Top 10 Herbs to Root in Water

Rooting herbs in water is a simple and effective way to propagate herbs and create new plants. By placing herb cuttings in a jar or vase filled with water, the cuttings can grow roots and establish themselves as new plants. If you are someone that uses herbs in your cooking, this is a great option to propagate your herbs with minimal effort.

In this article, we look at the top 10 herbs you can root in water and the benefits of propagating herbs this way.

Benefits of Rooting Herbs in Water

There are many benefits to rooting herbs in water rather than rooting in soil. Let’s have a look at some of these.

Propagating When Difficult to Seed

There are herbs that are difficult to grow from seed or are not readily available in nurseries and with such herbs, rooting in water would be the best option.


Rooting herbs in water also allows you to easily monitor the progress of the roots. With the right care and attention, rooted herb cuttings can be transplanted into soil and grown into healthy, mature plants that can provide a bountiful supply of fresh herbs for cooking and other uses.

Less Maintenance

It’s a fact that rooting in water doesn’t require much maintenance as compared with rooting on soil. You get to free yourself from tedious maintenance tasks such as tilling the ground, clearing the soil of harmful debris and organisms, and weeding.

Less Space Needed

The amount of space required for propagating is less. Rooting in water doesn’t require much space and it can be done with a container or small tub. Also, if the container or tub is portable, it can be moved and stored from one area to another, especially when keeping the rooted plants on and off the shade as you need.

Less Costly

Rooting in water is also an inexpensive alternative to rooting in the soil. Garden soil requires a certain amount of minerals as well as fertilizers for plants to flourish. It also requires proper moisture and aeration to supplement enough nutrition plants.

Spending on good quality soil can trim off a few dollars to a hundred from your wallet depending on the area of your gaTypes of Gardensrden. Using water as a rooting medium can reduce these costs.

Faster Yields

Rooting in water shows faster yields than rooting in the soil. This is because water-rooted plants don’t require much time to search for nutrients and minerals as these are provided evenly in the water.

Now that you know the benefits of rooting in water, let’s look at our top 10 herbs you can easily root in water.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

basil plants

Basil is among the most versatile herbs available in the kitchen and is also among the easiest and fastest herbs to root in water.

Snip a 4-inch cutting just below a node, remove lower leaves, and place the cutting in a glass of water. Keep the glass in a sunny spot and change the water every 2-3 days.

Remember to change the water once or twice a week to get rid of accumulated dirt as well as harmful microorganisms. This is also to ensure that the plant gets a good amount of nutrients and minerals from the changed water.

As soon as the roots grow to about 2 or 3 inches, it’s possible to transfer them to soil.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

cilantro leaves

Cilantro, which is also known as coriander, is a great herb to root in water. It gives a distinct flavor to any dish and has a ton of health benefits.

To root cilantro in water, choose a healthy cilantro plant that has several stems and snip off the stem at a point just below the node. Remove the mature leaves from the lower area of the stem and place in a container with water. Roots may start to emerge within 1 to 2 weeks and can be transplanted onto soil.

For best and continuous harvests, leave the plant to grow and mature for at least 2 months before you harvest.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger is a popular spice and herb that can be rooted in water. But with ginger you will need to follow a different approach. Follow these steps to root ginger in water:

  1. Start by selecting a fresh piece of ginger root that is plump and has several “fingers” or sections.
  2. Soak the ginger root in water overnight to help it absorb moisture.
  3. Fill a jar or glass with enough water to submerge the ginger root.
  4. Place the ginger root in the water, making sure that the flat end is facing down.
  5. Place the jar or glass in a warm, sunny spot, but not in direct sunlight.
  6. Change the water every few days to prevent it from becoming stagnant.
  7. After about 1-2 weeks, you should see small green sprouts emerging from the top of the ginger root.
  8. Once the sprouts are at least an inch long, you can plant the ginger root in soil in a garden bed, or a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.
  9. Place the ginger root in a warm, humid spot, but out of direct sunlight.
  10. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and within a few weeks, you should see new growth emerging from the soil.

With proper care, your ginger plant should continue to grow and produce fresh ginger for several months.

Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

lavender growing

Lavender isn’t just loved for its aroma and scent but also for its aesthetics of beauty.

To root lavender in water, take 4-inch-long cuttings that have 2 to 3 leaves on its stem. Submerge half of the stem length in a container with water and make sure it stands upright by lining the bottom of the container with pebbles or stones.

With proper care, it is possible for lavender cuttings to root in water within 2-4 weeks. Remember that not all cuttings will successfully root in water, and at times may need a rooting hormone that you can add to the water to encourage faster growth.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

lemongrass herbs cut

Loved for its lemon-mint taste and refreshing aroma, lemongrass is among the herbs that can quickly root in water.

To start, have 5-inch cuttings from the bottom part of a mature lemongrass plant. Submerge half of the cutting in a container with water and make sure that it doesn’t fully submerge by lining pebbles or stones at the base of the cuttings.

Store in an area with good exposure to sun for fast and healthy growth. For faster maturity, add liquid fertilizers to the water. With proper care and nutrition, roots can start to emerge within 2 weeks and can be transplanted to soil right away.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

rosemary on the plate

Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen herb that can be rooted in water.

Once you have a mature rosemary plant, choose cuttings from newly grown branches. A good way to know if the branch is newly grown is to check if it is soft. The older branches are stiff and hard.

With rosemary, not all cuttings can root in water because rosemary can be very woody. It tends to have low levels of rooting hormones and the stems are highly susceptible to rotting. A good idea is to try several cuttings when rooting in water for better chances of rooting.

To root rosemary cuttings in water, simply submerge half of the cuttings in a container with water and expose to direct sunlight. Replace water with a new batch every 2 days to ensure there is proper nutrition and to remove any harmful bacteria or organisms accumulating in water.

