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Growing New Herb Plants from Clippings

You do not need seeds in order to start your own herb garden. All you need are some healthy plants! Instead of spending money at a nursery, you can take cuttings from woody-stemmed perennial herbs, put them in water, and have a whole new plant in a few short weeks. Read on to find out how simple propagating herbs can be!

Choose Your Herb

You can grow many herbs from cuttings, but it doesn’t work for all herbs. You want to look for perennial herbs with woody stems.

Annual herbs do not grow well from cuttings because they bolt and turn to seed more quickly, and their stems are soft. Avoid parsley, cilantro, and dill, which are all in the same family.  

Perennial herbs with woody stems will work best. They may flower, but they’re like evergreens. They just keep growing back again and again, and that’s why they work really well as cuttings.

If you’re new to growing herbs from cuttings, rosemary is a great starter plant. Oregano, sage, thyme, lavender, and mint are also excellent options! Mint especially grows anywhere. It grows wild. 

Basil is an annual and has a softer stem, but it is fabulous to grow from cuttings. You just have to make sure you change out the water very regularly because of that soft stem. 

Source a “Mother” Plant 

The best time to take your cuttings is in early spring, when perennials are waking up and sending out new growth. Make sure to take your cuttings from healthy, high-quality plants. However you source them, we recommend using organic plants that haven’t been treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers.Organic plants tend to be healthier and thrive as cuttings!

Of course, you can take cuttings from your own plants. Using your own plants is an excellent way to add to your existing herb garden. You can also share the garden love by growing herbs from cuttings and gifting them to friends and family. 

Garden friends are always a great resource. Maybe your friend has some beautiful herbs growing in their garden, and you cut a little bit. Not only will you have a new plant, but you’ll also think of your friend every time you harvest it!

You can buy plants from local growers, farmer’s markets, nurseries, and garden stores. While you do have to pay for the “mother” plant, you can harvest cuttings from this plant for years. As long as the plant you buy is healthy and has several stems, you can take a cutting from it as soon as you purchase it. 

Harvest Your Cutting

Once you’ve found a healthy plant, take your cutting from a stem with new growth. Look for stems that are soft and green towards the tip. 

Cut a 3-4 inch piece of new growth below the leaf node. The leaf node is where the leaves are coming out of the stem. 

You want to put your cutting in water (see below) soon after you harvest it. If you’re harvesting from a friend’s plant, ask them for a little jar of water to take home or a wet paper towel to wrap the stem in. 

Not all cuttings will take root, and that’s okay! Take an extra cutting or two just in case. Especially if you’re using your own plant, you can do this in batches. If you end up with more plants than you need, that’s the perfect opportunity to share. 

Encourage Root Growth

Once you have your cutting, your main goal is to encourage it to grow roots. Clean water is vital here, so it’s best to put your cuttings somewhere in your daily path. That way, you can easily watch them take root, and you can notice when the water needs changing. 

Follow these simple steps to help your cutting develop roots:

  1. Before you put it in water, make sure the lower portion of the stem is clear from plant material. Plant material in the water can invite mold and bad bacteria, and we don’t want that! Choose a small jar and remove the lower leaves so there aren’t any leaves in the water.
  2. Fill your jar or cup with water, and place the stem in the water. Prop up the stem if you need to. Be sure to clear away any plant material that falls into the water as well.
  3. Place your jar and cutting in a sunny window.
  4. Every couple days, change out this water, especially if you see particles floating in it. 

Your cutting will grow roots within a few weeks! 

Plant Your New Herb

After the roots have grown, plant them into some potting mix. We recommend transferring your new plant potting mix before you plant it in garden soil because soil is heavier, and all the new roots might end up glommed together. Potting mix is looser, so your roots can spread out and get a little bit sturdier before they go into a planting bed.

When you put your plant into the potting mix, clear off a little of plant material from the bottom, especially if those lower leaves look droopy. Plant all the way up to the first set of healthy leaves so that all of the roots and most of the stem are under the potting mix. 

You may choose to skip the potting mix and transplant directly outside if you have loamy soil rich in organic matter. Your plant may experience “transplant shock” and look a little sad for a few days. Just give your new plant its best chance, and keep an eye on it! 

Celebrate!

Growing your own by taking clippings is a rewarding, empowering way to add herbs to your garden. Not only can you save money on quality herbs, but you can make connections by taking clippings from garden friends and sharing the herbs you grow with others. And it’s so fun to watch them grow! Kids especially enjoy this activity and love checking for new root growth. 

