Cheap Tricks: How to Propagate Herbs from Pho Takeout

For most of my life, I’ve been a money saver instead of spender. I will put so much energy into saving a buck because why would I pay full price for something I can get in other ways?

Enter propagating herbs from pho takeout. You know the herbs that come with takeout pho? The cilantro, Thai basil, jalapeños, and bean sprouts all get torn up and put into my bowl. But the last time I ordered pho, I decided to put some to the side to see if I could propagate the Thai basil. I’ve tried many variations of herbs over the years that have mostly died. I’ve experimented with hearty peppermint, rosemary, cilantro, basil, thyme, oregano, which I have started from the seed and also have bought more mature plants. So I figured this route was low risk.

I simply stuck a sprig of the basil into a bottle we had on hand that was filled with lukewarm water. I positioned the stem to rest just touching the top of the water. It’s been about four days since I started the experiment and wouldn’t you know it, the Thai basil is growing roots! It now has a home in a sunny windowsill to encourage growth. I normally compost what’s left of my pho garnish, but I am so thrilled that I gave this a shot. It’s low risk, high reward. Eeek!

I am one of those people who tastes soap when eating cilantro, so I opted out on including it. But more power to you for cilantro too. I’ve propagated what turned out to be a huge cilantro plant from one spring of cilantro in a rinsed Coca Cola bottle filled with water, so I know it can be done.

The only maintenance needed is to change the water when it begins to turn brown/green.

What cheap tricks do you have up your sleeve?



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