Grown for its warm herbal goodness, oregano is a plant that is beautiful as well as useful. The plant features deep green oblong leaves and a trailing, spreading habit. Whether you use tons of oregano in your cooking or you are new to cooking with fresh herbs, adding an oregano plant to your indoor herb garden will give you both visual and culinary pleasure.
Once you have an oregano plant and get used to cooking with it, you may wonder, “Why stop with one?” And that is a fair question. Growing plants indoors can be a bit addictive, and you will soon find yourself drawn to the garden section of the hardware store, oohing and aching over the possibilities.
However, one thing that can limit the desire to acquire more plants is the pocketbook. There are so many plants to enjoy and sometimes, the checkbook balance keeps us from having all of the plants that we would love to have.
That is why true indoor gardening aficionados have to get creative and find new ways of getting more plants. One way of doing this is learning to propagate plants by using cuttings.
Ways of Propagating Plants
Most people who have not gardened before think that the main way of getting new plants is to grow them from seeds. And that is sort of true. Sprouting seeds is a very low-cost way of getting new plants. The disadvantage of using seeds is that it can take awhile to get an established plant when you use seeds, and some plants do not grow very well from seeds.
Another way of propagating plants is to divide the plants. This just means that when you have a plant that grows in clumps, you manage to split it in half at certain times of the year to get new plants that way.
The last way of propagating plants, and the one that is perfect for adding new oregano plants to your indoor herb garden, is propagating by cuttings. This method of making new plants takes a stem of an existing plant and helps it to grow on its own and become a whole new, independent plant. This is a very cool way of getting an unlimited supply of plants for your collection.
Things You Need to Propagate Oregano by Cuttings
You do not need any special equipment to start your own oregano plant from a stem cutting. In fact, if you have been doing a bit of indoor herb gardening, you probably have exactly what you need on hand already.
Here are the things that you need to be successful at propagating oregano from cuttings.
- A small pot
- Loose, well draining potting soil
- Sharp gardening shears or scissors
- A healthy parent plant
- Rooting hormone (optional)
- A small glass or jar of water
- Plenty of patience and enthusiasm for growing things
Taking a Stem Cutting
Before you can start this process, you have to have a good healthy stem cutting from a good healthy oregano plant. If you already have one, then that’s great! Otherwise, you can talk to a friend who has an oregano plant and get a cutting from them. If their oregano plant is outdoors, be sure that you examine it for insects or diseases.
Even if you are not familiar with plant diseases, it is okay. Just select a plant that has full, green leaves with no nibbled spots, yellow specks, or shriveled leaves.
When deciding what to cut from your plant, you should choose carefully. You want to choose healthy non-flowering stems. You do not necessarily want long stems. Small four to six inch sprigs are exactly what you need. You want soft, flexible green shoots and not tough, woody stalks.
While it is best to get stems from a live plant, if you don’t know anyone with an oregano plant and you can’t find one at the store, you might have some success taking a cutting from some fresh sprigs of oregano in the produce department. Select the freshest oregano that you can find.
Preparing the Stem
After you have several soft, flexible sprigs of oregano, you will want to strip the leaves from the lower 2 to 3 inches of the oregano sprigs’ stems. Next, use your scissors to snip the stem at a 45-degree angle.
Using Rooting Hormones or Even Honey?
After you have trimmed the ends of your oregano sprigs neatly, you can dip the stem into a bit of rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is a substance that helps encourage the bits of plant matter to grow new roots. For oregano, you do not necessarily have to have rooting hormones, so do not be discouraged if you don’t have any.
You will likely still have success without using rooting hormones. To use rooting hormone, wet the oregano stem lightly and then dip it in the rooting hormone so that the powder will stick to the stem.
One thing to keep in mind is that you should read the labels carefully before you use a synthetic rooting hormone. Some products require you to wait months or even a year before you consume any part of a plant that was rooted with these products.
Some people use honey to help their cuttings take root. Studies have shown that honey isn’t quite as effective as synthetic rooting hormones, but it does have antifungal and antibacterial properties. These properties keep the plant from rotting or developing fungal problems as the plants’ natural rooting mechanisms begin to work.
Honey will not require any kind of waiting period before consuming the plant.
Just dip the stems into the honey and then proceed as directed below.
Letting the Plant Grow Roots
If you are using a synthetic rooting hormone, you can plant your oregano stems directly in some soil. Use a pencil to make a hole in the soil and insert the stem into the dirt. Just gently press the soil around the stem and keep the plant watered. After a few weeks, it will begin putting out new growth, indicating that it has created new roots.
If you are not using rooting hormone, you will need to let the plant develop some roots before you put it into some soil. Just place the prepared stems into a small glass or jar of water. Make sure that the bottom 2 inches of exposed stem is covered by water.
After four to six weeks, you will notice tiny roots developing along the stem of the oregano stem. If the water starts to look cloudy or green, change the water and wipe out any funky mess that is growing in the water. Place the jar or glass in a bright, sunny window as you are rooting the stems.
After the roots are several inches long, you can pot the plant in a pot of soil. Be sure that you keep the young plant well watered as it makes the transition from the water to living on its own in a pot. However, you should not let the soil get waterlogged or soupy. Your pot should have drainage holes to allow excess water to drain from the dirt.
Another Way of Rooting Oregano–Layering
If you already have a mature oregano plant, you may want to choose another way of propagating your oregano cuttings. This method is called layering. You can take an existing stem and bend it toward the surface of the soil. Remove any leaves from a small section of the stem that will make contact with the dirt, while leaving the leaves on the tip of the stem undisturbed.
You may want to gently scrape off the outer surface of the stem to expose the inner layers of plant matter on the section of stem that will make contact with the soil. Use an unbent paper clip to pin the middle part of the stem to the ground and allow the tip of the stem to protrude a few inches from the dirt. Cover the part of the stem that made contact with the soil with a bit of dirt and water the stem.
After a few weeks, the oregano stem will grow roots in the dirt-covered portion of the stem. When the new plant shows evidence of new growth, you can cut the stem away from the parent plant and dig up the new baby plant to put it in its final place.
When you know how to propagate oregano from stem cuttings, you can have an unlimited supply of oregano for your indoor herb garden. If you want to share new oregano plants with your friends and family members, you will easily be able to do this. Growing oregano from cuttings is a great way of increasing your supply of plants for absolutely no money.