Learn how to propagate herbs from outdoors to bring them inside for the winter.
Who Is Herb Propagation For?
If you are interested in growing your food indoors over the winter. There is nothing like fresh herbs especially in the dead of winter. If you’re a big fan of houseplants, then I would like to suggest turning some of those into plants you can actually eat!
Why Not Bring In The Whole Plant?
Bringing in a potted herb plant, or digging up your outdoor herbs, greatly increases the chances of bringing in bugs from outside. Most pests lay eggs in the soil. By only using cuttings, and washing them well before planting, this reduces the likelihood of introducing pests onto your houseplants.
Secondly, depending on your growing zone, the variety of herb might be perennial to your zone. Meaning if you dig it up and bring it in, it won’t have a chance to come back bigger and better next season (especially if you accidentally kill it indoors).
It’s a great way to skip over trying to start herbs from seeds. Herb’s are one of the fussier seeds to get going sometimes. It also skips a lot of time waiting for germination and growth.
Make Use Of The Extra Bits To Propagate Herbs
I like to harvest the majority of my herbs to bring in for drying or other preservation methods at the end of the season. There are always little extra bits that don’t get used and makes for a great opportunity to propagate them.
Step 1: Washing
As I mentioned above. Washing the herb cuttings well first will reduce the bugs you potentially are bringing into the house. I soak them in the sink for a little bit and then give them a good rinse.
Step 2: Trim Lower Leaves
Strip off the bottom leaves of each stem so you don’t have a bunch of leaves underneath the soil. Be gentle so you don’t damage the actual stem itself. Leave a small section of leaves on the very top of the stem. The plant doesn’t need a ton of leaves, it needs to focus on root growth.
Step 3 (optional): Water Propagate
As you will see in this video I skipped straight to potting up the cuttings. If you want to increase your chances of success, particularly if you are new to propagating herbs, then I suggest trying out water propagation. This means the cuttings go into water for a while until they sprout roots. You can watch my full tutorial method in this video by clicking this link.
Step 4: Pot Up
I am using 3” square pots and filling them up three quarters of the way. Leave the soil loose. Poke a deep hole and insert the cuttings as deep as you can, leaving a little bunch sticking out of the top. Very lightly pack the soil around the cuttings. You want the plants to be able to put out roots. If you pack the soil like concrete, they’re going to have a really hard time with that.
I am not using anything super fancy, just black earth potting soil out of the bag, added a small amount of perlite for aeration and some orchid mix (not necessary). I had the orchid mix lying around. It contains wood chips and a bit more perlite. I just like to add that in because it helps with moisture, aeration and just gives a little bit more sort of structure to the soil.
Be very careful with watering right after these are potted up. They don’t have roots yet. You want to give them the tiniest little dribble, keep the soil barely wet so that they can start to produce roots without rotting the stems.
Make Small Plants Bigger
They will start out small if you only have a small amount of cuttings. They will get bushier bushier over the winter as they grow. If they’re under grow lights, they will grow a little quicker than on a sunny window sale. Eventually you can start to take more cuttings off of those plants, water propagate them, or stick them right back in the soil. You can get more plants growing or get bushier plants growing by doing the exact same thing
You do not need grow lights. A south facing window sill is great but an east or west facing will do. Better quality light means a faster and more productive plant. To be able to harvest lots from your plants regularly I would suggest grow lights but you will find you can still get small harvests with just a sunny window.
So you want to learn how to grow food indoors over the winter?
This is something that I absolutely love to do, given that we have pretty long Canadian winters.
If you’re a houseplant fanatic, like me, why not turn that plant habit into one that can also produce food for you that is organic, free from pesticides, herbicides and is picked at peak ripeness.
I am currently developing an online on-demand course to teach you how to grow food over the winter time and also how to seed starting all your starter plants in the spring for outdoor growing.
- Learn about what a good indoor growth setup looks like, how to improve upon yours, how to reuse things you already have to build an indoor grow setup.
- Find out which plants are best suited to indoor growing.
- How grow lights would work, if you really need them, which plants really need grow lights and which ones don’t.
- What happens if bugs show up on your indoor growing setup?
- How to fertilize the seedlings.
- Ideal pot sizes and space that’s needed for what you’re growing.
- Troubleshooting when things are going as planned!