How to propagate basil – no more buying basil seedlings

When I started gardening I knew nothing about the benefits of propagation. I did not know what it was or how easy it is to turn one cutting into a new plant. Propagation is “the breeding of specimens of a plant or animal by natural processes from the parent stock”. Which translated into everyday language, means you can easily turn one cutting into a brand new plant either through depositing into a cup of water or small pot of soil.


I have recently propagated some lemon basil cuttings for a couple of friends, and with the warm summer weather, the cuttings only took about a week to grow quite extensive roots. If you are in the habit of harvesting your basil every weekend to use throughout the week, then it is very easy to pop a few cuttings of basil into a glass of water on a windowsill. If you place your cuttings in different size glasses and vases it can make your windowsill look quite pretty and alive as well.


Basically all you need to do, is find some healthy stems on your basil plant, clip them off and then pick off any small leaves at or near the end of the stem. You can then put the basil cuttings into little pots of water and place on a sunny windowsill or other sunny spot in your home. You will need to change, or top up the water every few days to keep it fresh, and propagation will take longer in the winter, about 2-4 weeks depending on your climate. This is an absolutely great way to share rarer herbs with friends and family, or to grow a new plant for yourself from herbs you would like in a friends garden.


Once the basil has developed a root system they can be planted into a small pot and placed outside in a shaded location, that gets indirect sun. You do not want to shock the small basil plant with a different climate so keep them somewhere sheltered for at least a week. Once the plant has grown in the little pot and developed a root system that is peeking out the bottom of the pot, you can plant it out in the garden.



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