Taking Cuttings from Sage and Basil
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Wendy Gerber
Posted on: October 23, 2003

I have a few questions. I live in South Florida, USA, and would like to cut my sage and my basil plants. They are getting too tall. Where do I cut and should I put the cutting in water or right in the soil?

Cut off the top one third of the plants and the bottom should produce bushy new growth. I would suggest that you use the cut off portion in cooking right away or dry them for later use. Most of the basils are annuals and even if you get the cut off portion to root it is a waste of time in the fall. If you want to make a cutting of the sage it may work, but the better time for most cuttings is the spring. However, since you live in a very long growing season area, even the fall may be OK. Cut the stem close to a node, cut off all but the youngest leaves, and insert into a sterilized pot of sterile soil. Water, drain and enclose in clean plastic. Put pot in a bright spot out of direct sun. For woody plants the fall may be better, but the cutting should be overwintered in a sand bed -kept moist and often it will then root in the spring and start to sprout. After growth has begun, you can gradually remove the plastic bag.

To increase the ease of rooting of any plant it is a good idea to prepare willow water and use it to water the plants. To prepare willow water, cut a handful of willow stems, put them into a glass of clean water and after two to three days use the water to water in your cuttings.

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