Mint (Mentha spp.)

field mint

Mint is a popular herb known for its refreshing scent and taste. It belongs to the Mentha genus and is commonly used in cooking, tea, and aromatherapy.

To root mint in water, you can take a stem cutting from an existing mint plant, making sure to cut just below a node. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the stem, leaving a few leaves at the top intact. Place the stem cutting in a jar or vase of water, making sure that the bottom half of the stem is submerged in the water.

The stem will begin to produce roots from the nodes where the leaves were removed. The new roots will absorb water and nutrients from the water and allow the stem cutting to grow into a new mint plant. It’s important to change the water every few days to ensure that it stays fresh and oxygenated, which will help the new roots develop more quickly.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)


Sage is an herb that is commonly used in cooking and herbal medicine. It belongs to the Salvia genus, which contains many different species of plants.

Sage has a strong, earthy flavor and aroma, and is often used to season meats, stews, and other savory dishes. It is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, such as sore throats and digestive issues.

Sage can also be propagated in water like other plants by cutting a stem with a few leaves and placing it in a jar of water. Remember to change the water every few days. With proper care, sage cuttings can start developing roots within 2-3 weeks. However, it may take up to 4-6 weeks for the roots to become strong enough to transplant the cutting into soil.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

thyme plant

Thyme is an herbaceous plant that belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It’s commonly used in cooking, as its leaves and flowers have a strong, earthy, and slightly minty flavor that can enhance the taste of many dishes. Thyme is native to the Mediterranean region but is found in many parts of the world today, including Europe, North America, and Asia.

In addition to its culinary uses, thyme has also been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, such as treating respiratory and digestive issues. Thyme essential oil, which is extracted from the plant, has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, and is used in aromatherapy and as an ingredient in various cosmetic products.

Rooting thyme in water is a relatively easy process. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Take a healthy and vigorous stem cutting from your thyme plant, about 4 to 6 inches in length. Cut just below a node (where the leaves attach to the stem) at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Strip off the leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the stem. Leave a few leaves on the top.
  3. Fill a clear glass jar or vase with fresh water. Make sure it’s deep enough to submerge the bottom of the stem.
  4. Place the stem cutting into the water, making sure the bottom 2 inches are submerged.
  5. Place the jar in a bright, but not direct sunlight location, such as a windowsill.
  6. Change the water every 2-3 days to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  7. Within a few weeks, you should see roots starting to form at the bottom of the stem.
  8. Once the roots are 1-2 inches long, carefully transplant the thyme cutting into a pot with well-draining soil and place it in a sunny location.
  9. Water the newly potted thyme frequently and keep the soil moist until the plant establishes itself.

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile is an herb that comes from the Asteraceae family of plants. There are two main types of chamomiles: German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The herb is known for its sweet, apple-like aroma and its calming properties.

Chamomile is commonly used in tea and herbal remedies due to its numerous health benefits. It has been traditionally used to calm nerves and reduce anxiety, aid in digestion, and promote sleep. Chamomile is also a natural anti-inflammatory, and it has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

If you are looking at rooting chamomile in water, follow these steps:

Chamomile can be rooted in water by placing a healthy stem cutting of about 4 to 6 inches long. Remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the stem before placing in water. Remember to change the water every 2 – 3 days. It may take up to a few weeks to grow new roots. Let the roots grow to about an inch in length and transplant in well-draining soil.

FAQs about Rooting Herbs in Water

1. What herbs can be rooted in water?

Many types of herbs can be rooted in water, including basil, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme, among others.

2. What kind of water should I use for rooting herbs?

It’s best to use clean, fresh water for rooting herbs. You can use tap water that has been allowed to sit for a few hours to allow any chlorine to dissipate, or you can use filtered or distilled water.

3. What kind of container should I use for rooting herbs?

A glass jar or vase works well for rooting herbs, as it allows you to easily monitor the progress of the roots. Make sure the container is clean and free of any soap residue.

4. How do I take a cutting for rooting herbs?

Take a cutting from the herb plant that is about 4-6 inches long and has several sets of leaves. Remove the leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the stem.

5. How long does it take for herbs to root in water?

The time it takes for herbs to root in water can vary depending on the type of herb and environmental conditions, but it typically takes around 1-2 weeks.

6. How often should I change the water when rooting herbs?

It’s best to change the water every few days to prevent the growth of bacteria and ensure that the cuttings have access to fresh oxygen.

7. Should I use rooting hormone when rooting herbs in water?

Using rooting hormones can help to encourage the growth of roots, but it’s not necessary for all types of herbs. Basil and mint, for example, will often root well without the use of rooting hormone.

8. How much light do rooted herbs need?

Once the cuttings have developed roots, they should be gradually acclimated to more light before being transplanted into soil. Place the cuttings in a bright, but indirect light for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time they spend in direct sunlight.

9. Can I transplant rooted herb cuttings directly into the soil?

Yes, once the cuttings have developed roots that are at least an inch long, they can be transplanted into soil. Be sure to keep the soil moist and provide the cuttings with plenty of light as they continue to establish themselves.

10. How do I care for rooted herb cuttings in soil?

Water the newly transplanted cuttings regularly to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Provide them with plenty of light and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or harsh winds. With the right care, rooted herb cuttings can grow into healthy, mature plants that provide a bountiful supply of fresh herbs.

The Wrap Up

Rooting herbs in water is quick and easy to do and provides better yields than rooting in the soil. What you need to bear in mind is that every classification of the herb in this list has its own level of care, nutrition, and other requirements.

Adhering to this proper care can ensure healthy growth as well as continuous harvests. With a better idea of what herbs, you can root in water, why not try this out next time you want to propagate some of your well-loved herbs?