Recently I took a few herb cuttings. Herbs are extremely fun and useful plants to have around the garden. Aside from being fairly pest free they sure can add some oomph to the dinner table. The first flush of growth is spring is one of the best times to take cuttings of many perennials - including herbs. Stem tips are exactly what the word sounds like - cuttings taken from the tip of the stem.
I took cuttings this weekend from three easy to grow and root perennial herbs: catnip, lemon balm, and mint. I also took some cuttings of a thyme. The thyme cuttings were very woody and so I would classify them as hardwood cuttings rather than stem tip. It's something of an experiment with no guarantees but it roots easily with layering and I thought I would give some cuttings try.
|Catnip, Mint, Lemon Balm, and Thyme Cuttings|
The mint roots so easily that after two days it already has roots in many places. The catnip should root within a week and the lemon balm just over a week - as long as my cuttings weren't taken too early. My lemon balm hasn't flushed out a whole lot yet and and I probably should have waited a week. It's a good self-sower too so if you have a plant that went to flower last year look around for baby lemon balms this spring!
To take stem tip cuttings count down from the tip 3-4 nodes and make a cut with a clean pair of scissors or pruners. I try to make sure my cuttings have about 2-3 inches of stem with them which means I may have more than 3-4 nodes depending on the plant. Mint will propagate with much less! Then I take the cuttings and put into a container with wet sand. For these herbs I didn't use any rooting hormone, it's not necessary all the time. Many plants will root so easily on their own that adding rooting hormone is rather pointless, catmint and mint especially!
My next round of cuttings will probably include salvia and artemisia. What will you be propagating this spring?