Growing basil is simple, effective, and beneficial in any homestead across the globe. It grows easy and fast while providing your family with a little different taste in their food. You can even create an endless supply if you learn how to grow basil from cuttings!
Basil is one of those herbs that you plant and watch take over the world if you don’t trim it regularly. From my experience, it is harder to try and restrict basil so that you only have enough to actually use than it is to just let it grow. You can always dry, sell, or give away whatever basil you don’t end up using.
It is important to start out by telling you that I do not have a green thumb whatsoever. On that same note, through plenty of practice and reading, my brown thumb is starting to change colors as well!
If you are attempting to grow basil from cuttings, I suggest that you do it with a few at a time. This is especially true with your first couple attempts. You will have a much better success rate if you try and grow 6 than if you try with just one.
Basil is one of the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings if you follow the easy instructions below. You will have an endless supply of basil for your cooking in no time at all, just make sure you have enough space to grow it all!
You will want to start with a healthy and vigorous specimen that is free from any obvious insects. Make sure that it has plenty of fresh green growth and is not starting to die back. The perfect donor is a young plant that it starting to really hit its growth stage.
Trim the new growth on the donor to leave you with a few 3-4 inch new growth stems. It is best to make the cut just above a set of leaves to encourage the most root growth on the stem, and encourage new branch growth on the donor. Make sure that your donor plant is well watered so that it can begin regenerating itself quickly.
When you’re looking to grow basil from cuttings, you want to remove everything but the top two leaves when preparing. Some plants will do better with more leaves, but that is not the case with basil.
Once the cuttings are trimmed, place them in a container of fresh water with half of the stem submerged. Place the container near a window where it stays bright but does not get direct sunlight. Keep an eye on the water level and replace water as it evaporates to keep the stem submerged. After about a week (7 days), you should start to see roots form in the water.
After the cuttings has been growing roots for about three weeks, remove them from the water and plant them in soil. Make sure that you keep the soil nice and moist as soon as they are planted to that they have some time to adjust. Slowly move the new plant closer to the windows where it will receive a little more direct sunlight every day until it is ready for a place of its own.
Once this new plant needs to be trimmed, it will be time to propagate some new cuttings. You can keep the cycle going forever or until you forget to water all weekend, whichever comes first!
Once you have propagated the basil, you will need to know how to keep it alive. Here are some tips to help with that but feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.
Basil roots need air and will rot if you make them sit in moist soil all the time. You need to find a soil that will retain some water, but allows the sold to dry a bit between watering. If you already have some potting soil that you want to use, you can easily thin it out will some perlite.
Basil prefers warm temperatures, so make sure that they are not sitting in a cold or drafty spot in the winter. They grow best if you can keep the temperature about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is best to put them outside in the summer, but make sure that you bring thing in at the first threat of frost. If planted outside, you can add a layer of mulch so help keep them warm and stop annoying weeds from growing within.
I like to use my home own compost when I fertilize, use whatever you use elsewhere. Before I used compost, I had good success using organic slow release pellets with my basic. Fertilizer isn’t a must, but it will take your plants to the next level.
This is especially important during summer months when the soil dries out quickly. Basil needs moist soil to grow, so don’t let it dry out or you will be sorry! I check to see if the top layer of soil looks dry and dusty every day and then water if that is the case. If you grow basil from cuttings, it is especially important to keep an eye on your water levels!
Contrary to popular belief, pruning actually forces your basil to grow even more. When a plant realizes that it lost a branch, it will grow two branches in its place in hopes to overpower whatever killed the first one.
Basil should be pruned back once they reach about 6 inches long from the tip. Allow that branch to grow more and repeat the process. You should also pinch off and flowers that grow along the way. A basil plant will focus all its energy on those flowers if you let them grow, leaving you with a bland and underwhelming plant.
This should seem like an obvious one, but insects love basil just like us humans. Do your best to stop the insects from infesting the plant because it is much easier than removing them once they are “dug in”