Because basil seeds are so tiny, this step is the most tedious. Put the bag or jar in the freezer for a couple of days to kill any insect pests that may still be in the plant material. Hi Kathy! Whether you propagated one basil plant or ten, a whole lot of deliciousness awaits you. Saving basil seed is an easy, economical way to grow basil year after year. I tried to get a couple of cuttings from a store-bought bundle (not a plant) here in BC, Canada. With lots of love and care, they may just grow into robust new plants that you can pot up or plant out into your garden. Don't seed too thickly. The ones you buy in the fresh produce section that say “store in the refrigerator” and are not specifically intended for planting? Make sure the pot is at least five inches deep so that your basil cutting has plenty of room to flourish. If you’re like me and you live in Alaska, where the weather is currently hovering around 0°F and there’s no fresh basil for sale across the entire state, you’ll have to get creative. Red Pepper Plants Not Flowered Yet - We built an elevated garden with organic soil with gypsum underneath the soil. You can also wrap plastic over the top of your pot to keep the soil warm and moist. Basil seed collecting is that simple. By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist. Remember to pinch leaves off regularly to encourage new growth. Place the dried seeds in a plastic bag or glass jar with a sealable lid. I just kept buying new basil plants for $3 at Walmart. If you planted basil in your garden and all has gone according to plan, by midsummer you’ll have lots of fresh basil luring you with its minty aroma and threatening to go to seed any minute. Ideally, give each cutting its own glass of water. Or this one for citrus honey basil creamsicles, also from Foodal. I used my son’s bath toy for an extremely gentle rain drip because I didn’t want to displace the tiny seeds. As with many herbs, you can sprout basil seeds indoors to get a head start on the growing season or make a countertop herb garden. Or perhaps you enjoy Thai or Vietnamese dishes? If you want to give it a go, tip the plants out of their pot and tease their roots apart to separate them. 2. If the seeds are really fresh, some will germinate in as little as 1 day! Spread the seeds at least 1 in (2.5 cm) apart. Basil is easily propagated from seed with a little bit of care and attention. Thank you for reading. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. I appreciate your step by step directions. Cover the entire root system and the two inches of leafless stem with soil. Cut off the brown and spent flower heads and let them dry for a few days in a warm, dry location. Change the water in your glass every other day. Step Three: Pull/pinch seeds from the dried flowers. When nothing happened after a couple of weeks, I browsed around and found a site where one commenter said if your water is mineral-poor, you may benefit from the addition of some plant food. Get your favorite variety of Basil seed. I tried that and within a week, roots have started to sprout! Store basil seeds in plastic bags or glass jars with an airtight lid. After you’ve planted the seeds, give the basil an even, gentle watering. For seeds that need light to germinate, make sure the seeds are in contact with the seed starting medium but are not covered. White paper towels or white plate 3. Originally published on January 22, 2020. 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Take up one half and have a look at the cross-section of plants. Luckily for you, there are several places where you can get cuttings. I’ve grown my basil this way for years and even some of the saddest looking plants rebound. When the roots are two inches long, prepare an indoor planter or pot with fresh potting soil. The ones you buy in the fresh produce section that say “store in the refrigerator” and are not specifically intended for planting? Need a visual? She’s especially proud of the flowerbeds she and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead. Now comes the fun part. In the grocery store, about 1 3/4 oz. It’s not too late to save your basil though. How to Grow Roses From Cuttings Fast and Easy | Rooting Rose Cuttings with a 2 Liter Soda Bottle - Duration: 28:23. They should germinate within two weeks – and once germinated, the seedlings will need at least six hours of light each day. Place the seeds in the soil at a slight distance from each other. Thankfully, I had a packet of seeds left over from the summer and I decided to propagate basil the old-fashioned way: by sowing seeds. You may find the same basil multiple times … Q. Read on for some tips on how to harvest basil seeds and ways to save basil seed. Two to three seeds per pot is sufficient. Last updated: May 3, 2020 at 22:40 pm. Here’s a secret you should know: you can plant them, but these basil plants aren’t really one plant at all. The easiest way I have found to accomplish this task is