If you or a friend already has mature herb plants, you might be able to start new plants quickly and easily by taking cuttings and then rooting them in water or a growing medium. See the chart for suggested herbs to start from cuttings.
Rooting Cuttings in Water
Cuttings of basil, mint, and pineapple sage root quickly in water. The best time to take the cuttings is early in the growing season, when your plants have just begun to produce new growth. Use scissors or pruning shears to clip pieces of stem that are about 6 inches long and have several leaf nodes. Clip just below a node. Place the cuttings in a clean, water-filled glass container, and set it in a sunny window. Remember to change the water daily. Roots should soon form along the lower portion of the cutting. When the roots are about ¼ inch long, plant the new herbs in potting soil or directly in your garden. (Follow the instructions for “hardening off” seedlings before transplanting the rooted cuttings to your garden.)
Rooting Cuttings in a Growing Medium
Stem cuttings of basil, catnip, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme can be rooted directly in a growing medium, such as a combination of peat moss and sand, or a store-bought mixture. Use sharp scissors or pruners to take 6-inch stem cuttings that have several leaf nodes. Strip the bottom two-thirds of the leaves from the cuttings, then dip them into a rooting hormone solution. Stick the cut ends about 3 inches deep in a pot filled with premoistened growing medium; space the cuttings about 4 inches apart. Provide indirect light and keep the medium consistently moist.
To encourage rooting, maintain a humid environment by loosely covering the cuttings with clear plastic until they form roots — about 4 to 6 weeks. Occasionally lift an edge of the plastic to mist the plants with water. When the cuttings begin to grow new leaves, transplant them to individual containers filled with regular potting soil, or to your garden. (Follow the instructions for “hardening off” seedlings before transplanting the rooted cuttings to the garden.)
ROOTING CUTTINGS IN A MEDIUM
STEP 1: Take 6-inch cuttings that have several leaf nodes.
STEP 2: Strip the bottom 4 inches of leaves, then dip the cutting in a rooting solution.
STEP 3: Sink the bottom 3 inches into a premoistened medium; maintain a humid environment until cuttings form roots.