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The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a revelation for me. I’ve discovered the extremely frugal and fascinating world of plant propagation!
This article specifically focuses on how to propagate basil, but the technique extends to other herbs and house plants, too! (More on that to follow…)
What is plant propagation?
Plant propagation is something that should be in every frugal living enthusiast’s arsenal. It’s the process of making new plants from the cuttings of other plants. Essentially, plant propagation means making new plants, for free.
If you’re somewhat entrepreneurially minded, you could even go a step further and learn how to make money selling plant cuttings to other people in your local area.
How to propagate basil
My fellow fresh pesto and pasta lovers will know only too well how quickly you can get through a pack of shop-bought fresh basil. And the dried stuff just isn’t the same.
This is where propagating really comes into its own. First, you need to take a cutting from a basil plant. I asked my mum if I could take two cuttings from the basil plant she has in her kitchen.
However, if you don’t have a friend or family member with a plant that you can take a cutting from, you could also buy some fresh basil and use that instead.
As you can see from the photos below, I took my cutting fairly far down the stem. I also removed the small leaves that were halfway down the stem as I read that getting the leaves wet will result in them rotting.
Once you have your cutting, fill a glass jar with enough water to submerge the base of the stem. As you can see, I put about 3cm of the stem in the water.
Using a glass jar is best so you can see the roots as they grow. I’ve always held onto my glass jars from peanut butter, apple sauce, etc so this is a great way to re-use them! If you don’t have any jars to hand, you can get a 6-pack of jars from Amazon and also use them for food storage.
Make sure you keep the water topped up to submerge the stem, and change the water every 5 days or so.
Basil propagation timeline:
- Day 1: I took my cuttings and placed them in water
- Day 5: the first root appeared
- Day 5 – 11: more roots started appearing and growing longer!
- Day 12: when the roots were about an inch long, I removed the cuttings from the water and planted them in a pot with soil.
Potting your propagated basil
Once your roots are about an inch long, your cuttings are ready to pot up and you’ve got a brand new basil plant!
I had a basil plant grown from seed that had been growing very slowly in the greenhouse for months now, so I re-potted that into a big pot along with my two cuttings to make one big basil plant.
Fresh basil for days!
Did you already know how to propagate basil, or have you tried it with another herb or plant? My flat is covered with cuttings I’m propagating so I’m excited to start this new part of my frugal living journey and share it with you all!