How-To Propagate Basil (& Never Buy a Plant or Start from Seed Again)
Ahhhhh, BASIL. What is not to love? Am I right?? This is a great tutorial on how to take charge of you food, as I promised in this post.
Basil is a aromatic, delicious herb that is versatile enough you will never run out of uses for it. You should absolutely begin to grow it yourself if you do not already. It runs on the pricey side to purchase at the grocery, and by not growing it yourself you miss out on the great enjoyment of witnessing this gorgeous plant flourish.
Growing herbs from seed greatly reduces your growing season length and thus how much food you will produce. By propagating you cut your growth rate time in about half AND you can ensure you are growing your healthiest, most robust plant possible.
Here is all you need to know about propagating an entire patch of basil from just one plant to meet all of the basil your heart desires and your kitchen requires.
Cut at the base of a basil stem that is not yet flowering and that has 4 sets of leaves growing.
Then remove the 2 bottom sets of leaves from the stem. Leave the stem about 2 inches long. An example of this is pictured above.
Change the water every few days until you see root growth, then leave your basil propagation roots to grow to about 2 inches in length. This can take a few weeks.
Once the roots on your basil cutting are 2 inches or longer, you can plant the cutting into a pot indoors if before last frost date. And/or after danger of the last frost (here in Zone 5 that is not until the very end of April) you can transplant outdoors. I wait for another month past then until it’s steady above 45 degrees though.
It is said by many that growing Basil and Tomatoes close together enhances the flavor of both.
When planting space about 10” apart, because these ladies can get bushy!
Try your best to plant in an area that will be sheltered from wind and cold, if possible. When the plants are still frail I will cover with an upside down large glass jar, essentially creating a mini greenhouse that acts as a windbreak. Just be sure to press down into soil so it isn’t falling over on it.
It will appreciate as much sun as it can get, so put in a full-sun location if you can, but it will be fine if it can get at least 4 hours of sunshine.
It will not do well, and will possibly rot, sitting in water. Choose a well draining soil. Keep from getting bone dry. And water to soil saturation at least once a week if there is no rain.
If the leaves are growing pale or yellowing that indicates it is not getting enough nutrients. Enrich your soil.
At the end of this growing season, as the evenings begin to get cool, pick your most vibrant, luscious basil plant to pot and bring indoors for the cool weather. It will make a fresh kitchen houseplant that you can use and enjoy. Then come next spring follow these directions again to propagate that plant into your next prolific basil garden.
For the Love of Basil!
Basil is great for making pestos, eating as a leafy green in salads, adding to fruit salads, soups, casseroles, and sauces.
Basil can also repel flies and mosquitoes naturally. Put vases or pots of it in windows and near doorways. And for BBQs, you can throw some leaves on the grill to help repel the pests.
You can crush up basil and put on itchy bug bites for some relief, much like you would use aloe for skin soothing.
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