Lemon/lime verbena cuttings.

This post is for Frogdancer who has asked how to do cuttings of lemon verbena, which strike (grow roots) very easily.

Cut some pieces from the parent plant…about 15 cm or so long. This plant is flowering so I will cut off the flowering tips. I don’t want to let it flower—I want it to concentrate on growing roots :

friday 002

The pieces you take for the cutting should be neither too soft nor too woody. Strip off the lower set(s) of leaves and cut the piece just below the node (where the leaves were growing) :

friday 003

If the plant is growing in a dry situation (i.e. it hasn’t been watered or it hasn’t rained recently), then the cuttings can be stood in water for an hour or two just to re-hydrate them. This can be while you’re preparing the cutting mix. I’ve been known to forget cuttings at this stage and leave them in the water overnight…it doesn’t hurt them :

friday 005

For a cutting mix I use a mixture of perlite and peat*—about 4 parts perlite to 1 part peat. Mix it in a container and dampen it slightly with a spray of water.

What you put the cuttings in is up to you. The easiest is probably a small pot with a plastic bag over the top to retain humidity. Even better, cut the bottom off a plastic drink bottle and use that. Leave the cap off the bottle to allow some air circulation.

Lemon verbena strikes so readily that it probably doesn’t need to be dipped in rooting hormone, but I always use hormone regardless for all my cuttings. This can be bought from any good garden centre in powder or gel form. I use powder (Rootex brand).

Dip the ends of the cuttings in the hormone…

friday 004

…and push them into the cutting mix in the pot. Water them in gently with a spray bottle or a plastic squeeze bottle. Let the pot drain and put the plastic bag or soft drink bottle over the top. If you use a bag, a wire frame will help keep the bag from touching the cuttings. This pot is too small for a drink bottle to fit over the top, but I didn’t have a bigger pot (or a drink bottle for that matter, but you get the idea). Notice that I’ve cut the lower leaves in half just to reduce their area, so they don’t lose too much moisture. I’ll usually do that with large leaves, but not with small ones :

friday 006

Put the pot in a shady, cool spot where it will get plenty of light, but not direct sun. Check the cuttings regularly to see that the mix is still damp, and give them a gentle tug to test if they’ve rooted. If the pot is shallow you may see roots emerging from the bottom (always a heart-stopping moment—I’ve been growing from cuttings for 20 years or so and the thrill of seeing those roots poking out the bottom never goes away).

You’ll know the cuttings have rooted when:

# you can see roots (duh!)

# the cutting feels resistant to tugging (gently!)

# new growth starts to form from the leaf axils

At this stage you can give them some weak liquid fertiliser. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to pot them up. Wait till you think a good root system has developed (patience is a virtue and so is years of experience).

Serendipitously (good word!), I just happened to have cuttings of lemon verbena already in. This one has new growth coming out of one of the leaf axils, but it’s still a bit loose in the mix, so I’ll give it a bit longer :

friday 007

* the peat I use is actually cocopeat and it comes (from Bunnings) in compressed bricks which you soak in half a bucket of water till it expands and forms the brown, water-retentive fibrous stuff called…er…well…peat. Instead of perlite, I sometimes use propagating sand which is cheaper (also from Bunnings…gee, that’s a useful store!). Here’s peat, perlite & propagating sand :

friday 001

If you’ve never used perlite before, be careful with it. Keep it damp to avoid getting a lungful of the fine dust that comes from it. It isn’t pleasant.

So there you go Froggie. Hope this has been useful!

Oh, and I said lemon verbena cuttings root readily…and quickly too. For me the time has ranged between 10 and 30 days.

9 Responses to “Lemon/lime verbena cuttings.”

  1. narf77 Says:

    Another great post, you are certainly throwing yourself into the last few days of the year Bev! I feel positively slothful in comparison 🙂


  2. Frogdancer Says:

    Thanks so much! I’ll get onto this in the next day or two, so that it’s well and truly done before the year gets crazy busy again. My lime verbena has grown really tall and leggy, so a few cuttings from it certainly won’t hurt.


  3. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the details. I’ve been trying for years to propogate my natives, but fail dismally. I’ll consider the soil mix and hormone powder. I’ve resisted using the hormone previously, as I liked the thought of not having to spend anything on propogating free plants. But I may have to try it to see if it makes a difference.

    Have you used honey successfully before, as I hear that’s a good root promoter too?

    Also thanks for your comment on my kitten recently. I’ve closed my blog down until Feb 2013, so you won’t be able to see my reply. I just wanted to let you know I received it and that I will be returning my blog in 2013.

    Cheers and happy New Year. 🙂


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hello Chris, no I haven’t tried honey yet. Must give it a go. The hormone powder isn’t expensive and I find it goes a long way.

      Happy New Year and see you in Feb.


  4. Idle chit-chat and links galore! | Dancing With Frogs Says:

    […] the laundry cleared away so she can actually set foot in there. I still haven’t taken the lime verbena cuttings that I want to, so I have to get onto that. I bought a lime verbena sprig from Diggers last year […]


  5. Frogdancer Says:

    Argh! They all died.
    My fault though… I left them in a vase for 3 days and i think they didn’t like it. There’s a few sprigs still “cuttings-able” so I’ll try again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: