With a little extra time and effort, you can use cuttings to propagate plants and herbs for the next season. This technique can save you from buying seed packs, since you can essentially recycle the original plant to expand your garden or indoor plant collection. If you love fresh herbs, cuttings can increase your supply. Plus, you can give successful cuttings to friends to expand their garden, and they can repay you with cuttings of their own. Once you master the technique, the possibilities are endless.
How to Propagate Plants from Cuttings
- Start this process in the early morning when the plants contain the most moisture.
- Cut a healthy stem off the main plant, just below a leaf node. The cutting should be about 3–6 inches, and take multiple cuttings since only some will successfully propagate. Use a sharp and clean blade and cut at an angle that’ll give the largest surface area for budding roots.
- Cut away any foliage from the bottom area of the cutting, leaving about half or two-thirds of the stem bare. 
- Place the cuttings in a jar of water until the plant forms new roots, which may take a few weeks or months, depending on the plant. Keep in a sunny area out of direct sunlight. Ensure the water is good quality, such as filtered or spring, or tap if the water is drinkable in your area. Do not use distilled water or water high in chlorine. Ideally, change the water every day, but every other day should suffice.
- Once the roots grow, plant the stem into a planter or outside.
- Alternatively, skip the water. Dip the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone and plant them directly into soil. Don’t use standard potting soil; a lighter substrate would more effectively help the cutting propagate, such as seed starting mix soils. Ensure the soil stays moist as the roots develop.
- Once the roots have developed, transfer the cutting into a pot or plant it outside. 
These guidelines are for all of the herbs and plants in the following list. However, some have slightly different needs, so use the above instructions along with the tips detailed under the plant name.
12 Herbs and Plants to Grow From Cuttings
Basil is a good plant for beginners to try to grow from cuttings. However, don’t cut from a basil plant that has flowered or gone to seed; choose a young plant. The cutting should be at least three or four inches long. Remove almost all of the leaves except for a few at the top, which you should trim to one-third of their size. When you place the stem in water, keep it in a bright, well-ventilated area but avoid direct sunlight and cold drafts. You can also skip the water stage and place the cutting into a seed starting mix soil. The roots should develop after two or three weeks.
Thyme has a woody stem so it needs to root in soil instead of water. So cut the thyme around a node where the leaves grow. Remove the lower leaves before planting the cutting into damp soil away from direct sunlight.
Take lavender cuttings during the summer, which is when they tend to root. The new growth cuttings should be three to four inches, cut just below the bump of a leaf node. Take off the leaves from the bottom half of the stem and remove the skin from one side of the bottom part of the stem. Plant directly into a container with seed starting mix soil; you can dip it into rooting hormone beforehand but this step is optional. Plant the cutting about two inches deep into the soil and cover them in plastic to create a greenhouse effect. Ensure the soil stays moist until the roots grow.
Oregano is a little tricky to propagate from cuttings but it can be done. Cut three to five inches of stems from a young plant, ensure the cuts are made at a 45-degree angle. Remove all leaves except for three or four leaf sets at the top. Oregano can be slow to grow roots, so you may want to add a natural rooting hormone to the water. Keep the jar in a bright area with indirect sunlight. After at least four weeks, the plant should develop roots ready for transplanting.
Mint is another good beginner’s herb when it comes to cuttings. It can develop roots in water or soil in just one or two weeks. However, these plants can be invasive. So when you transport the cuttings with roots, you may want to use a planter that will contain it. If you plant it into the ground, ensure it has deep borders around it to keep it from spreading to unwanted areas. 
Aluminum plant (Pilea cadierei)
Take a cutting with 3–4 nodes. Remove the leaves at the bottom of the stem and trip the edge around that node. Plant the stem in water or soil in a warm place, keeping the plant moist until it develops roots.
To propagate coleus, first water the whole plant thoroughly. Then take a cutting of a growing tip or a side shoot with 2–4 nodes. Remove the lower layer of leaves before placing into water or moist soil.
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Unlike basil, take a geranium cutting from a parent plant that is slightly wilted. To do this, avoid watering the plants for one week, water them, then take a cutting 12 hours later. Ensure the cutting is about 6–8 inches long.
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.)
When the parent plants become leggy, snip off tip cuttings and place them in soil or a mixture of moist compost and sand. Ensure the soil is moist but not too wet. Mist the leaves to help them stay hydrated until the roots develop enough to supply water. Take one stem and cut it into 3 inch sections then lay the pieces horizontally into the soil tray. Cover the pieces partially with sand. Enclose the entire tray in plastic until new shoots push against it, which is when you can pot the new plants individually.
Take these cuttings during the fall from a female bush (they are the ones that grow berries). Ensure the cuttings are 10–12 inches before dipping the end in rooting hormone powder and potting the stem in water or moist soil. Cover the cuttings with plastic and keep indoors as the roots grow.
In the fall, take 12-inches of hardwood cuttings that are as thick as pencils. Plant the cuttings in the desired location and water them throughout the winter.
In the spring, take tip cuttings with three pairs of leaves and place them into moist soil or a compost-sand mixture. Keep the stems covered with plastic to keep the air warm and humid. Once the roots develop, plant the cuttings when summer comes. 
Keep Reading: This Wooden Potato Planter Has a Door To Easily Access Your Home-Grown Potatoes
- “Growing your own herbs.” BBC.
- “How to Start New Plants from Cuttings to Boost Your Garden for Free.” Better Homes and Gardens. Meghan Hughes. May 12, 2022
- “16 Best Herbs to Grow From Cuttings.” Gardening Channel. Matt Gibson.
- “25 Plants & Herbs You Can Propagate From Cuttings.” Natural Living Ideas. Susan Patterson. May 29, 2020