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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!

Getting Started Growing Your Own Vegetable and Herb Seedlings

Seedlings are the baby plants you see at the nurseries, ready to be transplanted into your garden. But you might want to grow your own instead. While there are many benefits of starting your own vegetable and herb plants from seeds, there is one BIG reason why you might consider purchasing instead. Here’s the most important considerations for growing seedlings at home. 

Benefits to growing your own:

  1. You know exactly how the seedlings were grown. Ensure your plants are grown organically without any toxic chemicals entering your garden. When purchasing ask whether plants have been treated. 
  2. You ensure your plants immunity is high for a healthy life. Temperatures and conditions are important to baby plants, and stress at a young age can cause transplant shock or a weak plant that doesn’t yield well. Sometimes you bring home a seedling, plant it, and it dies. And you’re not sure if it’s something you did. But it could just be a plant that wasn’t cared for properly.
  3. You have complete control of when you put plants in the ground. When purchasing transplants, you are relying on what’s available at the stores. And what you want is not always there when you need it. Growing your own means you can plan ahead for your most abundant harvest.
  4. You have access to hundreds of varieties of vegetables. There are so many varieties of mustard greens and tomatoes on the planet that nobody could even tell you how many there are. And that’s true of most vegetables. Choose exciting varieties for flavor, yield, what grows well in your climate. 
  5. You save money. Once you get the hang of growing HEALTHY plants and you have all the supplies, you will save money. However, the first few years, planting your own can actually be more expensive than buying transplants. This is the one BIG reason you may want to purchase instead.

Three garden supplies essential to growing your own seedlings

You’ll need 1) growing medium (not soil), 2) containers to put it in, and 3) grow lamps if you’re growing indoors. We’ll focus on containers in this article. But real quick, our favorite growing medium is Fox Farm Ocean Forest, It’s got everything your plants need in one bag, from earthworm castings, bat guano, sea-going fish & crab meal to forest humus and moss. This mix will not disappoint!   Click here to get it on Amazon. And here is a bulk order option

This article is too short to include recipes for making your own mix. A couple key ingredients to include are perlite, vermiculite, peat moss or Canna Coconut Coir and Wiggle Worm – Worm Castings. For small gardens choose the 4.5-pound size. For larger gardens choose the bulk 30-pound option.

This is not a complete list, just some of our favorites to get you started.

Reusable Containers for Starting Vegetable and Herb Seeds


Generally, plastic trays are flimsy and end up in the landfill after just one or two uses. However, one farm is changing all that and helping to redefine our relationship to the Earth. Bootstrap Farmer offers durable trays with a one year warranty against warping and breakage… that’s amazing! Clean trays between use to prevent disease spread.

These are the best, longest lasting trays on the market. And they have different cell sizes available. Get cells for smaller varieties like lettuces here and get larger six cells for your larger transplants like tomatoes and cucumbers here.

Containers You Plant Right in the Ground

Avoiding plastic altogether?, Consider Fertilpots over at Arbico Organics which compost right into your soil. Plant the whole thing in your garden and avoid any transplant shock from handling the plant. Unlike many similar compostable products, they are OMRI listed meaning the ingredients have been tracked as organic. Fertilpots are breathable and help prevent roots from getting root bound, too. However, the downside is that you have to keep buying more.

“Soil Blocking” Eliminates the Need for Containers

Soil blocking is a process where you press your growing medium together into squares that hold together without the need for containers. Once you have the right equipment for this process, you never have to buy containers ever again. However, you do have a higher initial investment to get started.

There are benefits to this method: no cleaning trays, conserving growing medium, and providing optimal root health. The details of how to soil block effectively is the topic of another post. NOTE: You’ll need to mix your own special growing medium (not one that you can buy at a big box store), and a bit of time to get used to the process. 

Soil blockers are for anyone who wants to get away from plastic, has a little extra time and money, wants the healthiest seedlings and plans to garden long term. 

20 Cell Soil Blockers come in a hand held and stand up  versions. The stand up soil blocker is much easier on your wrists, shoulders and back. 4” Soil Blockers are the largest blocker available and are perfect for your larger transplants like tomatoes, gourds, cucumbers, eggplant, etc.

How do you make your garden decisions?

Ultimately, there are many garden choices you will make. Some questions to consider: What do you really have time for? What feels like the best environmental choice for you? And what amount of investment feels good right now? Whatever suits you and your lifestyle is the right choice for you. And that goes for making decisions about seed starting at home, too.  

Check out our NEW Garden Freedom Series Micro Course for more information and instruction on successful seed starting. In this course, you’ll find resources for setting clear goals that reflect your values and make gardening everything you need and want it to be…

 

NOTE:  This article contains affiliate links and Grow Your Own Vegetables, LLC may be compensated when you click and purchase through the links above. By purchasing through these links, you’re supporting our mission to help green the planet and create food stable communities across the globe. We only recommend products we LOVE and that help growers on their quest for a fresh food lifestyle.

You Don’t Need Seeds to Grow Herbs

Did you know that you don’t need seeds to grow your own herbs at home? All you need is access to healthy plants to take a start from. Whether they are from a friend’s garden or the grocery store, it’s simple to get started.

It doesn’t work for all herbs, but it does work for most.

Learn how to get started in this video:

Please share what herbs that you are going to try to do this with in the comments below.