup. And the premium drawer space in front of my window is reserved by my sundews, sarracenia, lithops, aloe, and peppers...=P

Anyways, hope someone can help me with my questions, even though I really asked them more out of curiosity than anything!=) I will wait and see how my lavender reacts, but the rosemary staying green really makes me wonder!=D

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Hey Kiddy -

Is the lavender still with leaves? If so, I'd say it'll come back. If space is limited then basically anything w/ holes can be a pot, so get fresh soil, put some holes in the bottom and layer it with coffee filters or something that will let water through. It should (1) be bigger (wider and deeper) than your current cup and (2) ideally something you intend to keep it in for a year or more (especially given your affinity, or lack thereof, for repotting, obviously, haha).

So if you're talking about a Dannon yogurt cup size, then consider a large sour cream tub, or even one of Cool Whip -- you get the idea.

1. Fill the new tub w/ fresh potting soil. The filter should keep the soil in the cup without drifting out.

2. Move the soil to the sides of the new pot to create a hole in which to place your lavender.

3. Water the lavender enough to soften it, and then squeeze the yogurt cup all around to loosen it. Then turn it over and loosely guide the plant out of the cup. It should slide out with little effort; do not pull at the plant or stress it out.

4. I would guess that this thing is root bound -- meaning it will have roots all the way around the soil with little to no soil left. Take a knife and slice off the bottom 30-40% of the roots and then take your fingers and break apart the roots -- much like you would break apart braids in your hair after it's been braided all day. Do it gently but definitely break apart the roots leaving the top 20-30% of the root ball intact. (You don't want to damage the plant.)

5. Now that you have uncurled as much as you're going to, take scissors and give it a trim to just make it uniform without long roots dangling. Snip, snip, snip.

6. Place what you have left into the new hole of the new pot and ensure it fits nicely. If your makeshift hole in the soil is too deep, take it back out and let more soil drop into it and if it's too low, fill it up with more soil; the idea is that when you place your plant down in its trimmed state and fill in the remainder of your pot, you will have room to water without overflowing the soil and won't have to push down or tug up your plant to make flush with the soil.

7. Take extra potting soil and fill in the new pot to make your plant completely snug and LIGHTLY tap down the soil. You want to leave air and room to breathe in there, but do tap down a bit to remove big gaps.

8. OPTIONAL: Trim the top 20-25% of the stems and leaves with scissors. I always prune a bit when I repot, but some might say not to do so.

9. Water thoroughly ensuring that water drips out of the holes in the bottom of the tub. Let it completely drain in a sink or cup - and when it stops dripping, place back in the window. Wherever you have had it is best given that even with serious lack of attention, the thing is still there and alive!

As far as your rosemary goes -- if you see green, then it's not completely dead. If you rooted it last summer and it's still green, I promise you it has rooted; I've found rosemary that will root, will do so under a month at most. :-) What is curious is that it hasn't grown at all, according to your description. Dead rosemary plants look -- quite dead, as you can see. (Not mine, but I've been there when one pot got lost behind many, many others.)

I'd repeat the same exact steps as above and repot it into something a tad larger but do check the roots; I would doubt it is root bound given the lack of growth.
In any case, put it in a new home with new soil and see how it fares. While you are raising this particular cutting indoors -- if it didn't die on you, one would think you'd have some growth on it.

And however you have been watering it and caring for it apparently kept these plants alive all of this time, so I'd recommend keeping to that schedule! :-)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:37AM
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Hi Sugi_C! Thanks so much for your encouraging and informative reply!=D

I had already repotted the lavender before posting, so i didn't do any root pruning as you suggested. Just pled the circling roots apart a bit.=P It's now in a large cream cheese tub! Hope it'll be happier now!=) I guess I'll think about repotting the rosemary when i find a suitable container then!=) Thanks again Sugi_C!=D

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:28AM
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Ahh, I didn't catch the part that you had repotted. :-)
Good luck -- hope they all thrive in their new "homes"!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:53PM
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No biggie. You taught me a lot! Like it's okay to root prune lavender!=D Thanks!=) I hope they'll be happier and healthier from now on!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 7:33PM
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I started some rosemary from seed. Their 3 weeks old and really small still...I think they just take forever.

And I just planted 6 lavenders, can't wait for those babies...but I could wait for all the upcoming curve balls these herbs are gonna give me.

Thanks for the post!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:17PM
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