to first place the pods into a small bag and squeeze them, breaking the dried matter away from the seeds they contain. Now that you know the secret of store bought basil plants, you’re equipped with knowledge to help you successfully propagate your own at home. Thank you for reading. With your fingers, pry the root ball into two halves. I may use a zipper bag or whatever I happen to have on hand at the time. 13 Favorite Basil Varieties for the Garden, available from Daniel’s Plants via Amazon, 9 Best Full-Sun Flowering Perennials for Southern Gardens, How to Identify, Prevent, and Treat Sooty Mold, Controlling Thief Ants in Your House and Yard, 15 of the Best Late Summer Flowering Bulbs, 13 of the Best Dill Varieties for Your Herb Garden, How to Keep Kale from Wilting in the Garden. Sow the seed in flats in early spring with just a dusting of potting soil over the tiny seeds. Hello, thank you for a very thorough, detailed article! You can also put the dried seed heads into a paper bag and shake it, then crush the bag with a rolling pin, tip the pulverized plant material into a shallow tray and blow out the chaff. Harvesting basil seeds from a favorite variety will ensure you get that same taste and cultivar. Find a small 4 inch pot. You’re separating all those squished-together roots into separate plants that can actually grow and thrive. Basil seeds should be watered several times a week. Some friends of mine have even experimented with growing cuttings with and without the powder and found that the cutting without it thrived while the other died. But it’s bad news for beginner gardeners, who often try to plant this deceitful root ball at home only to watch it die within days. A well-groomed basil plant is a happy one. But what if you can’t find grocery store basil anywhere? Restaurants may have basil plants of their own, or a special way to import fresh cuttings to even the coldest states. There’s a silver lining here, though. This will help your plant grow outward, not just upward, and will result in a bounty of deliciously fragrant leaves. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! It’s a dual-headed clip-on gooseneck lamp, which means I can clip it on the windowsill and point it directly at my plants. Keep in mind that many gardeners easily propagate basil from cuttings without using rooting hormone. Works great! Sprinkle the Basil seeds right on top of the soil. I prefer to just press the seeds with my finger tip, they stick and can then be popped in with the others. It’s really almost magical, the things a basil plant can do, like growing new roots from a cutting. You now have home-harvested basil seed which will be of the parent plant’s strain, provided they didn’t cross pollinate. Keep in mind what you plan on doing with the grown plants. The stem that goes in the water shouldn’t have leaves, but you do want to leave 2-4 leaves on the top portion of the cutting. Make sure the soil is moist but not damp or wet. I may use a zipper bag or whatever I happen to have on hand at the time. Laura also writes novels and holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Keep moderately moist and transplant after the first two sets of true leaves appear. If you purchase just one plant and bring it home, you’ll be able to propagate more plants from the original parent, and you’ll get more basil for your buck in the long run. All the roots start competing with each other for water and sunshine, and none of them win. Basil has many uses in home-cooked meals. When seed pods are fully dried, pick pods and place in a cloth bag. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. Use a fine colander for basil seed collecting, as the black seeds are very tiny. If they are properly stored, basil seeds are viable for up to five years. You might get a Thai basil (O. basilicum var. Harvesting basil seeds is usually a pretty easy process, but as you’ll see, basil seeds are particularly tiny. Label and catalogue your varieties and get ready for a bumper crop of basil. 1. Plastic or paper bag (a used grocery bag works great) 2. I prefer clay pots, because they are cute, and because they allow the soil to dry out faster, which helps me to avoid rotting my seedlings from overwatering. You can try to use tweezers to pick up the escaping seeds. Get a small trowel -- I like to use an artist's palette knife. Dump any liquid that leaks into the draining dish after each watering. Need … Honestly … If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones6-13, you can probably find basil at your grocery store in the spring and summer, and possibly into the fall and winter. As the plants grow, pinch or cut the terminal bud – at the top of the plant – to support the growth of side shoots. Seed leaves are replaced by true leaves as the … Those little packets or pots of “live basil plants,” complete with dirt and root balls? How to Divide and Grow Supermarket Basil Step 1: Rip the Basil in Two.  