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Windowsill Herb Water GardenWindowsill Herb Water Garden

A windowsill herb water garden is not only a beautiful sight, it is very handy for the cook of the house. Herbs grown in water will have just as much flavor as those grown in the garden. And, you don’t have to deal with the mess of soil and going out to water them!


Most herbs will grow well in a windowsill herb water garden. Herbs grown from cuttings in the garden will get the best results. You can use herb plants from the grocery store! Just wash them in plain water first, and cut off the bottom of each stem to allow it to absorb the most water. They will grow well as long as you keep pinching off the older leaves as they grow to full size.


  1. Begin by cutting about a 4 to 6 inch long piece from the new growth at the top part of the plant either in the garden or from a grocery store or nursery. The new growth will be less woody than the rest of the plant and the roots will have a better chance of starting.
  2. Clear the bottom leaves off the plant up to about 4 inches. Wherever you remove a leaf is a potential place where roots can emerge. For more woody plants such as Rosemary, use your fingernail and thumb to remove any extra woodiness along the stem.
  3. The cuttings must absorb moisture from the stems so make sure to cut the bottoms of the stems at an angle to increase the area the stem has to use.
  4. Place one or two cuttings in each clear, shallow glass or plastic containers.


Colored JarsColored Jars
Herbs Growing in Water on WindowsillHerbs Growing in Water on Windowsill

The containers for a successful windowsill herb water garden can be mason jars, glass bottles, plastic bottles, glass sets from thrift shops, etc.

The ideal containers would be colored ones so the roots do not get too much light, which is not good for them. This will also prevent algae growth on the surface of the roots and the walls of the container. (Although the algae will not harm the plants, they do make the bottles look untidy).

If you have a container you would like to use but it is clear and will be in direct sunlight, you could attach a small bit of construction paper to one side to keep the bright sun from the roots.

Narrow-mouthed containers are the best because they can support the cuttings and keep them as upright as possible, though the top shouldn’t be too narrow or tight-fitting around the cutting. It is important that there be free movement of air so the roots can breathe.

If only wide-mouthed containers are available, try covering the top with nylon or wire netting. Inserting the cuttings through the holes will offer some support for them. The netting will also prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water in warmer climates.


Add water up to a few inches but do not use chlorinated water since the bleach chemical is not good for plants. It is fine to use tap water that has been left to air overnight. Stored rainwater is fine as well.

The best water is spring water or well water since the dissolved minerals may be of use to the plants. For this reason, do not use distilled water, since these minerals will be removed.

Make sure also that no leaves are touching the water. They can rot quickly and spoil the water.


Place the containers on a sunny south or east windowsill, if possible. Remember that a windowsill will tend to be much hotter than other areas and the water will evaporate. Be sure to refill as it evaporates or if the water becomes dark. Rosemary, for example, will get extra dark in the first 24 hours.


Wait for the roots to grow. Spearmint should take a few days. Rosemary usually takes a couple of weeks to root.

Don’t worry if it seems the roots are matted or overgrown. They will still work.

Rooting hormones will not always be necessary but certainly can be used if you run out of patience before the cuttings root. One way to make a natural rooting hormone mix is to take some branches from a willow tree and soak them in warm water overnight. This makes a natural rooting hormone mix you can use to encourage rooting.


If you wish, you can plant the rooted cuttings directly into the garden or in pots with holes in the bottom to give as gifts! Water newly potted soil in the water the plant was rooted in and place in full sun.

You can also give starter windowsill herb water gardens to friends and family to show your appreciation for their cooking prowess!


Spearmint is a mint closely related to Peppermint.

Spearmint LeavesSpearmint Leave

Peppermint is a natural hybrid of Spearmint. It contains menthol which gives as cooling sensation to the skin and tongue but does not cause any variation in temperature.


The leaves of the Oregano herb can be used to flavor almost any vegetable. As soon as the plant starts to grow well, start pinching back the growing tips.

Oregano in WaterOregano in Water

Basil needs good light. Take cuttings to grow in water before gthe plant starts flowering.

Basil in WaterBasil in Water


This is one herb you do not need to have much of because only a small amount is used to flavor food. The plants should be kept in bright light and in a well aired spot since sage is prone to mildew.

Sage in WaterSage in Water


Lemon Balm is in the mint family. The leaves make good tasting tea.

Keep the cuttings in a warm place with plenty of bright indirect light. Have patience as they may take up to 3-4 weeks to develop roots.

Change the water regularly. Lemon balm is prone to white mildew. It may be easier to root cuttings outside when the weather is still warm to avoid the mildew. Then take them indoors to enjoy.

Lemon Balm is in the mint family. The leaves make good tasting tea.

Keep the cuttings in a warm place with plenty of bright indirect light. Have patience as they may take up to 3-4 weeks to develop roots.

Change the water regularly. Lemon balm is prone to white mildew. It may be easier to root cuttings outside when the weather is still warm to avoid the mildew. Then take them indoors to enjoy.

Lemon Balm in WaterLemon Balm in Water


Take cuttings of Tarragon in the spring after the new growth appears, since taking them in the fall may mean it may take longer to grow roots.

The French version of Tarragon is best to be used while the Russian variety is much milder but can be used as a green in salads.

Tarragon in WaterTarragon in Water


Make sure to take cuttings of new growth of Thyme that is green in color. Brown old growth may not grow roots quickly.

The best time to get cuttings from the garden is in the mid-spring to early summer before the plant starts flowering.

Make sure to put the cuttings in water as soon as possible since thyme has thin stems and they can dry out very fast. Once it starts growing, cut the stems of the thyme to promote branching.



Keep Rosemary in a sunny spot. Please have patience because it does take longer for the rooting to start.


Herbs grown in water as described above will give you much pleasure and many month’s supply of leaves to use in the winter or colder months or even longer. Just remember to keep clipping the leaves that are full grown which will encourage the stem to grow new leaves.

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