Growing Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Perennial and hardy, these herbs can make an otherwise boring dish explode with flavor, and all with very little effort on your part...
These three herbs go amazingly well together in the yard and the kitchen. And you're not limited to using them in the summer, nor do you need to bring these little guys in for the winter.
My 16 year old son makes a wicked grilled chicken on the stove. He flavors heavily with rosemary and thyme, whether dry or fresh. Learn how to make his chicken here.
My first experience using fresh rosemary was when I was first married and renting an apartment while we were at University. I remember going out in the middle of a snowstorm to collect some to use in a soup recipe I was excited to try. As an evergreen, rosemary will always be available whenever you need it!
Like most perennials, sage, rosemary, and thyme will all take more than one season to get to size. I just moved into my new home a few short months ago, but one of the first things I planted was each of these herbs. And as a true economist, I did not buy them. Free things are my favorite!
How did I do it? Well, see, I have friends with yards. One friend moved into a home that had a fantastically crazy amount of herbs growing in her yard. And she wasn't using any of them! She told me I could take as much as I wanted, so I cut a bunch to dry and took some cuttings to propagate. Did you know you can propagate tons of different types of plants? Nature is amazing.
I simply snipped off some stems, wrapped them in a wet paper towel, and took them home. Then I followed a few simple steps to get them ready for planting outside:
Prepare a terrarium type container by filling it partially with 50% peat moss and 50% perlite. I simply used a Rubbermaid container with a lid. Because I wanted to do quite a few plants at once, I needed a fairly large container. You might be able to get away with a smaller plastic container for food if you are only doing a few plants.
Cut off the tops of the stems. At least 2-3 inches is good. It can be longer, but keep in mind that you are trying to grow roots to support the size of the cutting.
Take off most of the leaves. You don't want the needs of the leaves to detract from root growth. You need some leaves, though, in order for the plant to gather energy from the sun. Leave at least 2-3 for sage, several for rosemary and thyme.
Dip the cut portion of the cutting in rooting hormone. There are a lot of different brands. I've gotten some from Amazon and some from Home Depot in the past.
Place in the prepared soil.
Moisten the soil and the leaves on the plant. You REALLY don't want it to dry out, or all your hard work will be for naught.
Place container in a slightly warm, slightly sunny area and allow plants time to root, checking every few days to see if it needs more water or if you need to air out the container in order to prevent mold from growing.
After about a month, check the plants for roots by trying to gently lift them out of the soil. If you find that the plant is resistant to being lifted very easily, you've hit the jackpot! The plant has rooted! When the roots reach 1 1/2" to 2" long, you're ready to transplant.
You can see that the container acts to retain moisture and heat. This is a great combination for plants, including mold! Reduce the chance for mold to sneak in by taking off the lid and letting it air out from time to time. Also, don't let the leaves of the plants touch the lid or the sides of the container if it can be helped.
Here are my propagated cuttings, ready to plant!
This is what the plants look like after a few months in the ground after transplanting:
Try using your herbs in the following recipes:
Grilled Stovetop Chicken
Herb Stuffed Turkey
Rosemary Chicken over Rice
Savory Homemade Stuffing