How to Propagate Herbs

In this article, I’ll go through how to propagate herbs. This way you can grow more herbs at home without having to keep buying new packets of seeds or young plants from the store.

 

Propagating Herbs

Propagation is the process of creating new plants. With herbs, there are 3 ways you can do this, via;

  • Seeds
  • Cuttings
  • Division

Above, you’ve already seen the different ways you can propagate herbs with seeds. These methods often take time.

So, many gardeners prefer other techniques, like cutting and division. These two methods have the advantage of being free.

That’s because you don’t need to buy seeds from the store. Instead, you’ll take part of the plant and re-grow it. Soon enough, you’ll have a new plant that’s similar to the one you already have.

When it comes to herb propagation, stem cutting is the easiest method. As such, it’s the most popular one that people use and talk about.

 

Cutting

Stem cutting is just what it sounds like. You’re cutting a piece of the stem and replanting it to produce a nearly identical plant.

But, the key is knowing when to cut it and how to do so.

When? The best time for stem cutting is during a plant’s active growth period. For most, that happens during the spring and summer.

How?

  • Choose a stem that’s about 4-6 inches long. You want something long enough to stand out of a jar where you’ll put the stem in later on.
  • Then pick find the tender area. Herb stems have soft and woody sections. The former is more green in color while the latter is brown in color and closer to the main stem.
  • Cut just above a node (where the leaf meets the stem)
  • Remove any of the leaves below since they’ll be submerged in the water anyway.
  • Dip the end in root growth hormone.
  • Place the cutting into a jar filled with water. You can likewise plant it into a container filled with growing medium (potting soil).
  • If you opted for the pot, water it before adding the plastic bag in the next step.
  • Cover with a plastic bag. This will help retain moisture and keep the humidity up.
  • Keep them away from the sun (at least for now)
  • In 3-4 weeks, you should see roots grow.
  • Finally move them to a pot and gradually get them accustomed to sunlight.

 

Herbs that are Suitable for Cutting

For this section, I’ve divided the herbs into 2 groups, those that root well in water and those that root well in potting soil. This way you’ll know which would be ideal for each given herb.

 

Herbs That Root Well in Water
  • basil
  • beebalm
  • lemon balm
  • lemon verbana
  • mint
  • oregano
  • peppermint
  • pineapple sage
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • stevia
  • thyme

 

Herbs That Root Well in Growing Medium
  • bay
  • bee balm
  • catnip
  • french tarragon
  • lavender
  • lemon balm
  • mint
  • oregano
  • sage
  • scented geranium
  • thyme

 

Related

 

Division

Division requires a little more work than cutting. But, once you get the hang of it, it gets fairly simple. The biggest advantage of division is that you basically already have a semi-grown or somewhat grown plant.

As such, from the 3 methods discussed here, it gives you the fastest results (while starting from seeds is the slowest).

Here’s how to do it.

  • If the herb is in a container, turn it sideways to pull out the rootball. If it’s planted in the ground, dig it up until you get to roots.
  • Once you get to the rootball, you can cut up the entire mass into smaller sections based on how many individual plants are growing from it. You can easily count this by checking how many stems are coming out of the ground. Each one is typically a separate plant.
  • After dividing them, it’s time to decide. Do you want to replant them into the ground or put them in containers?
  • Put the plants into the ground or container and pack in the soil.
  • Water them.

Because you’re operating on the root system, the best time to divide your plants is during the fall when its growing season is coming to an end.

 

Herbs the do well with division include:

  • Chives
  • Bee balm
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme
  • Tarragon
  • Mint
  • Germander
  • Lemongrass
  • Sorrel
  • Tansy