Growing Herbs by Layering

When the stems of some herbs (especially mint, thyme, and oregano) touch the soil, the plant might sprout roots at the point of contact. When this occurs naturally in your garden, the new plantlets can be separated from the main plant, dug up, and relocated. You can use this same process, called layering, to propagate lavender, lemon balm, prostrate rosemary, Roman chamomile, sage, tarragon, and winter savory.

LAYERING

Plants that sprawl or creep, such as mint or oregano, are easy to propagate by layering.

STEP 1: To layer a low, creeping herb such as mint, choose a long, flexible stem low to the ground. Starting 3 to 4 inches from the tip, remove the leaves from a section that is a few inches long

STEP 1: To layer a low, creeping herb such as mint, choose a long, flexible stem low to the ground. Starting 3 to 4 inches from the tip, remove the leaves from a section that is a few inches long.

STEP 2: Use a pair of sharp scissors to gently scrape the outside layer from that section of stem

STEP 2: Use a pair of sharp scissors to gently scrape the outside layer from that section of stem. This will encourage the stem to make roots at that point.

STEP 3: Carefully bend the stem to the ground and cover the scraped section with soil. Anchor it in place with a small rock, then water thoroughly

STEP 3: Carefully bend the stem to the ground and cover the scraped section with soil. Anchor it in place with a small rock, then water thoroughly.

STEP 4: Keep the area moist until roots grow–usually within 4 to 6 weeks. The following spring, clip the “mother stem” and dig up a new plant. Transplant it to its new garden location

STEP 4: Keep the area moist until roots grow–usually within 4 to 6 weeks. The following spring, clip the “mother stem” and dig up a new plant. Transplant it to its new garden location.