Propagating herbs from cuttings to produce new plants
With very little effort, you can quickly produce many new herbs! And all for free! How? In late summer, take cuttings from herbs such as lavender, rosemary, sage, and thyme! We’ll show you how simple it is to propagate herbs from cuttings to grow into new plants.
Cuttings are taken from this season’s growth, from stems that are beginning to harden up, or ripen, before winter. The base of the cuttings should be slightly woody, while the tip of the cuttings will still be soft and pliable.
How to Take a Cuttings
- Cuttings are best taken in the morning when it’s cooler, as plants are less likely to wilt.
- Choose a non-flowering stem that is healthy, undamaged, and disease-free.
- With a sharp pair of clean pruners, take a cutting of 4 to 6 inches long. Trim your cuttings to this length by making a clean cut just below a leaf joint. Cut or pull off the lowest leaves so only about three or four remain.
- Dip the end of the cuttings into organic hormone rooting powder or gel to improve the chances of success.
Place the cuttings into a plastic bag to stop them drying out. If you can’t prepare the cuttings immediately, keep them in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours until you’re ready to do so.
Rooting Your Cutting
- Cuttings need very free-draining potting soil. Mix potting soil 50:50 with sharp sand, or alternatively mix one-third sterilized topsoil, one-third sharp sand and one-third leafmold.
- Fill plastic pots (or plug trays) with your cuttings mix.
- Now carefully insert the cuttings up to the first set of leaves, and firm them in. Label the pot, water well and leave to drain. You can place about three cuttings into a 4-inch (10cm) pot, or insert one cutting per cell of a plug tray.
- Firm the potting soil around them, and water them.
- Keep your cuttings in a warm, humid place such as a cold frame or greenhouse. Provide shade from hot sun, make sure the cuttings mix remains moist, and ventilate in hot weather.
- If you don’t have a cold frame or other suitable structure, you can keep humidity high by covering pots with clear plastic bags secured in place with rubber bands. Keep your pots on a bright windowsill, but out of direct sunlight.
Cuttings can take a little as six weeks to take root, or may take up to four months.
Growing Cuttings On
Leave your cuttings in their pots until spring, by which time they should be well-rooted. They’re then ready to be potted on.
Remove the cuttings from their pot and carefully tease the roots apart. Plant them in individual pots of fresh potting soil. Grow them on for a few more weeks, and then they’ll be ready to plant outdoors.
Taking cuttings and successfully growing them into mature plants is deeply satisfying! If you’ve taken cuttings like this before, let us know how you got on by dropping us a comment below.
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