lemon verbena cuttings

noinwiJuly 24, 2005

Can anyone tell me the best method for rooting LV cuttings? I have a plant that I've overwintered three times now and I don't think I can do it again as I have moved and only have a west facing window that is right above a baseboard heater that will be used constantly this winter. My plant is now in a raised bed and looking pretty healthy but is small and very leggy. It will be too cold here to leave it outdoors. I've tried rooting cuttings in water before but they just rot. Thanks in advance for any help.

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Softwood stem cuttings, preferably those with a âheelâ, may be taken from an established plant at any time during the growing season, but preferably from non-flowering stems in late summer.

Or you can just take soft tip cuttings and stick 'em straight into the dirt. When I was commercial, I used to dip the cut ends into some pure honey to ensure faster root development, but now I don't bother, since I just take the occasional cuttings for friends.

For all cuttings, it's best to make the cut on an angle, not straight across.

Striking cuttings in water is not a method usually included in the best horticultural textbooks. Some plants will grow roots this way, but they are usually the 'drinking' roots only, not the 'food' roots. Plenty of people will disagree with me, but a plant propagated in this way, IMO, is never as healthy as one propated in 'dirt' - a plant's natural medium.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 6:58PM
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Thank you for responding. You must have great dirt. I tried to get a start last year by burying part of a stem that was already resting on the ground and held it down with a small rock. At the end of the season there were no roots.
Should I stick my cuttings in a pot or in the ground? How many weeks before first frost will I need? Sorry about all the questions but LV is one of my favorite herbs and the one I have the most trouble propagating.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 9:01PM
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If you try to propagate by layering, it's best to scar the outside bark a little first on the underside, especially if the stem is woody. I've never tried it with lemon verbena. And if you had a rock on top of you, I wonder how well you'd grow? No, hold the branch down with a piece of bent wire inserted into the soil just so the scarred piece touches the soil. Best to try this with something small like thyme, or something softer like geranium, until you've been shown how deep to do the scarring on woodier plants.

And no, I don't have 'great dirt'. Because I grow only herbs, it's quite poor soil, really. Stick the cuttings into a pot if you want, or into the ground if you want. It won't matter. It helps to cut off the top section of leaves, and to cut the remaining leaves in half (to reduce transpiration), and bury the cutting just deep enough to cover the nodes of the bottom leaves which you removed. Water the cuttings in well.

Let me try that again. Take your cutting. Chop off its head. Remove the bottom couple of pairs of leaves. With secateurs or scissors roughly parallel to the stem, cut the tips off the remaining leaves. Then plant the cutting.

If you want to get fancy and have money to burn, buy some special 'propagating mix' potting soil.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 12:46AM
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Thanks much! I don't see how I can go wrong with this great info!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 10:42AM
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I used to have terrible luck with cuttings in potting soil until I switched to seed=starting mix. It holds moisture better and is usually sterile so cuttings have a better chance. I have been amazed with the results.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 11:41PM
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