The best herbs you can grow in your home all year round
Do you have some favorite “go-to” herbs? Why not grow them in water and keep them close at hand on the kitchen windowsill or right on the counter? Herbs grown in water taste just like those you grow in the garden. You don’t have to mess with the soil or worry about regular watering or changing seasons.
Most herbs will be happy to grow in water, but propagating from cuttings is easy to start in water. Annual seeds like cilantro, mustard and dill are a little tricky because you have to sow the seeds in soil or some other medium and then transfer the seedlings to water. The transition from soil to water is not impossible, but it may not always be effective because roots grown in soil are somewhat different from roots in water.
Everything you need to grow herbs in water
Here’s what you need to grow herbs in your home year-round.
For a simple herb stand in the kitchen, you can root herb cuttings in plain water in a glass bottle. Avoid using chlorinated water directly as bleaching chemicals are not exactly friendly to plant tissue. Tap water that is released into the air overnight is fine, and so is rainwater. Spring water or well water is best because it contains some dissolved minerals that plants can use.
in the container
For containers, mason jars or any other glass bottles, even plastic bottles will do. Roots generally prefer to grow away from light, so colored bottles, especially amber ones (like these) are best. You can wrap a piece of paper around the bottle to keep the root zone in the dark. This will even prevent algae growth on the pot walls and root surface. Algae do not adversely affect plant growth, but they make bottles look untidy.
Narrow-mouthed pots have an advantage: they can support the cuts and keep them almost straight. However, the mouth of the container should not be too narrow or tight-fitting around the cut. The roots need to breathe and the mouth of the pot will allow free movement of air.
If you are using a wide mouth pot, you have the option of covering the top with nylon or wire mesh. Insert the cuttings through the holes, and this will give the cuttings some support. Another advantage, especially in warmer regions, is that netting prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs and multiplying in water.
According to Arlington Arborists for Garden Care, soft cuttings are too quick to root in water. You don’t need to use any rooting hormones. If you have some herbs growing in your garden, snap 6-inch sections from the growing tips and place them in a container filled with water. The best part about growing herbs from cuttings is that you can use the ones you get from the supermarket. Wash them in plain water and cut off the bottom part.
Remove the lower leaves from the cutting and trim the lower tips near the nodes from which the roots emerge. When they are inserted into the bottles, there should be no leaves touching the water. They can easily rot and waste water, as they do in vases.
Woody cuttings like rosemary can take longer to root, so be patient. Change the water once a week without disturbing the cuttings. Once the roots begin to grow, usually in 2-6 weeks, water changes may not be necessary.
If you have a willow tree in the garden, you can steep some branches in warm water overnight to create a natural rooting hormone mixture. Place cuttings in potting soil to encourage rooting. Alternatively, rooting hormone powder can be used.
10 Best Herbs You Can Grow in Water Year Round
Here are 10 of the best herbs you can grow in your home year-round.
It is the most popular mint for medicinal use because it contains high amounts of the volatile substance menthol. This gives a unique cooling sensation to the skin or tongue, but without actually changing the temperature. Growing peppermint in water is easy; Water fresh cuttings to grow new plants.
This is another mint variety closely related to peppermint. In fact, peppermint is a natural hybrid of spearmint and an aquatic mint commonly known as water mint.
3. Oregano – This pungent herb is worth growing indoors because you can use the leaves to flavor almost any vegetable. Take fresh growth cuttings and place them in water. As soon as the plant begins to grow well, start pinching the growing tips.
Basil will love the warmth of your kitchen and will happily grow in a container filled with water as long as you provide it with good light. Cut any time before flowering. If you have a variety of basil, cutting in water is the best way to preserve your collection over the winter.
Take soft cuttings in spring and root in water. You may only need one or two sage plants as very little is needed to impart flavor. Keep the plants in bright light and in a well-ventilated area as this herb is prone to blight.
This sweet plant is good to have at home to add to freshly brewed teas and drinks. Take cuttings of actively growing soft branches and place them in water. Provide a warm spot and as much light as possible to keep this tropical plant happy and full of sweetness.
7. Lemon balm
The lemony scent of this mint-family herb is a welcome treat in any home, especially during winter. The leaves are very useful in making tea. Take cuttings in spring or fall. Place the containers in a warm place that gets plenty of bright indirect light. It may take up to 3-4 weeks for them to form roots. Keep the water clean by changing it regularly. Some people find it easier to root cuttings outdoors when the weather is still warm. It can help avoid white mildew that lemon balm is prone to. Once the new plants are well established you can bring them indoors.
Take cuttings in spring after new growth. Fall cuttings are also good, but may take longer to root. Keep the cuttings in a warm place that receives bright light. French tarragon is best as a culinary herb. Russian tarragon is mild or even soft, so use it as a salad green.
9. Thyme – You need to take green new growth cuttings. Old growth that has become hard and brown may not root easily. The best time to take cuttings is in mid-spring to early summer before the plant flowers. Thin stems of thyme can dry out very quickly, so water as soon as you cut them. Spray the top part with water if needed. Once it starts growing, cut off the stems.
Semi-woody cuttings of rosemary take longer to root, but new-shoot spring cuttings can be faster. Either way, it’s worth the effort because rosemary makes an excellent indoor plant for a sunny spot.
What are the best houseplants?
The following are the best indoor plants to consider.
1. peace lily