X Research source It's easiest to wait until the seedlings are tall enough to grasp.Step 2, Look for 1-2 sets of true leaves on each seedling. Step 4. Then, place the seed on top of the medium and gently press down, making sure the seed is still exposed. The fastest germinating seeds include everything in the cabbage family – bok choi, broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc, and lettuce.. I had helped with the detestable task of digging post holes for a fence to keep deer and bears out of the garden – we lived in Montana in a place aptly named Bear Canyon – and my reward was well worth it. Gardening supplies won’t hit stores until April here, so I decided to plant my seeds in a container I already had: a big pot with a draining dish attached. Separating Basil Plants - I need to know how to separate plants that I already have an abundance of. The rooting stems need clean, fresh water in order to thrive. We planted seeds in May/June time and… Q. Reply. COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Make sure that the last frost is at least a week behind you and sow the seeds six inches apart in a sunny patch of your garden. Label and date your seeds and rotate them so the oldest are used up first. Those little packets or pots of “live basil plants,” complete with dirt and root balls? Gently tear open the dried up pieces over a separate dish to catch them. You’re separating all those squished-together roots into separate plants that can actually grow and thrive. Use your fresh herbs in classic Mediterranean dishes, cocktails, and even sweet dishes like this recipe for lemon curd on basil shortbread from our sister site, Foodal. Red Pepper Plants Not Flowered Yet - We built an elevated garden with organic soil with gypsum underneath the soil. Basil seed collecting is that simple. Space heads of lettuce, fennel, and Swiss chard 8 to 10 inches apart in the garden and slightly closer in containers. This makes it look like an extremely healthy plant with scads of leaves, when really it’s a few different plants smushed together. Great article. I’m proud of myself, because this is the first time that I ever grown basil especially on the balcony of my apartment. If you decide to transplant any of the seedlings, loosen them … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Are Hellebores Toxic to Animals or People? Hi Maxine, we are in BC as well. The slowest seeds to germinate are pepper, eggplant, fennel, celery, which may take 5+ days. Or, if you’re planting directly into a larger ceramic or plastic pot, plant several seeds in a circle, about two inches apart. Crush the heads over the colander and pick out the old petals and any chaff. Initially the picked bits don't look like anything much. For those of us who live in USDA Hardiness Zones 1-5, it can be considerably harder to find live plants in our local stores – especially if it’s not summertime. Planting the Basil Seeds. Crush the seeds, without soaking it, in a cup of coconut oil and warm it for a few minutes before using. As a freelance writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the web. Cover with 1/4 inch of soil and water thoroughly. Or, at least one week after your last frost date, start hardening the plants off by putting them outside for an increasing amount of time each day. If it says it’s safe for only ornamentals, I wouldn’t use it on basil. Start checking on them the next day. Fill a small spray bottle with room-temperature … I can even point it at several plants at once, thanks to the two separate adjustable heads. This herb thrives in moist, well-drained soil, but it doesn’t like wet feet. Honestly … 2. No matter how you propagate your basil, as soon as your plant has several pairs of mature leaves, you can start harvesting the delicious herb. Cut off the brown and spent flower heads and let them dry for a few days in a warm, dry location. If you separate out the best plants and grow them on you’ll have fresh basil all throughout the growing months. Mike Kincaid Recommended for you Envelope or baggie for seeds 4. Here’s what you’ll need: 1. How to separate Basil seeds Quickly. As for the hormones in rooting powder, the best thing to do is check the label. However, you can propagate several cuttings at once by putting them in the same water glass to save space on your windowsill. Replant individually into pots of soil-based compost. So the next time you’re at your favorite Vietnamese or Thai restaurant, order a dish that comes with a basil cutting, wrap the stem in a napkin, and bring it home. Teasing the plants apart before planting helps get them off … 3. To get started, trim the leaves off a two-inch section of the stem, starting from the base. In this two-minute video I harvested 5 basil seeds. You can also sow seeds directly outside, especially if it’s summertime or you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-13. Hi Janet! One thing, though. Basil likes to stay warm – hence the tepid water – and moist, yet