Successfully Propagate Basil by Sowing and Cuttings

Successfully Propagate Basil by Sowing and Cuttings

If the recipe book is full of Mediterranean dishes, a single basil plant will no longer cover the need for these aromatic herbs. You can find out here how you can easily grow more specimens by propagating.

Gain seeds yourself and sow them skilfully

If you want to win the seeds yourself, allow the basil to blossom. After the stems have withered, pick them off. Use your fingers to scrape off the flower-seed mixture over a bowl. It is then sieved until the black seeds remain. Keep the seeds dry and dark until the date for sowing. In March/April proceed as follows:

  • fill a seed tray with potting soil or peat sand
  • moisten the substrate with a fine shower
  • sow the seeds and as a light germinator just press them on and cover the culture container with foil or in
  • a heatable mini greenhouse.
  • Expect germination at a partially shaded window seat at 20-25 degrees Celsius (68-77 F)

Within 1-2 weeks the cotyledons emerge from the seed. The foil can now be removed. While the seedlings are kept slightly moist, they quickly reach a height of 5 centimeters (2 inches).

Pricked out in a potting soil-sand mixture, the plants are strong enough to be planted out in beds or pots by mid-May

Instructions for propagation by cuttings

Every vital basil has what it takes to be a mother plant for 10, 20, or more new plants. Cut off the desired number of shoot tips to a length of 10 to 15 centimeters (4-6 inches). If you start the cut just above a leaf axil, the basil will busily sprout again here. Proceed with these steps:

  • defoliate the lower half of the cuttings and place them in a glass of water
  • root in a semi-shady, warm place
  • the process is complete when the root strands are 4-5 centimeters long
  • fill a large pot with potting soil and sand, perlite, or coconut fibers for permeability

Plant basil up to the lower pair of leaves and water generously.

Propagate purchased basil by division

Ready-grown basil plants from the supermarket are crammed so tightly together in their pots that they give up within a week. Clever hobby gardeners make a virtue out of necessity and multiply the royal herb by division. That’s how it’s done:

  • Stuff the purchased basil and cut into four parts with a sharp knife
  • plant each segment in a separate pot with a mixture of potting soil, compost, and sand

Drainage at the bottom of the pot prevents harmful waterlogging. Alternatively, plant the sections directly in the garden bed.


Does the basil from home-grown seeds taste completely different than the mother plant? Then it was one of the numerous varieties.

In contrast to wild basil, it is always a guessing game with seeds of a variety as to which characteristics of the parent plants will prevail. Hobby gardeners who are keen to experiment can create their own personal type of basil.

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