Introduction: How to Propagate Herbs

About: Building design/consulting in Vancouver, WA. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to look in construction dumpsters :) ---the way some have to workout everyday... i have to …

Propagating herbs is in many ways easier than succulents and houseplants. The trouble is that they really are only best during the summer and spring. Anything less than 6 hours of direct sun and growth drops off quickly.

My typical approach isn't to soak but I was inspired (as always) by JessyRF's Pathos Propagating. I thought the water may let me use smaller samples and stimulate root growth. I think it helped the larger basil plants but did little for the smaller samples.

Stick with 2-3" plus size samples for success at greater than 50%.
In this demo I was closer to 20% with these <2" samples. But it shows you... even a small sample works for herbs!

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

Potting herbs direct in damp soil requires simply... a pot, potting mix and herbs.

Herb Samples... came mainly from a friend's yard ---but also a few from a local grocery. (questionable move... I picked a tarragon and rosemary sprig from a plant at the store)

  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Basil

Mint - can't miss. If you ever question your ability to propagate simply place a pinch of mint in the ground. In the final step you'll see what mint from a friend's yard grew into with only clay soil, limited sun and a mn winter.

Step 2: Planting

Plant into dampened soil. You'll want to strip the lower leaves and bury 50% plus. I use a nail to create a space for the herbs and simply pinch the soil to provide sufficient.

Step 3: Rooting + Growth

The whole process form planting to the last photo was 35 days. The majority of the leaf growth came in the last 7-10 days. The first 10-15 days is all root growth.

Why not 100% success? The main threat to these young plants is water content... There would have been a greater success rate had the plants not been drowned by a series of heavy rains in the first week. Part of the test was to see how little attention they could manage. I tried to water on hot days but missed a few along the way.

Further Propagating - I decided 35 days was sufficient for these plants. The basil and oregano are now large enough to pull suckers to start propagating further.

Step 4: Final Notes

Best results... The basil looking great and is further along than direct seeded basil that was started 2 weeks earlier (around May 1).
No Fail Mint... planted the end of last season it took a few months to develop roots from say Sept '17-first frost... By June '18 it shows a bushy crop.
Scrawny Starts... A few of the plants I started were too small. The sad thyme, rosemary and tarragon never took. Heavy rain and a bloom of mildew took out nearly all the little shoots... A little thyme is just starting to send up suckers.

Thanks for reading! The goal of my posts is to help remove hurdles from baking, gardening, chicken raising... too often they are made to seem like high bars when really there is no very limited downside to getting started.

Here are a few instructables that remove hurdles from baking:
Crackers - easy process simplifed to key ingredients
Pasta - start making it today. no machine necessary