Growing Thyme from Cuttings

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Growing thyme from cuttings is easy, and a great way to get yourself a new thyme plant if you are wanting to expand your herb garden. It is also an attractive plant to keep inside, and will grow well on a sunny kitchen windowsill. 

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Thyme cuttings on a white marble surface
Thyme cuttings

How to Grow Thyme From a Cutting

Thyme has a horizontal growth pattern that means it naturally propagates itself in soil. 

Using rooting hormone is recommended to speed up the process, but thyme will often root in water if the cutting is timed well and the correct stem is chosen for the cutting. 

When to Take Thyme Cuttings

The timing of when you take a cutting from a thyme plant is critical to success. 

The stem must be mature enough to survive, but not too mature as hardwood cutting from woody stems are much less likely to take root. Taking softwood cuttings increases the chances of success. 

Also, it is important not to try and take a cutting from a thyme plant that has begun flowering as it is in a different growth phase and is unlikely to produce roots easily.

Thyme usually flowers in the late spring-early summer, so early spring is a good time to take thyme cuttings. The plant should still have soft stem growth, but this is before before flower buds appear. 

How to Take Thyme Cuttings

Choose a healthy thyme plant with lots of green growth. 

When taking a cutting from any herb it is important to use sharp pruning shears or scissors, or a sharp knife. 

You need a clean cut to grow a cutting, and using a blunt tool may lead to ragged ends that could allow disease or pests to attack the cutting or the parent plant. 

When taking a cutting it is best to take half the length of the stem at the most. This will leave enough remaining on the plant that it can regrow without difficulty. 

Select a stem as follows: 

  • Soft green stems
  • At least 4 inches long
  • No flowering buds

Make the cut directly below a leaf pair (growth node), aiming for at least a 2 inch cutting. 

How to Prepare the Cuttings

Remove the lower sets of leaves from the leaf nodes until the lower half of the cutting is leaf-less, though be sure to retain at least 3 pairs of leaves at the top of the stem to assist the growth of the cutting once roots are established.

As mentioned above it is possible to root thyme just in water, though rooting in soil with the use of a natural rooting hormone is the best approach. 

Dip the bottom of each cutting into a natural rooting hormone prior to planting to help encourage the rooting process. 

Planting the Cuttings

Fresh cuttings have the best chance of taking root, so aim to plant cuttings directly after taking them if possible. 

Prepare a pot with some potting soil. Good quality potting mix is best as it will be guaranteed free of pests and diseases. Thyme requires a well drained soil, so select an appropriate brand. 

Create a small hole in the soil for each cutting, place cutting in to approximately half its depth, and then gently press the potting mix back into place around the cutting until it is standing securely upright. 

Caring for Thyme Cuttings

Keep your new thyme cuttings in a warm place out of direct sunlight while the cuttings are taking root. Mature thyme plants like full sun, but it can be too intense for the young thyme plants. 

Thyme cuttings need a little more moisture than the mature plants, however, like fully grown thyme, they are also susceptible to root rot if watered too much.

I recommend using a spray bottle to keep the soil and the cutting slightly damp, without saturating the soil. 

You may need to frequently monitor the moisture levels of the soil to get the right balance of moisture without over watering. 

How long does it take to propagate thyme from Cuttings? 

After four to six weeks your thyme cuttings should have taken root and be ready to transplant to a bigger container or into your herb garden. 

How to Propagate Thyme from Cuttings: Step-by-step guide

Thyme cuttings on a white marble surface
Yield: 1 Thyme Plant

How to Grow Thyme from Cuttings

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: <$5

Instructions for growing a thyme plant from cuttings.

Materials

  • A healthy thyme parent plant
  • A small pot
  • Potting mix
  • Natural rooting hormone

Tools

  • Sharp scissors or secateurs
  • Plant mister/spray bottle

Instructions

  1. Select a healthy parent thyme plant.
  2. Take stem cuttings of fresh green growth at least 3 inches long.
  3. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem.
  4. Prepare the pot with potting mix. Make a small hole with a stick or your finger - one for each cutting.
  5. Dip thyme cutting into rooting hormone.
  6. Plant cuttings into holes in the soil. Firm the soil around the stems so they stand up securely.
  7. Place the herb cuttings in a warm spot with indirect sunlight
  8. Monitor daily for soil moisture levels. It the soil starts to feel dry at the surface mist with water until it is damp.

Notes

  1. If some time has passed between taking the cutting and planting it, then re-trim the ends to ensure the cut is fresh.
  2. Cutting should take root and be ready to replant after 4-6 weeks.

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