In just 60 days you can turn 1 basil plant from the supermarket into 12! Keep the process going to make unlimited basil and have pesto every single day! Buy basil in a plant with roots rather than cut basil to make this.
Basil is one of my favourite herbs and this is a great way to make sure you never run out of it. This growing process works well for normal sweet basil – Ocimum basilicum. As long as your house is constantly warm and above 20 degrees with sunlight, your basil should thrive. Basil does not do well in cold climates so do not try this if your house is cold.
- 1 supermarket basil pot plant
- 12 small pots with holes
- potting compost
- tray for pots
Step 1: Take Cuttings
Take a cutting of a basil stem just below the second node from a standard supermarket basil. This basil node is where a plant produces its hormones for created roots so cutting just below here is optimum to grow roots quickly.
Step 2: Remove Lower Leaves and Place In Water
Remove any of the lower leaves from the two nodes then place in mug 3/4 filled with water. Ideally, you should have four to six basil leaves at the top of the plant. Don’t use a glass as light on the roots can cause them to rot.
Enjoy the discarded mini basil leaves in a salad.
Step 3: Leave the Host Basil and Cuttings Somewhere Warm and with Indirect Sunlight To Grow
The basil cuttings can’t take much sunlight so move somewhere warm that gets indirect sunlight for 2 weeks. Change the water every week.
Step 4: Pot the Rooted Basil in Soil
The basil cuttings after two weeks should be a dark green and have a root structure of several inches.
Pot these into compost and place somewhere warm with direct sunlight. The plants can now take more sunlight now that they are in soil.
If they are not growing well try covering the basil plants with a clear bag to make a mini greenhouse.
Step 5: Cut the Basil Plant Tops To Encourage Growth
After three weeks of growing in soil, you should have basil plants with long stems.
Basil puts all of it’s effort into the top of the plant. You either want to harvest the top few inches to eat or use to make new plants using step 1.
Cut the top of the basil plant in half right next to the node to not leave behind a stem on the growing plant. This will encourage the plant to become a nice bushy basil and the bottom small basil leaves to grow.
Either enjoy all of the basil leaves cut or enjoy just the leaves harvested from the side while the tops and stems are used to repeat step 1 for more plants.
Step 6: Ready To Harvest and Repeat
Place the basil plants back somewhere sunny and warm for 2-3 weeks and water twice a week. After 60 days in total, you should have lots of strong basil plants.
Use the 60 day old basil plants to eat and repeat step 1 to make unlimited basil!
Some photos are from Gardening at 58 North, they use a grow light, heated grow mat and liquid fertiliser to grow basil. It does grow quicker with these but you can still be successful without a light and just using normal potting compost. However if you are in a cold climate you may want lamps and growth mat as basil does like it warm.