Attention all gardeners! Plant Basil!

Four reasons why you want to download this FREE Basil eGuide…

  1. Learn the magic and healing properties of the basil plant
  2. Explore different ways to successfully plant basil
  3. Become an expert at nurturing and caring for your basil plants
  4. Harvest, store & enjoy your basil

Share your herb garden WINS with us!

3 Easy to Grow Culinary Herbs with Kami McBride

3-Easy-to-Grow-Culinary-Herbs

Kami McBride has been a long-time friend of Grow Your Own Vegetables and we are excited to share her with you in today’s article. 

Kami-McBride-in-garden

“Hey Kami, which kitchen herbs are the easiest to grow?”

I get this question a lot, so I thought I would write about the 3 absolute easiest culinary herbs to grow, even if you have had no success with growing herbs.

These are the 3 go-to herbs that my students have had the most success with over the years.

You can do this.

Oregano

Oregano

I have a friend that recently moved into an old homestead that had herb and vegetable gardens that were tended to for decades. The house was empty for a couple years and the gardens were neglected, no watering, no weeding, nothing.  Which herb do you think had overgrown the garden? 

Yep. Oregano.  Everywhere, oregano. I actually had never seen so much oregano. While all the other herbs needed to be watered and were long gone, oregano was holding on and actually thriving!

So if you feel like you can’t grow anything and all your gardening attempts end in failure. Oregano will turn that around! I have to weed out the oregano from my garden otherwise it would just dominate the whole place.

Gardening Tips for Oregano: Oregano does well in full sun or partial shade and somewhat dry, well-drained soil. Do a deep watering once every week or two and then let it dry out. It doesn’t need as much water as most herbs. Oregano spreads easily and is an evergreen plant that can winter over in hard frost.

Garlic-chives-bloom

Garlic chives also known as society garlic

I love to decorate my food with the pink/purple flowers of garlic chives. The fresh leaves are spicy and I use them in my cooking more often than regular chives. They are delicious added to any soup, salad or savory dish. Check out my blog on spicy edible flowers. https://kamimcbride.com/decorate-food-six-spicy-edible-flowers/

Garlic chives are anti-microbial, helping to fight colds and infections. They are also carminative, garnishing your food with garlic chive leaves or flowers helps you with digesting your food.

Gardening Tips for Garlic Chives: Garlic chives like full sun and a little shade. They are a hearty herb that grows in just about any kind of soil. They like moderate watering and well-drained soil. This plant tolerates hot and cold weather and will spread in your garden. This plant has white or purple flowers and both can be used interchangeably.

Peppermint

Peppermint

Do you think of peppermint as a culinary herb?  Tea is usually the first thing to come to mind, but peppermint is a staple culinary herb in our kitchen. You can add fresh or dried peppermint to meatballs, hamburger patties, marinades for any kind of poultry or lamb. Minced peppermint is delicious mixed into yogurt or smoothies. It also goes really well mixed into quinoa and kale salads.

Gardening Tips for Peppermint: Peppermint likes partial shade. It likes some sun, but in hot climates, make sure it gets some afternoon shade.  It likes rich soil but actually I have grown it in all kinds of soil. Keep it moist but be careful where you plant it. Peppermint sends out tons of runners and can take over your entire garden. This is one that you may want to plant in a pot so you can keep control of it. Plant peppermint in an area of your garden that gets the most water. Peppermint grows best along creeks and damp areas.

These 3 herbs can get you started growing your kitchen herbs. Try starting them in pots. Don’t put them together in pots though. Give each of them their own pot! Put them in a sunny spot on your porch, that way you can easily just grab a few snips here and there to add to your meals. Let me know how your gardening adventures go!

Kami McBrides’ mission is to inspire a cultural shift that embraces taking care of our bodies with healing herbs, a deep connection with the earth, and a lifestyle that passes this knowledge on to our children.  She is the author of the much loved book, The Herbal Kitchen, and over the past 30 years has helped thousands of people demystify the world of herbal medicine and learn just how simple it can be to use the healing power of their garden for self-care, prevent illness, and take care of common ailments.

Kami developed and taught the herbal curriculum for UCSF School of Nursing and her work is centered in sustainable wellness practices, creating self-reliance and revitalizing our relationship with the plant world.

Interested in learning more from garden experts like Kami? Check out our Best of Superfood Garden Summit Collection. It’s an inspiration celebration! Think of it as the red carpet of garden masters… in overalls and boots. Kami shares more on Herbal Medicine.