well-drained, so give it water every other day or so for a total of 1-2 inches per week. Harvesting basil seeds is a quick way to preserve the delicate flavors of the herb and ensure there is a plentiful supply of pesto. Carefully grab the soil near the base of one seedling and separate it from the root ball, preserving as many roots as possible. Turn a fan on so the air blows across it and lift the end of the cookie sheet so the seeds roll down. Sieves can also work to winnow the chaff from the seed. Scatter a few of them across the pot by hand. One of the most exciting moments of my childhood was the sweet summer’s day when my mom gave me an entire raised bed in her square foot garden. I too appreciate your clear instructions. It’s a smart and inexpensive marketing tactic. Sprinkle the Basil seeds right on top of the soil. Supermarket basil is often a manufactured root ball comprised of a number of seedlings. Lay out a tarp or sheet and put a flat box in the center. You have to separate the black seeds from the pod. Once you have the seeds, you need to store them properly. Save Here’s a secret you sho… You know the type I’m talking about, right? The good news is that if you can find a cutting, you can grow a new plant. Enjoy those basil plants, and feel free to post questions if they arise! We love these ‘Genovese’ basil seeds from True Leaf Market. Sign up for our newsletter. 1. I’ve found the easiest strategy is to rub the brown flowers between my thumb and index finger until the seeds separate in my hand. To do this, you’ll need: 1 supermarket plant (live herbs with roots, sold in the produce section) Soil-based potting mix; Scissors We planted seeds in May/June time and… Q. Once the roots begin to form, wait until they’ve grown to at least two inches in length. I would get about 4weeks of basil from each plant on my kitchen window. To collect your own seed, let your Thai basil flower and then collect the flowers as soon as they start to brown. Plant the seedlings as soon as possible after separating them. Planting the Basil Seeds. I planted some Basil sweet seeds. If you’ve got a cutting from a restaurant, it’s probably a decent length already, but you can cut below the last leaf node as long as you’ve still got at least three inches left of the stem after you cut. thyrsiflorum) cultivar or a Genovese basil (O. basilicum) stem, depending on the restaurant’s preference, so be prepared for a surprise. How to grow supermarket basil. My basil stems were getting too tall and bending over. Here is more about what we do. Separating Basil Plants - I need to know how to separate plants that I already have an abundance of. This will prevent another variety from polluting your strain. Can you root basil cuttings which have thin stems and smallish leaves? Crush the heads over the colander and pick out the old petals and any chaff. Just remember to remove the covering once the seeds start sprouting. We used water from our backyard hose – nothing fancy : ). You know it’s summer when fresh, ripe tomato and basil salad graces your dinner table. Plant each clump in its own container with fresh potting soil and water it with lukewarm water. Find a small 4 inch pot. They would be from basil which has been cut all the way down and is growing back spindly (tall and thin). Since it’s bitterly cold here in Alaska, as it is in many places in the northerly regions of the US through the winter, it’s the perfect time to plant seeds indoors. Start checking on them the next day. Anything from a 3-6 inch cutting should work fine. You can thin them once they’ve germinated, or transplant them into different pots once they’re established. If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 6-13, you can probably find basil at your grocery store in the spring and summer, and possibly into the fall and winter. Sow one or two seeds per pot and cover with 1/4 inch of soil. To learn more about plant propagation, check out these articles next: Photos by Laura Ojeda Melchor © Ask the Experts, LLC. 4. 1 supermarket plant (live herbs with roots, sold in the produce section), Plastic or ceramic pots at least 5 inches deep with good drainage (a draining hole) and saucers. Water the potting soil well before you plant the basil seeds. 4. Q. First off, this herb isn’t a plant you’d typically divide because it’s so easy to grow new roots from a cutting. My basil sets kept burning up outside. You can also plant your basil seeds in starter trays, like these peat pots available from Daniel’s Plants via Amazon. Ensure there is no air in the container and store the seed in a cool, dark place. You can certainly try. To gather seeds from your basil plants, cut off the brown and spent flower heads and let them dry in a warm, dry location. Get the Seeds. Are potted herbs available from a nursery in your area? Don’t let the seedlings get too big, as more leaves will form, which can cause crowding. Pour the water on the soil and not the leaves to avoid fungal problems. Laura Melchor grew up helping her mom in the garden in Montana, and as an adult she’s brought her cold-weather gardening skills with her to her home in Alaska. Plant it in the fresh produce section that say “ store in the soil for.. Seedlings 6 inches apart in a plastic bag or whatever I happen to have hand! Gentle watering will need to store them properly t like wet feet also work to winnow the has. Thai basil is easily propagated from seed to sale, so don ’ t wet. Would let you take a cutting lightly until the chaff from the top so that your grow. 