Monday, June 15, 2015

Container Gardening: How to Propagate Basil

This is something that is so simple it may not be worthy of a blog post, but I'm writing one anyway because some of you may not be aware of just how easy it is to propagate and grow your own basil. If you love fresh basil like I do, make lots of Caprese salads, and can't get enough pesto, then this is going to be one blog post you're going to want to read.
The next time you are at the garden center, or produce aisle for that matter, and spot some decent looking basil whether potted or simply just bundled fresh, buy it! Even if it seems like more money than you want to spend for a few stems. When you get it home, make a clean cut on the loose stems, or cut up your potted basil into as many separate stems as you feel comfortable with without killing the plant (which I don't think is even possible) and stick them in water. You can make a cluster of them in your cutest little bottles, or simply have one stem in a simple vase as elegantly placed as if it were a long-stemmed rose. And then you wait. 
Within 5-7 days roots are going to appear. Once they do, they are going to grow like gangbusters; you won't believe it!  When the roots reach between 1 and 2 inches, remove the rooted basil from your vase and plant your rooted stem into a pot of rich potting soil. Water generously and watch it grow. As soon as it begins to get to a decent size, cut off another stem or two, and continue rooting. You can do this all summer long until you have pots of fragrant, fresh basil. This is horticulture, folks, and sustainable gardening. It is immensely satisfying and, once the initial rooting basil is purchased, will cost you nothing. You can continue this process, indoors, throughout the winter, and never have to buy another basil plant again. Think of the savings.
Here is the first result of my rooting basil from a loose, fresh bunch from the market. It is growing wild!  Okay, there are a couple of zinnias in there, too, that I planted from seeds I harvested last year, but I digress. It is the healthiest most abundant basil plant that I have ever grown. Now, don't just sit there, get growing!

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Marigene said...

I do this every year when basil becomes available. I have found that when taking the long stems from the "mother" plant the plant bushes out beautifully. I, too, can't get enough basil during the summer. It is so good chopped finely, mixed with butter and rubbed onto corn on the cob. I do that with cilantro, too.

Linda said...

What a gorgeous plant! Gosh I feel downright wasteful for not propagating the dregs of basil plants that get spindly in the summer garden. Great post!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Thanks so much for the tip on how to grow Basil. I am going to try it right away. Yummy
Thanks so much Pattie.

Jennifer@MyFlagstaffHome said...

I had no idea this could be done with basil! I'm going to start tomorrow.

By the way, I'd love to have you post on my new blog hop—The Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home ( It begins on Thursday evenings and lasts through the weekend, if you're interested.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. Do you have any tips on growing rosemary?
Thanks for sharing on My Flagstaff Home.

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I do have a tip for growing rosemary, Mary. There are two types of rosemary, the type that grows erect or the type that grows laterally, and is called "Prostrate Rosemary." Choose the latter. It is a slow grower, but it winters beautifully and doesn't seem quite as susceptible to disease.

Sum of their Stories said...

Don't you love those plants that want SO much to grow that you can just root them in water like this. Fab!