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How to propagate basil (never buy basil again!)

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Want to turn one basil plant into many basil plants? Check out this super simple tutorial on how to propagate basil and root your plant in water to create tons of new plants!

Basil is one of my very favorite plants – in the summer, we grow large planters of it in the yard.

In the off season, I buy small basil plants from the store. However, they get used up really quickly. So, I decided to figure out how to propagate basil plants.

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

I have propagated a ton of plants! I have really mastered this process through trial and error.

I was pleased to discover that propagating basil was super easy, and that it grew roots really quickly.

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

How to propagate basil

Materials needed:

  • Basil plant
  • Sharp, clean scissors
  • Jar of water

Steps to propagate basil in water:

  1. Identify the stem that you want to take a cutting from. It’s great to take the top half of a tall, top heavy stem.
  2. Use your scissors to cut the stem off right below a leaf node – which is where the leaves pop out of the stem.
  3. Remove any leaves that will fall into the water.
  4. Place the stem in a jar of fresh water.
  5. Place in indirect sunlight.
  6. Change the water every other day to be sure it stays clean.
  7. Once the roots are at least 2 inches long, you are ready to plant the cuttings.
  8. Prepare a pot filled with potting medium such as garden soil.
  9. Water every other day and set in an indirect sunny location.
how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

Need a spot to hold all your cuttings? Here’s how to DIY make a test tube wall mounted propagation station!

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings
Yield: 1 basil cutting

How to propagate basil in water

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $0-10

Propagation is a fantastic way to turn one plant into many plants. Basil is super easy to propagate in water!

Materials

  • Basil plant

Tools

  • Sharp clean scissors
  • Jar of water

Instructions

  1. Select a stem to take a cutting from - I like to cut long, top heavy stems first.
  2. Use scissors to cut just below a leaf node. This is where leaves pop out. Your cutting should be 2-4 inches long.
  3. Remove any lower leaves that would fall in the water.
  4. Place in jar of water.
  5. Place the jar in a sunny window. Replace the water every few days to keep it clean.
  6. Once the roots are 2inches long, you can plant them in soil.

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Frequently Asked Questions:

Propagating basil cuttings in water is a really easy process!

Can you propagate basil?

Yes! It is super easy – and free – to propagate a basil plant!

Can Basil be rooted in water?

Rooting basil cuttings in water is a super simple way to propagate this plant.

What temperature of water should I use?

Root your cuttings in room temperature water! Anything too cold or too hot could shock your plant.

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

When to propagate basil?

You can propagate fresh basil at any time – any season, any time of year. Growing basil works indoors any time!

When do you plant propagated basil?

When rooted cuttings are 2-3 inches long, you are ready to plant your basil stems.

Do I need to use rooting hormone to propagate basil?

No. Rooting hormone may help your plant grow roots faster. But, basil roots so easily and quickly that I do not bother!

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

How long does it take basil cuttings to grow roots?

It takes 2-3 weeks to go from a fresh basil cutting to having roots that are 2 inches long and ready to plant in soil! This may vary slightly depending on the time of year and the amount of sunlight that your cuttings are getting.

Do I need a grow light to propagate basil?

No, you don’t need a grow light – a sunny window sill will do the trick. However, if you don’t get a lot of light in your home, and you have a grow light on hand, you can surely use it.

What can you do with basil cuttings?

You have two options for basil cuttings:

  1. Chop up the basil leaves and eat them
  2. Place the stem in water and allow it to grow roots

Basil cuttings make a great hostess gift! Cut a few stems, place them in a small clear jar of water, tie a ribbon around the jar, and bring it to a party!

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

Can you replant basil from store?

Yes – you can replant whole basil plants from the grocery store in a pot or planter.

In fact – basil plants from the grocery store usually have a ton of plants squeezed into a too-small container.

Your best bet is to ditch the plastic container, pull out the ball of roots and soil, and gently divide the plant up.

Plant the sections far apart in a flower bed or in separate pots to really make your one cheap plant go a long ways!

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

Can you root a basil cutting that comes as a garnish from a restaurant?

If there is enough stem, then yes! I know that some restaurants sever meals with a garnish of basil on top. Wrap it in a napkin and bring it home and try to root it! It will most likely work!

how to propagate basil plants from cuttings

What are the common types of basil?

  • Sweet basil
  • Genovese basil
  • Thai sweet basil
  • Purple basil
  • Lemon basil
  • Lime basil
  • Lettuce basil
  • Green ruffles
  • Holy basil
  • Cinnamon basil
  • African blue basil
  • Cardinal basil
  • Greek basil
  • Spicy globe basil
  • Summerlong

Any more questions about propagating basil plants?

 
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