April 2nd, 2009 by admin

Many herbs grow well from cuttings, too. Take them in the post-flowering period if possible, or if you are not letting your herbs flower (in order to get the best fragrance and flavour), take cuttings after the new growth of the spring has hardened off a bit, otherwise they may wilt and not strike. Late summer is often best of all, as the stems are now strong and more woody, and cuttings taken with a “heel” of old wood at the base have every chance of striking.

I prefer to use the same seed-box soil mixture for striking cuttings. I have found that the sand medium often recommended is not so satisfactory for herbs, and the added nutriment in the richer mixture has no harmful effect on tender new herb roots. In fact, cuttings strike so well that they then suffer very little acclimatization worries when transferred to similar soil in the open garden, window box or pot. Put the cuttings fairly close together round the outside edge of a large terracotta pot, and water them sufficiently to keep the soil moist. A mist-sprayer or small atomizer is useful, too, to keep the foliage damp during the day. Each time you pass the cutting pot, have the spray handy, as tests have proved that cuttings root better if their foliage is kept slightly moist.

You can tell when your cuttings have rooted and are strong enough to transplant by observing their leaf growth. You will have stripped most of the old leaves off when first planting them, and perhaps nipped off the top shoot as well. When new leaves are growing strongly, you can be sure your cutting is alive. Leave it a week or two longer, then transplant to its new home. Unless these new leaves are formed, the cutting has not taken root, and is not viable.

Almost all herbs grow well from cuttings, with the exception of clump-forming ones like borage, comfrey, dandelion, lemongrass and horseradish.


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