Check out this list of 12 herbs you can grow in water.

Check out this list of 12 herbs you can grow in water.

Can You Really Grow Herbs in Just Water?
Yes. You absolutely can. You can start new herb plants by taking cuttings from existing plants and putting them in a container of plain water. The herbs will sprout roots that will draw up water (and any available nutrients )to the cuttings to create new plants.

Water bottles work very well or any container with a smaller lip. This keeps the herb leaves from falling into the water. I also like to tie my herbs with a little twine as you can see in the photo above. This keeps them neat and tidy.

I also use this method also to keep my store-bought herbs fresh longer. And while it doesn’t work as well as when I take fresh cuttings from an existing plant. I’m often surprised by how long they last. I’ve even had grocery store herbs bloom when keeping them this way.

  For long-term growth, you’ll need to put them in soil or else set up a hydroponic growing system with nutrient solutions and growing mediums.

How To Grow Herbs In Water – 2 Different Ways
Rooting Cuttings
You can multiply your plants quickly and easily by taking soft-stem cuttings and rooting them in water. Here’s how it works.

Take stem cuttings between 4 and 6 inches long from healthy plants. If possible, choose fresh young stems without flower parts. If there are flowers, rub them off.

2. Remove leaves from the bottom half of your stem cutting. This will prevent the water from getting murky.

3. If you are rooting one of the trickier herbs (such as rosemary or lavender), you can use a rooting solution to help it along. Set your cutting in a container of rooting solution for several hours. Submerge the stripped part and keep the leaves out of the water.

4. Fill a container with tepid water. A clear glass container makes it easy to check on rooting. A dark pottery vase will retain solar heat and also shield roots from light.

5. Submerge the leafless part of the stem in water in your container. Keep the leaves above the waterline. Use a container that is narrow at the top, so they don’t accidentally fall in. I’ve used a champagne glass above which is a good size for just a few stems.

6. Place your container on a sunny windowsill or another warm, well-lit place.

How To Grow Herbs in Water – Plus The Top 10 Herbs That Will Take Root
Last Updated: September 17, 2022 By Joanna H

three pots of herbs growing in water next to the window
Have you ever tried growing herbs in water? Whether you want to start new plants or grow a small herb garden in your kitchen, many herbs will take root and continue to grow with a little tap water and a warm window.

Does that sound too easy? Well, there are a few tricks to it. And some herbs do better than others.

But you don’t need a fancy setup or a lot of equipment to get started. You can get a good start with a plain container of water and a little time and attention.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different ways you can grow herbs in water. Then we’ll go over the list of the herbs that are easiest to propagate and sprout roots.

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Can You Really Grow Herbs in Just Water?
herbs growing in small bottles on my windowsill at the farm
Yes. You absolutely can. You can start new herb plants by taking cuttings from existing plants and putting them in a container of plain water. The herbs will sprout roots that will draw up water (and any available nutrients )to the cuttings to create new plants.

Water bottles work very well or any container with a smaller lip. This keeps the herb leaves from falling into the water. I also like to tie my herbs with a little twine as you can see in the photo above. This keeps them neat and tidy.

I also use this method also to keep my store-bought herbs fresh longer. And while it doesn’t work as well as when I take fresh cuttings from an existing plant. I’m often surprised by how long they last. I’ve even had grocery store herbs bloom when keeping them this way.

For long-term growth, you’ll need to put them in soil or else set up a hydroponic growing system with nutrient solutions and growing mediums.

How To Grow Herbs In Water – 2 Different Ways

Rooting Cuttings
You can multiply your plants quickly and easily by taking soft-stem cuttings and rooting them in water. Here’s how it works.

Take stem cuttings between 4 and 6 inches long from healthy plants. If possible, choose fresh young stems without flower parts. If there are flowers, rub them off.
several basil cuttings laid out ready to be put in water
2. Remove leaves from the bottom half of your stem cutting. This will prevent the water from getting murky.

removing the bottom leaves from cuttings
3. If you are rooting one of the trickier herbs (such as rosemary or lavender), you can use a rooting solution to help it along. Set your cutting in a container of rooting solution for several hours. Submerge the stripped part and keep the leaves out of the water.

4. Fill a container with tepid water. A clear glass container makes it easy to check on rooting. A dark pottery vase will retain solar heat and also shield roots from light.

basil cuttings in a champagne glass with water
5. Submerge the leafless part of the stem in water in your container. Keep the leaves above the waterline. Use a container that is narrow at the top, so they don’t accidentally fall in. I’ve used a champagne glass above which is a good size for just a few stems.

6. Place your container on a sunny windowsill or another warm, well-lit place.

two examples of herbs growing in water – freshly cut stems and a mature basil plant with a healthy root system
7. Change the water every few days. Warmish/room temperature water is best for rooting—hot water can kill the plant, and cold water will slow down root development.

8. Wait for roots to emerge. You should begin to see white rootlets within a couple of weeks.

9. When roots are ½ “-2” long you can transplant your herbs into plant pots, either in soil or in a hydroponic growing medium.

10. You can also keep them in containers. Many will last for a few months. Some just a few weeks. Either way, it’s a convenient way to keep herbs at the ready in your kitchen for your next meal.

Hydroponic Growing
If you want to grow herbs indoors without soil over the long term, you’ll need a somewhat more complex hydroponic growing system.

In a hydroponic herb garden, you need to provide nutrients and a growing medium as well as water and light. There are different ways to set up such a system.

You can attach plants to foam floats on the surface of a nutrient solution. This is the method used by kits like the Aerogarden.
You can suspend plants in a nutrient solution in net pots filled with a soilless growing medium or substrate. This is the method you may see in a Ball jar hydroponic kit.
The beauty of these systems is that they are self-contained, so they provide all the needs of the plant within a small growing space. If you want to get started in hydroponic growing, check out our list of hydroponic kits for beginners for a few of our favorites.

List of Herbs That Will Root in Water
The following list is alphabetical, but some of the more challenging herbs appear early in it. Mint and thyme might be the easiest herbs for beginners to root.

Basil—Take cuttings early in the season, before the plants begin to bloom. Transplant into soil or another solid growing medium once roots are 1-2 inches long. Or leave them growing in water.

Basil can last for several months in just water as you can see from the photo below, they will develop quite large root systems.