By Sam Burbach, Education & Programming Coordinator – 10/02/2020

With frost on the horizon, the stateline area growing season nears an end for our heat-loving tender annuals. While we can’t bring our heavy producing tomato plants inside for winter, we certainly can enjoy some fresh herbs indoors through the fall and winter. It’s easy to start a fresh herb plant from a simple cutting out of the garden before the frost sets in.

Plant propagation is the process of growing a new plant, either through seeds (sexual reproduction) or through vegetative parts of the plant (asexual reproduction). Through vegetative propagation, a section of the stem, roots, or leaves is removed from the mother plant and manipulated to regenerate itself into a genetically identical new plant.

Many soft-stemmed herbs easily produce new roots through stem cuttings, which means you can create new plants to bring into your house to use and enjoy through the colder months. What makes it even better is that the cuttings just need to be placed in a glass of water to initiate root growth.

Herbs to try rooting in water:
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Lemon balm
  • Stevia


Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Herb plant
  • Clean scissors/clippers
  • Clean glass or jar
  • Room temperature water
How to grow a new herb plant from a stem cutting:
  1. Find a healthy stem of your desired herb plant that has not started flowering yet.
  2. Take a cutting of the stem that is approximately 4-6 inches long.
  3. Remove the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the stem, leaving 4-6 small to medium leaves at the top.
  4. Re-cut the bottom of the stem just below a leaf node (where the leaves come out of the stem).
  5. Place the stem in a glass of water, making sure the top leaves are not in the water.
  6. Change the water every couple days to inhibit the growth of bacteria and algae.
  7. Watch for roots to begin to grow. Once the roots are 1-2 inches long you can carefully transplant your new plant into a pot with potting mix.

Allow your plant to get established in its pot and grow a little bigger before harvesting from it, and do not harvest more than 1/3 of the plant at a time to keep your plant healthy.

Enjoy your new herb plant!