Herb cuttings

7 February 2018
One of the many ways to cut costs in your kitchen garden is to take herb cuttings. I do it at this time of year but you should do a bit of research and see if it's viable in your area now. My common sense tells me, but I don't know for sure, that if you provide a protected light position, out of the sun and wind, cuttings taken now, in most warm climates, would grow. Out northern hemisphere friends would need to wait till later in the year. I take cuttings now because they're starting to look a bit ragged after summer, they need cutting back and the weather is still warm - it's hot but not as firece as it was a few weeks ago.

These are oregano cuttings. Even the ones on the left side, with very few roots, will probably grow well. I got about 12 cuttings from these clumps.

If you lift up the oregano at the side of the pot, you'll notice a lot of fibrous roots.  Just cut out a clump and divide it up to plant.

If you have herbs growing and you don't want to take cuttings, now is a good time to cut them back and give them a drink of whatever delicious organic fertiliser you have on hand.  Comfrey, seaweed or any of the liquid commercial feeds are good for this.  If you buy a commercial fertiliser, try to get a good organic one - it's better for the soil, the plant and you.



I now have cuttings of rosemary and bay, both semi-hardwood cuttings, which I struck last week.  I'm also planting up soft cuttings of oregano, sage, mint and lavender. I use all these herbs frequently and adding them all to my shopping list would cost me at least $20 every week!  Much easier to grow them and as they're so easy, even a beginner could do it.  The cuttings are not always successful, but you get around that by striking many more cuttings than you need.

This is a box of Welsh onions I planted up last week.  I pulled the onions out of the ground, cut off the top, tidied up the bulbs and planted each in its own space. After a week, the onions are growing fast with about four inches of green growth already.

You'll need:
  • A plant to take cuttings from
  • A medium sized plastic pot
  • Well draining potting mix, sand or Perlite - not garden soil
  • Pair of sharp scissors or a sharp knife
Before you start taking the cuttings, prepare the pots so you can get the herbs back onto the soil fast. Fill the pots with your mix, tap it down to firm it a bit and with an old pencil, poke holes for your cuttings in the mix. You'll be able to grow about 10 cuttings in one medium sized pot.

A rosemary cutting.

Take the cuttings early in the morning before the sun starts drying the plants out. Snip off about a 10 cm side stem that has no flowers. Or if you have herbs such as oregano with roots that you can cut a clump from, do that. When you have 10 -12 cuttings, go to your potting station, strip off the lower leaves, then cut the majority of the leaves off the top. You want some greenery but too much will allow the cutting to lose too much water and it might die. 

Cut the bottom of the stem again at an angle (more surface area for roots to grow) and dip the tip into some hormone rooting solution or raw honey.  This helps roots develop faster. Place the cutting in a hole. Firm the soil in around each cutting and water in. You could also use a weak solution of liquid fertiliser or seaweed concentrate.


Take the cutting pots to a warm protected area, out of the full sun and wind.  Water  twice a week. When you see new growth appearing, you can pot each cutting on to its own pot or into the ground. 

Good luck and happy gardening! 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱

22 comments

  1. I am having no luck with my garden, my oregano died as soon as i planted it out. As soon as something pokes through, the next day its gone. So im focusing on compost and getting it ready for my autumn planting of onions and cauliflour (only things that really grow in Canberra).

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  2. Thanks so much for this information!

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  3. Our rosemary bush was getting a little large and so I cut some branches and displayed them like I would cut flowers in a large jar in the kitchen. The display lasted weeks and what's best, by the end of it the branches had considerable roots growing out the bottom. So I took them all, trimmed them and planted them out the front. Most of them didn't survive but one has taken and I hope to grow a nice rosemary bush from it in what was just a bare patch in the garden. You are right Rhonda, herbs are fabulous to grow - so easy but a big saving in the end. By the way, I have a lot of purslane in the garden. Most people consider it a weed but since finding out about how good it is for you, I now leave it to spread and use it in a lot in salads and other things I make. What's best is you can't kill it! :)

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    1. Rosemary is such a great plant. I hope that one piece grows into a healthy plant out the front.

      I use purslane in salads when I see it here but mostly we have Gotu kola growing wild on our land. It's here in all seasons but grows best in autumn and spring.

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    2. Had to look gotu kola up Rhonda - never heard of it! :) But it appears to like warmer climes.

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  4. Yhank you for the reminder. I noticed my oregano was looking rather sad. I really need to give it a good haircut. I will also try to get a few new plants to strike from this one. I think some lovely potted herbs would also make some great Christmas presents. If started now they would be lovely and lush come December.

