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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

DIY: Grow Your Own Herbs On The Cheap

You can either plant your cuttings in soil right away or place them in water until they grow roots. Either way, growing your own herbs from cuttings is easy!

basil plant in a cup of water

Photo: Diana Bauman

Once the cuttings have established roots, plant them outside in a pot and keep them in the shade for a week until their roots grab hold and become stronger.

Grow It Yourself

I was at the farmers market a few weeks ago when I mentioned to my mami that I was in search of basil and mint plants to grow at home. There are two of my favorite herbs, and I hadn’t started them from seed.

She looked at me and said, “Why don’t you just buy some cuttings and plant them?” I was dumbfounded.

“You mean I can just plant fresh cuttings in the dirt and they’ll grow roots?”

“Yes,” she replied. “You can pretty much do that with any plant. Buy it for a buck, plant it and you’ll have it growing like crazy.”

I was excited at the idea and picked up some fresh basil from Blue Gate Farm and some mint I found for $1.00.

After purchasing them, my mami explained that I can make my cuttings and plant them as is right in the dirt, or I could make the cuttings and place them in water until they grow roots.

I decided to use both methods and share a little bit about what I’ve learned along the way.

Propagating Stem Cuttings By Water

  1. From one large stem, make your cuttings.
  2. Pull off any bottom large leaves and flowers, if you have any.  This will redirect the plants energy into forming roots. Place the cuttings in a small glass or mason jar using filtered water.
  3. Change the water every 2-3 days and within a couple of weeks, your cuttings should start to grow roots.
  4. Don’t let the roots grow longer than 1 1/2″.  Once they have established roots plant them outside in a pot and keep them in the shade for a week until their roots grab hold and become stronger.

  • Two Basil Plants Compared For Growth

    Image 1 of 4

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    The photo on the right shows how much the basil has grown over a two week period compared to when it was planted (left).

  • Basil Stem Being Cut By Scissors

    Image 2 of 4

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    Make your cutting.

  • Basil Stem Held In Hand

    Image 3 of 4

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    Remove any large bottom leaves.

  • Basil Stem With Big Bottom Leaves Removed

    Image 4 of 4

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    From here, plant the cutting directly into soil and water. Keep moist at all times until they grab root and start to grow.

Diana Bauman

Diana Bauman created A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa to preserve her family's traditional Spanish recipes. She is an advocate of our local foods movement and spends her time urban homesteading and blogging about whole (REAL) foods.

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  • Mike Lieberman

    I’ve never done this before and have been lookin for some simple instructions. Will def have to give this a shot.

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