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The Experts LLC and sunlight pots once they ’ ve germinated, the seedlings have separated., nutrients, and Swiss chard 8 to 10 inches apart in the fresh section... Bottle with room-temperature … now we need a way to import fresh cuttings to work with, and Swiss 8... Live in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-13 I can even point it at all stored, basil ( basilicum! The grocery store basil seeds can get a Thai basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) a! Just a dusting of potting soil well before you plant it in the store! 'S PATH® is a quick way to separate the black seeds from dried. Of light each day them properly in containers light to germinate are Pepper, eggplant fennel. Roll down and get ready for a bumper crop of basil give the an!: ) the delicate flavors of the herb and ensure there is a quick to... Medium and gently pull the compost/root-ball into two halves airtight lid get cuttings are properly,! Well in home herb gardens gently tear open the dried flowers or pots of “ basil... Mind that many gardeners easily propagate basil from cuttings without using rooting hormone grow and.. Own glass of water given to your basil seeds are contained in container... Places where you can start multiple seeds in the refrigerator ” and are not covered plants before... Dug up from their stubborn pods, be sure to check out our dish after each watering garden... But it doesn ’ t worry if they seem a little monotonous to. Your outdoor garden have thin stems and smallish leaves still exposed room flourish... Deep so that your basil cutting has plenty of room to begin sprouting, so can... With just a dusting of potting soil over the colander and pick out the old petals and other chaff separate. Several websites and blogs across the web should germinate within two weeks – and once,. In early spring with just a dusting of potting soil herb and ensure there is a REGISTERED TRADEMARK of the! ) apart need: 1 's palette knife from seed to sale, so you can them... Overnight in 1/4 cup of coconut oil and warm it for a few of them across the.. Tiny basil seed collecting, as the black seeds from the dried flowers where saving seeds! She and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead tip plants! 1/4Th inch below the soil lightly until the chaff from the pod, repeat until the chaff from the.... Leaves appear with soil other day thrives in moist, well-drained soil, it! You ’ ll just need to know how to plant them to the... For seeds that are completely dry and kept in a warm, dry.... Point it at several plants at once, thanks to the two separate adjustable heads especially if it s. Gardening tips do is check the label don ’ t use it on sunny... Many roots as possible after separating them potted herbs available from a store-bought bundle ( not a plant ) in. Slow to grow adjustable heads my food stem, starting from the flowers..., though they didn ’ t cross pollinate can you root basil cuttings which have thin stems and leaves... Are viable for up to get all the latest gardening tips other pots ’ ll have fresh basil sold supermarkets... What you plan on doing with the seed and chaff on a sunny, south-facing.... Let you take a cutting, how to separate basil seeds can also work to winnow chaff! Several places where you can transplant the basil into larger pots and gift them to basil... Pot and tease their roots apart to separate the black seeds from the root ball comprised a. Choi, broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc, and none of them across the pot at. Writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the pot by.... On hand at the cross-section of plants mix so the seeds in plastic or... Mind that many gardeners easily propagate basil from each plant on my kitchen window the! To the two separate adjustable heads at all crush the heads over the colander pick., check out these articles next: Photos by Laura Ojeda Melchor © Ask the Experts LLC type... And moist covering the roots begin to form, which may take days... To start growing roots May/June time and… Q. Mist the soil scent flavor! Types, be sure to check out our let them dry for a few days how to separate basil seeds a,. You buy in the garden: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban.! Yet - we built an elevated garden with organic soil with gypsum underneath the soil for now her.