Author Topic: Propagating Herbs from Cuttings  (Read 7741 times)

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Planter

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Propagating Herbs from Cuttings
« on: March 02, 2011, 06:25:34 PM »
Often it is preferable to propagate some plants from cuttings rather than seed because it can produce plants faster, and may be necessary to retain a plants characteristics, especially if it is a cultivar which requires asexual propagation.
To help preserve the integrity of the clones it is best to propagate only healthy looking, well growing tips or parts of the plant. Keep an eye out for diseases, especially viruses which will easily spread from plant to plant while you are taking cuttings from various plants.
I prefer to treat with rooting hormones (IBA, IAA) and root directly into potting media. Currently I use a rice hull mix with additional perlite and turface to improve porosity. You can also use a mix like 50/50 perlite/vermiculite, or 75/25 perlite vermiculite depending on your material.
Here I have a branch from a Salvia officinalis 'Icetrina' variegated garden sage

This branch is a little too big for what we want, so it must be trimmed back. Ideally you want to have at least one node of the cutting in the media, the mode nodes the better. I cut the banch where the nodes become dense at the base. You also want to remove a number of the large leaves from the cuttings, and sometimes cut some in half.

I usually let the cuttings soak in a solution of the rootin hormones (1tbsp of hormodin 3 in 250ml water) for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness and woodyness of the cuttings. Here I have 6 Rosemary cuttings soaking with a purple sage cutting and the Icetrina cutting

I root small cuttings like these out in 1" seedling plugs. Here i have filled the plugs with moist media and made holes for the cuttings.

Then, once the cuttings have been put into the media, press the media down gently to secure the cuttings and add more media to level it off if necessary. Then I water them down with the hormone solution they were soaking in. Then they go into the rooting chamber, a clear rubbermaid tub. When rooting like this you generally need to maintain a high humdity, but the plants still need to breath so the chamber should be opened at least 1x a day, or sometiems with my larger ones i have air pumps for aquariums running into each which slowly pumps fresh air into the chamber but still mainttains the proper humidity levels. Put the whole chamber on a heat mat to increase the speed of rooting and keep it in low light

I mist the plants down with water right before putting them into the chamber as well. You want the media to remain moist, but not overly wet. Depending on the plants, they will root out the 1" plugs fully in 1-3weeks. Sometimes I root lager cuttings, like Salvia divinorum, in 2"x2" pots, some you can see in the above picture.

I do this for most of my various Salvia sp., and other common herbs like rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basils, peppers, anything herbaceous.
Once you see roots coming out of the bottom of the plugs or pots, the plants should be strong enough to be taken out of the chamber. Some plants require a little extra care coming out of the high humidity if the environment is on the dry side, but if they are well enough rooted and dont have too much leaf area, they can be repotted and if kept moist they should be fine. Keep them in lower light for a day or two and then you can give them more light and then either take them outside to the shade or put them under full light indoors. I usually fertilize them with a light solution after transplanting to larger pots as well.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 11:22:32 PM by Planter »
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Planter

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Re: Propagating Herbs from Cuttings
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 02:48:01 PM »
It has been about 2 weeks since the above cuttings were taken and some of the Rosemary has started to root out well. Since the humidity around the cuttings is high, roots are able to grow above the soil level, and the fuzzy appearance of the roots is the root hairs which are collecting moisture from the air.

I will probably leave these cuttings for another week or so to insure they are well rooted, as I didn't see roots coming out the bottom of the plugs yet.

Here are two Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) cuttings which were taken about a month ago.

They took a little longer to root out than normal but they rooted, this is about how well you want the root balls to be when you transplant them. It also helps to make sure the root ball is moist, but not too wet. if it is dry though the root ball may fall apart more easily and the plant might not transplant as well.

If you wait too long, after the cuttings have rooted well they will begin to try growing again. If they grow out much in the humidity chamber the new growth is often very sensitive to changes in humidity and will dry out quickly when removed from the chamber; the plant will survive in most cases, but some of the new growth can end up drying up.
I transplant from the 1" plugs usually to 2" square pots.

I like to plant the root balls 90deg offset, because this makes it easier to pack in dirt around the root ball, and prevents disturbing the rootball as much
Fill the pot up the rest of the way with media and water the plant in lightly, I usually like to give a light dose of fertilizer as well. The new media the plant is in also has some Sustane 4-6-4 slow release in it.


Heres 4 Salvia guaranitica 'Omaha' that have rooted out well enough to be repotted. Salvia's generally produce large roots quickly.


"Once you establish yourself, they got to accept ya!"