Simple Ways To Grow Herbs… Cheap.

Posted · 20 Comments


I was at the farmers market a few weeks ago when I mentioned to my mami that I was in search of basil and mint plants to grow at home.  Two of my favorite herbs that I hadn’t started from seed.

She looked at me and said, “why don’t you just buy some cuttings and plant them?”  I was dumbfounded.

“You mean I can just plant fresh cuttings in the dirt and they’ll grow roots?”  “Yes,” she replied.  “You can pretty much do that with any plant.”

“Buy it for a buck, plant it and you’ll have it growing like crazy.”

I was excited at the idea and picked up some fresh basil from Blue Gate Farm and some mint I found for $1.

After purchasing them, my mami explained that I can make my cuttings and plant them as is right in the dirt or I could make the cuttings and set them in water until they grow roots.

I decided to use both methods and share a little bit about what I’ve learned along the way.

Propagating Stem Cuttings By Water


From one large stem, make your cuttings.

Pull off any bottom large leaves and flowers, if you have any.  This will redirect the plants energy into forming roots. Place the cuttings in a small glass or mason jar using filtered water.

Change the water every 2-3 days and within a couple of weeks, your cuttings should start to grow roots.

Don’t let the roots grow longer than 1 1/2″.  Once they have established roots plant them outside in a pot and keep them in the shade for a week until their roots grab hold and become stronger.


Watch them grow!

Propagating Stem Cuttings In The Soil


This is by far my favorite method because it’s easy.  The photo above is over a two week period but you can already see the growth and they are even larger today.

Make your cuttings.
cutPull off any large bottom leaves.


Plant your cuttings directly into the soil and water.


Keep moist at all times until they grab root and start to grow.  Easy.

The things you learn from walking with someone older and much wiser.  Gracias mami!


Have you propagated any stem cuttings?  Please share what you’ve started in the comments.


20 Responses to "Simple Ways To Grow Herbs… Cheap."
  1. Faith M. Wood says:

    And that works well with mint? I need to try that as I couldn’t find any plants this year at the nursery.

  2. Faith, it works awesome with mint. I’ve cut and directly planted in soil and in a pot. It’s taken off!

  3. Faith M. Wood says:

    Wow, right in the soil? That’s great to know. Thanks!!

  4. IAMSNWFLAKE says:

    Here, in Argentina, the basil you buy from supermarkets is usually a couple of plants pulled out of the ground with roots and all. They are wrapped together in newspaper by the roots (which keeps them fresh and moist). So, at home, we usually buy one or two packets, use some of the leaves and place the rest in a pot in the balcony. They adapt very quickly (thankful, I guess, of having a second chance in life). Those plants will keep us provided throughout spring and summer.

  5. I love growing herbs from cuttings, and have done so successfully with rosemary, basil, oregano, and mint in the past, all just by sticking the plants in a glass of water. Right now I am getting some chocolate mint and stevia going. I have also regrown a butter lettuce that had the roots attached, and sprouted mustard seeds from the pantry. Love getting new plants from items I was going to buy anyway!

  6. Sara says:

    I just posted on the second method myself, after seeing it described over at the kitchn. I’ve tried the first method a few times but have not had luck, I think, in retrospect, that I didn’t keep things moist enough. The cilantro I just bought at the grocery store came roots and all so I’m going to stick it directly into the soil again and see what happens.

  7. Enas Ghaly says:

    I started my mint garden from 2 plants I plant one in front of my central air condition and one in the back of it. Now it grows every year and fill in all the areas around the utility boxes and my air condition in my backyard and smells so good.

  8. Barb Jones says:

    I’ve done with tomatoes and house plants lots of times, but never thought about trying it with herbs. Great idea!

  9. Tammy says:

    Ok, don’t I feel like an idiot? LOL I have been wondering for some time how to get the herbs I would like to use more often growing. Sheesh, thanks for sharing!

  10. DebbieM says:

    I just did this the other day with sweet potato cuttings ( that I planted in April – I thought they could spare some vine!). Out of 13, only one doesn’t look too great. I just put them right into the dirt and have kept them watered well. I did give them a little boost with liquid kelp.

  11. melissa says:

    I need to do this with my mint- it’s not looking too hot, maybe I should take some cuttings in case my mother plant dies! I’ve done this with woody herbs, just never thought about it with things like basil- think I might give it a try!

  12. That’s what my dad does all the time! :o) He has always taught me that I can easily grow a lot of plants and herbs by simply taking a cutting from a healthy strong plant.

  13. I just did this as an experiment– one of my littlest basil plants was broken off in a storm. So I snipped the end and stuck it in an old Pellegrino bottle. We’ll see if it takes root!

  14. I’ve plopped basil in water many a time. I also do this when I want to prune my basil to encourage “bushing,” but I’m not quite ready to use the basil that day. Learned during my CSA days that the stems will keep for a long time in water.

  15. So glad to read this!! I love basil, and over the past couple years I just buy a new plant for $3.99 whenever I run out. I figure it’s still cheaper than buying the fresh herbs. But now to find out I can grow off that plant is awesome!!

    Thanks so much for sharing Diana!! Can’t wait to try it!

  16. Lana says:

    I still miss my huge basil bushes that I had growing in my garden in Ohio, but if I can play with dirt on my California patio and have fresh basil for cheap, I will be somewhat comforted:) Great idea, Diana!

  17. Kathy says:

    I usually start roses from stem cuttings and had 50/50 success. I cant believe I never thought of doing this with herbs because some of the seedlings of herbs are so small.

  18. John says:

    Sprouting cuttings in water works better if you use a Dark colored beer bottle or jar to limit the amount of light on the new roots. For starting in the soil, Dip cuttings in some “Root Tone” A rooting hormone before planting will almost always give you success

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