How to propagate herbs from cuttings

I'm a little sad as the garden winds down for the year. I'll miss having fresh fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers all winter long. I do like to grow houseplants though and luckily many herbs and flowers can grow indoors with very little effort....which is great because I honestly put basil in everything!

Herbs growing roots in water

The best part about growing herbs from cuttings though, is that they are ready to use so much more quickly than if you grow from seed! Plus then I don't feel so bad when the frost takes my herb plants away, since they can live on inside the house!

We've talked about growing herbs and greens using a Hydroponics garden. I use mine every winter and just love having fresh lettuce for winter salads. It can be expensive when getting started though, so it's not for everyone.

I also grow Coleus indoors as a houseplant to bring some color into my plant collection in winter! It seriously a sea of green inside my house, so I need that color to liven things up! 

My favorite plants to bring in from the garden though, is the herbs. Not all herbs can be grown from cuttings, but I've had the best luck with: basil, oregano, lavender, catnip, thyme, sage, rosemary. lemonbalm & mint. 

I haven't tried all the herbs obviously, so if you want to give one a try that's not on my list...I'd love to know what else roots well in water!

How to grow herbs from cuttings

Since it's late in the year you should take a few cuttings from each plant, especially if the herb is frost sensitive. You wouldn't want to lose the plant to frost before you can propagate a new one! Each cutting should be several inches long. Use sharp scissors to take the cutting and remove all the tiny bottom leaves from the stem.

I always forget to do this. It won't hurt the process if you forget, but it could cause the water to get funky pretty quickly. If you did forget, you'll want to pull the tiny leaves off before you plant the cutting so they don't rot in the soil.

If it is a woody herb like lavender or rosemary, take the cutting from the green part, not the woody part.

Take cuttings of lavender like this

Rooting herb cuttings

Place cuttings in a jar or glass, about 1/3 filled with plain tap water. Several plant cuttings can be placed in the same jar, but the water level will have to be monitored closely. If the water level gets too low, the cut end of the plant can dry out and you might have to start all over again. You do not need rooting hormone for most herbs to sprout roots.

Store in an indirect light area for several days, or until roots are produced at the base of the cuttings. Should take a little more than a week...depending on the herb. Wait until new roots have grown and the longest roots have reached about 1". 

Now they are ready to be transplanted into a more permanent growing media.

Herb cuttings growing roots in a glass of water

Transplanting into pots

I use an all purpose potting soil when planting my rooted cuttings. I also like to mix in a good amount of compost to supply the nutrients the plant needs. I usually begin with a 4" wide pot for a single stem. This is usually a good size for the cuttings while allowing some room to grow.

Each individual plant should have ample room to remain in this size pot for at least 6 months. As long as you're taking regular cuttings from the plant (which you'll probably do if you're using it for food or medicine) it really shouldn't outgrow this size pot. I usually transplant these herb plants into the garden in spring.

I do like to pinch off the flower stems if they form. This helps to keep the plant more compact and bushy, since it's effort will go into growing more leaves not making flowers and seeds.

Here's How to grow herbs indoors in winter. Check that out for plant care one your herb plant is established in it's new pot.

Herbs plants growing, rooted from cuttings

Related reading: 11 Medicinal plants that grow well indoors.

Good luck, and I hope you have time to get some cuttings before the cold sets in!

Related reading: Want more information on houseplants? Check out this collection of articles on indoor gardening.


Want gardening and healthy living information sent right to your email weekly? Click right here to join my list and get new posts sent directly to you the day they're published!

No comments:

Post a Comment