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How to take semi-ripe cuttings from herbs


As the weather turns colder in autumn, it's sensible to be prepared and insure your precious herbs against damage. Herbs that are worth spending time on include shrubby herbs that are either old, or prone to being hit by late spring frosts. The great benefit from investing a bit of time on your herbs now is that you will profit from healthy plants with a bountiful crop next year.

Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is a half-hard deciduous shrub, so it's always worth taking cuttings now to insure against a hard winter. The young plants can then be wintered in a cold greenhouse or on a warm windowsill. They will look like twigs once the leaves fall, but don't panic - they reshoot in spring, providing the compost is not allowed to dry out totally. The best cuttings are taken on a warm, dry day, before midday.

The following steps can also be used for myrtle, rosemary and sage.

How to do it


Choose your cutting material from a healthy, non-flowering stem, and cut just above a leaf node. Place the cuttings into a  wet bag (use a water spray bottle) and label it.


Once you've collected enough cuttings, seal the bag and place in the salad compartment of a fridge for up to 24 hours, until you are ready to pot the cuttings up.


Fill a module tray with a cuttings compost made from one-third fine-shredded bark, on-third perlite, and one-third multi-purpose potting compost. Firm in well.


Water the tray before inserting the cuttings so as not to disturb the new stems with zealous watering. Allow excess water to drain away before planting the cuttings.


Using snips, prepare the cutting by removing the lower leaves, leaving two sets of fully expanded leaves at the top. Remove the growing tip by cutting just above a set of leaves.


Using a small dibber, make a hole in the compost, insert the cutting, and lightly firm it in place. Cover with a propagation lid or fleece to prevent scorching. Keep the compost moist so cuttings don't dry out.

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Talkback: How to take semi-ripe cuttings from herbs
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armeria 24/10/2013 at 19:52

I took some cuttings last year and they were looking good with new leaves coming. Then they all died. What do you think went wrong?


GillyL 24/10/2013 at 20:36

Herbs don,t like to be overwatered,that could have been the problem,I always mix grit into the compost,put the cuttings around the edge of the pot and keep fairly dry.