10 Easy Edible Plants to Propagate
The only thing better than plants is free plants. If you have a friend who brags about their pomegranate tree’s perfect fruit or how their rosemary bush thrives with no water then take a cutting from their plants to grow your own. Your resulting plant will be genetically identical to the parent. If you are unsure on how to propagate plants check out my previous post:
The following ten plants create valuable food and are some of the easiest plants to propagate.
1. Rosemary (Rosmarinus)
Rosemary is one of the easiest plants to propagate and a good one for newbies. Take a softwood cutting in spring and remove all of the lower leaves (leaving 4 to 6 leaves at the tip). Place the bare stem in the soil and keep your new plant moist.
2. Mint (Mentha)
Mint is easily propagated using the same technique as rosemary. It spreads through underground stolons and can also be propagated by digging up these stolons are replanting them elsewhere. Because it spreads so aggressively, you may want to plant mint in a pot where it can be contained.
3. Sage (Salvia)
One of my first propagation attempts was a wild black sage plant, ten years later it is still thriving in my garden. This is one way we can responsibly bring the wild places we love into our home gardens (only take wild cuttings from non-threatened, well-established plants). Sage can be propagated using the same technique as rosemary.
4. Thyme (Thymus)
Softwood thyme cuttings are thin and very fragile and should be treated very gently. Creeping varieties of thyme root themselves and can be dug up and transplanted elsewhere.
5. Lavender (Lavandula)
Unlike the other plants listed here, Lavender is better propagated later in the year (summer to early autumn). Take your cutting from a non-flowering stem.
6. Grape (Vitis)
Next time you are at a winery ask if you can take a cutting from one of their grape vines, they will probably say ‘no’ and abruptly end your wine tasting but it is worth a shot. Grapes are deciduous meaning they lose their leaves in the winter. In early spring, just as new leaves begin to bud out, take a semi-hardwood cutting and place it in a pot. Grow your new grape plant in a pot for one year before transplanting it outside. You will have better success rooting your grape cutting if you place your pot on a Heat Mat.
7. Pomegranate (Punica)
Pomegranates go dormant in the winter and this is a good time to take your cutting. Go for a semi-hardwood cutting that is about 6 inches long and the width of a pencil. It is possible to root pomegranates directly in the ground (usually with less success than if propagated in greenhouse-like conditions). Just make sure they are placed in a well-tilled area and that they stay moist while rooting.
8. Fig (Ficus)
Like pomegranate trees, figs go dormant in the winter. Take your cutting just as leaves begin to emerge.
9. Prickly Pear, Nopales (Opuntia ficus-indica)
One of the easiest plants to grow for semiarid gardeners, nopales are also one of the easiest plants to propagate. Cut off one of the pads and stick it partway in the ground, that’s it.
10. Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus)
Like the nopales, dragon fruit is a cactus and extremely easy to propagate. Just cut a 6 to 15-inch section and bury it part way in the ground. If you live in an area with hard frosts you will need to keep your dragon fruit in a pot and bring it indoors in the winter.
What plants do you like to propagate? Let us know in the comments below.