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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:

Free Plants: How to Propagate Plants From Cuttings

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. 

propagating rosemary

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.

propagating mint

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.

propagating sage

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.

propagating thyme

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. 

propagating lavender

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.
propagating grape

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.

propagating pomegranate

8. Fig (Ficus)

Like pomegranate trees, figs go dormant in the winter. Take your cutting just as leaves begin to emerge. 

propagating fig

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.

propagating nopales

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.

propagating dragon fruit


What plants do you like to propagate? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Comments (4)

  • Barb Roll

    October 14, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    We planted raspberries many years ago, and they spread all over a landscaped garden. Now that we’re getting ready to move, we’re cleaning that garden up. I cut back the raspberry canes, dug them up, and put them in recycled nursery pots. They live on at our new home, my childrens’ yard, and a neighbor’s yard. We did the same with Rose of Sharon, which sprouted volunteers from our neighbor’s tree that turned into about half a dozen full-sized trees in our backyard, which provide us with privacy in the summer. I gave away starts and took some to the new house. They’re not edible, but they are beautiful trees or shrubs that provide shade and roots to support microbial life, transplant easily, and require little care in our climate.

    1. Rick Perillo

      November 4, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      I love how when we move homes we can take a piece of our gardens with us by propagating the plants as you did with your raspberries.

  • Geraldine Newey

    April 28, 2018 at 12:17 am

    We pruned back our fig tree, and I took one of the green branches and stuck it in a pot that I toss the dog’s old drinking water into. Bam! That stick has rooted, grown and is thriving. I will relocate it in Winter. I have decided that the pots on my patio are “nursery pots” because everything I’ve started in there has done the same. I have thyme, daisy grass (which every other time I’d planted it elsewhere, simply died, rosemary, ginger, pawpaw and I think it’s called elephant bush. All ready to be transplanted to their new spots.
    Thank you for a very helpful article.

    1. Rick Perillo

      April 28, 2018 at 6:44 am

      Congratulations on your fig, they are beautiful trees with great fruit. It sounds like your patio is the magic spot!

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