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How to Root Herb Plants

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How to Root Herb Plants

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Overview

Before herbs were commercially available at the local grocery store, an herb garden was once considered an essential part of every home. Herbs such as rosemary, sage and lavender were combined to create herbs de Provence, a cooking blend that was used in many savory French dishes. Herbs have even been used for medicine. Lambs ear was often grown to use in place of sponges and bandages to dress wounds. In folk lore, Peter rabbit's mother brewed chamomile tea to treat his cold after his encounter in Mr. MacGreggor's garden. Rooting herbs from cuttings is a particularly easy way to grow herbs.

Step 1

Create a well-drained soil by mixing equal parts of peat moss and perlite. Peat moss is an organic material known for water retention and the beneficial organisms that it contains. Perlite helps promote well-drained soil and prevents wet feet that most herbs dislike.

Step 2

If your seedling flats aren't clean and new, sterilize them in a mixture of bleach and water. Then rinse them thoroughly and let them dry.

Step 3

Fill your seedling flats with your soil mixture.

Step 4

Sterlize your pruning tools by cleaning them with bleach. Then rinse them thoroughly and let them dry. Sharpen any dull pruning tools. You want to make clean cuts of your herbs, rather than crushing the stems.

Step 5

Take cuttings from your mature herbs by snipping off a branch just below the node where two leaves meet. Strip away these leaves. Your herbs will produce roots from the nodes where these leaves grew.

Step 6

Dip the ends of your herb stems in rooting hormone and insert them into the soil in your seedling flat.

Step 7

Cover the seedling flat with plastic to help hold in moisture and create a miniature greenhouse environment. Alternately, you can place the herbs into a pot filled with soil and place the pot into a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag.

Step 8

Water your seedlings by misting them with the water bottle. Never allow the soil to dry out.

Step 9

Check that your herbs have sprouted roots by carefully lifting the herb. When the roots are two inches long, transplant the cutting into a larger container filled with drier soil. Move the container into a lower humidity environment.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pruning shears
  • Bleach
  • Mature herb plant
  • Seedling flats or small pots
  • Plastic lid for your seedling flat or gallon freezer bag
  • Spray bottle filled with water

References

  • Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener

Who Can Help

  • How to Root Plant Cuttings
Keywords: propogating herbs, herb gardens, kitchen gardens

About this Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.