Skip to main content

You can propagate these 5 herbs indoors this winter

Kitchen herb gardens have a long history and have been gaining in popularity again. It’s nice to have something fresh to cook with that can give your meals an extra boost, whether you’re cooking to impress guests or just looking to liven up your personal meals. Propagation can be an extremely useful tool for any gardener, and that’s true for indoor herb gardens, too! Whether you’re looking to double your harvests or give plants as a gift, propagation is a great way to turn one plant into several. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, here are five herbs you can propagate indoors and how to do it.


Mint is quite possibly the easiest herb to propagate, and it will propagate using almost any method. Mint is a spreader when left to its own devices, but, in pots and containers, this isn’t always the most effective way to propagate it. Instead, here’s how to propagate mint in water.

Related Videos

Take a cutting from your mint plant. Choose a healthy, strong stem or two and cut off the top several inches with a sharp knife or garden scissors. Place the stem in a glass or vase of water, but be careful not to let the leaves touch the water! Leaves will rot when wet, so strip off any leaves that are at or below the water level.

Your mint will put out roots fairly quickly, and once you have a few thicker roots it’s ready to be planted. Gently remove the mint from the water and make sure all the roots are fully buried. Water it and watch it grow!

Mint growing in a white pot on a wooden table


Rosemary can be propagated using softwood cuttings in water or hardwood cuttings in the ground. For indoor gardens, it’s more advisable to propagate rosemary in water, though. Find a long, flexible stem or two with good color. Rosemary can grow quite tall, so scale the size of your cutting to the size of your plant. You want at least a few inches, though.

Once you have your cuttings, gently remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem. These leaves are still good, so feel free to use or save them as you see fit! Place the stem in a container of water, find somewhere to set it that isn’t in direct sunlight, and wait. Rosemary does root slower than some other herbs, so be patient. Changing the water with fresh room temperature water will help.


Basil is another easy herb that’s easy to propagate in water. The process is largely the same, take a cutting of a few inches from the plant, take the leaves from the bottom of the cutting, and place the cutting in a container of water. However, there are a few key differences.

When taking your basil cutting, it is important to cut it just beneath a leaf node. Place the water with the basil somewhere with plenty of light, and change the water every few days or once or twice a week, but stop changing the water once the roots begin to grow. When the roots are a couple inches long, the basil is ready for planting.

Fresh leaves of basil plants
Mikulas P/Shutterstock


Lavender is a beautiful, fragrant herb, and it can be propagated in a couple different ways. In winter, though, your best bet is to root a cutting in soil. When choosing the stem to take a cutting from, look for thick, sturdy, healthy stems that don’t have any flowers or buds. Remove the leaves from the bottom quarter of the cutting, and gently scrape the surface of the stem. You want to just scratch the skin of the stem to promote growth.

While it isn’t a great idea to plant the cutting directly back into the pot with the plant it came from, the potting mixture you have the initial lavender plant in will work fine for the cutting. When you plant the cutting, scraped side down, tuck it in carefully so that it stands up straight. Covering the pot with a plastic lid that lets in light will create a greenhouse for your cutting, helping it grow and protecting it from the cold.


Oregano is another herb that propagates better in water, and the process is mostly standard. Select your stem carefully, checking the leaves for any signs of disease like discoloration or pests like holes. Cut a few inches from the top of the stem, remove the leaves on the bottom half, place it in water, and set it somewhere that is brightly lit but not in direct sunlight.

With oregano, some gardeners prefer to use root hormones, which stimulate the development of roots. These hormones can be used on any plant, but not all gardeners are fond of them. Some gardeners have begun experimenting with using honey instead of rooting hormones and report some success.

These five herbs are just the beginning, but now you have a great starting point for your propagation journey. Turn one plant into several for gifts, to flesh out your garden, organize plant trades with your friends, go wild! With these easy to propagate herbs, you won’t have to worry about unseasoned food or lackluster harvests.

Editors' Recommendations

Do you live in climate zone 10? Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect climate zone 10 plants
What you need to know about caring for climate zone 10 plants
Tomatillo plant

One part of the country that many gardeners envy is climate zone 10, a warm sanctuary for a variety of plants, thanks to its very long growing seasons and mild winters. Made up of the southernmost parts of the country, this region has a climate that's ideal for multiple rounds of harvests. While it has specific challenges with blisteringly hot summers, it’s an overall welcoming environment for plant life. Below, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about zone 10 and all the plants that you can grow in it.

Where is climate zone 10?
Before we get into the specifics of climate zone 10, let’s talk about the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. When shopping for plants, you may see labels indicating a zone range — that basically tells you where the plant will be hardy for more than just one growing season. Essentially, the United States Department of Agriculture has divided the country into 13 regions, or climate zones, based on annual minimum temperature ranges. Zone 1 faces the coldest winters, while zone 13 usually has the warmest ones. Bearing this in mind, inhabitants of zone 10 will often experience warmer winters.

Read more
Gardening 101: 7 easy seeds to grow in cups for a tiny, adorable, and low-maintenance indoor garden
How to choose seeds to start inside of cups
Seed starting in cups

Many gardeners start seeds indoors during the last weeks of winter or early spring to get a head start on the growing season. When it's too cold to plant anything outside, you can start seeds indoors and transplant them in the ground once the weather warms up.

So what can you use for your seeds without spending a fortune on seed-starting trays? Plastic cups left over from parties or camping trips are ideal. Recycling these cups provides the perfect temporary (or even permanent) homes for your plants, and you'll get the cutest container garden in the process!

Read more
7 easy patio plants that will thrive into the cold winter months
Try out these no-fuss plants to add some life to your porch this winter
Wintergreen basket

When it comes to easy patio plants, there are a few questions you need to answer first. What plants do you like to grow? How much space do they need? Can you keep them outdoors during winter, or do they need to be brought inside? If you don’t have much indoor space but want to make year-round use of your patio, here are some winter plants you can grow that will fare just fine in colder climates and provide some much-needed greenery to your outdoor space.

It’s important to remember that just because a plant exists doesn’t mean it’s suitable for a container. (Try to imagine that large oak tree in your yard growing from a pot — impossible, right?) The ones that will thrive in container gardens, whether indoors or on a patio, have shallow root systems and small mature sizes, or they can be kept small with pruning and trimming. Let’s look at some of our favorites to add some color and life to your porch or patio this cold season.

Read more