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  5. I took a few cuttings from my Mother of Herb (Five Seasons Herb) plant just the other day and simply poked them into some little pots I'd filled with some good soil, a bit of sand and worm castings too. It tends to form roots very readily and makes a great addition to a herb garden. I hope to grow them and then transplant them into terracotta pots to give away as gifts. Meg:)

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  6. Cuttings and root division is a great way to expand, renew and share garden plants. Personally, I find putting a plastic bag over the top of the pot and securing with a rubber band and then sitting the pot in a dish of water, only about 1 cm of water in it, helps with the "strike" rate and also helps stop water loss for the plant through transpiration. Like you Rhonda, I find if I put 10 cuttings in, most root up and I've got excess, but if I only put one or two in, they die :(. At the moment I have 5 figs growing from prunings - eek. Cheers Lyndie

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  7. All my herbs are under deep snow. Think we have more snow than we have had in decades. My oreganos are allowed to spred for the bees sake. They like mints too. Never had honey bees in my garden before except a whole escaped bunch years ago. The story is: An old woman is mooving into a home for aged near by. She has always kept bees and were allowed to bring two hives to the nurseryhome. That must be the bees in my garden the last summers. We 'green ones' long for spring here. I've started soving a few flowers inside. Rhodochiton atrosanguinum needs several months to flower - also called 'Purple bell wine', 'Black Man's Willy'. In Sweden it's called 'Sleeping Beauty's dress'. In Norway we call it 'Blood Goblet' - a not so nice name for these beautiful flowers. Try to keep them living in the greenhouse in winter, but sometimes they die, so I always sow in january.

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  8. This is such useful information! It's still winter (well not really because I live in California and it's 80*F right now) so I'll probably want to wait a bit. But I love this, so I pinned it into my gardening board for later!

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  9. How amazing is the timing of this post... I snipped some of my neighbours delicious rosemary a couple of weeks ago and popped it into a glass of water. 3 of the 4 of the cuttings had grown roots so last night I took a pencil and popped each one into the garden. I looked this morning and they are all standing upright and not wilting - win!!!

    I have trimmed (read: used) a heap of my parsley recently, and I also planted a used bunch of shallots that is now growing strongly again. I like to "refresh" them every so often or they get too big.

    I also had call to use Tarragon in a recipe the other day, so I bought a small punnet and that's gone in the garden too. We had 83mm of rain over the weekend, so it's thriving also. At the same time I bought the Tarragon I bought Spearmint, because they were 2 for $3 or $2.50 each, and that's taking off too. Looking forward to lots of yummy herbs for cooking soon!!

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  10. Love learning about herbs. They bring so much to home cooking. When planting herbs do you keep them in pots or plant right in the ground? I planted spearmint a number of years ago in the ground and it took over my whole bed. I would like to have a herb garden outside my back door.

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    1. You'll need to do some research for what to plant in your area. Mint is notorious for taking over gardens, oregano can do it to a lesser extent. Make a list of what you want to plant, then find a site that has information about YOUR climate and what you can plant. But if you want to plant mint or oregano, just plant them in pots and put them in the garden with the herbs in the ground. I prefer to have some herbs in the bush house because our climate is too extreme in summer.

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  11. I live in Florida and I can't, for the life of me, grow herbs. I just dn;t know what I am doing wrong. That said, I DO have flat leaf parsley in a number 10 washtub that actually DID survive since last summer so I am NOT touching it, haha. But my fav's, Thyme, Oregano, Basil (especially) and almost anything else, just does not do well. Sad face big time...

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    1. Barbara....we have the same problem in Hawaii with Italian basil but I find Thai basil grows really well....it is just a matter of changing the image in your mind. The same goes with oregano.....I grow Cuban oregano....very different looking plant but easy to grow and same flavor. Aloha

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  12. Great article with practical tips, thank you!

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  13. I love rosemary, oregano and basil and they are so easy to grow in the sun tropics. My favourite hone made bread is rosemary and walnut bread and all three combined with tinned tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and olive oil make the most delicious baked pasta sauce. Another plant I have just started propagating is Lebanese cress. It’s really easy to grow and you can just throw it in a salad

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  14. I’ve never tried perlite to propagate with, thank you for the hint. I love growing herbs, I think it’s one of the easiest ways to add a bit of flavour to a meal, scrambled eggs on sourdough with fresh chives is a favourite here.
    Susie

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  15. yes herbs are one thing that like the heat here too though not too much for the oregano which needs to be moved to a shadier spot; basil comes up every year so do a few others feverfew is just so pretty when it flowers that i encourage it to spread everywhere; flat leaf parsley also does well here; it's all in seed now & have a few neighbours & friends who want some.
    herbs are the most practical plants to start with, as they do well in pots as well as in the ground.
    indeed happy herbing
    thanx for sharing

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  16. I used to have an herb garden right outside my kitchen window back in the early 90's, but we've moved and I had to give it up. Now I would enjoy growing herbs indoors year round if I had a nice place to put the pots where the plants would do well. But I'm not too much of a successful gardener. My husband on the other hand loves to get out into the soil and get his hands dirty!:)

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  17. Forgot to sign my name on the last post.
    Sue M.

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  18. Hi! I just found your blog, but I'm looking forward to spending some time poking around and reading some of your past posts :) We are just at the end of winter here in Missouri and still getting ice. I'm looking forward to getting seeds planted soon and I'm in the process of deciding which herbs and veggies I want to plant this year. Have a blessed day!

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