Sustaining Fresh Basil Throughout the Winter

One of my goals this “offseason” (as if there ever really is!) is to maintain a constant supply of fresh basil from November to April. I could do this by simply planting a sequential crop of basil seeds every couple months. This will work but I have an easier way! Basil is one of those nifty plants that grows roots very easily. So easily that just putting a few cuttings in small jar of water by a sunny window will result in an an almost 100% success rate.

The procedure is pretty much the same as rooting coleus in water. Just take a cutting about 2 nodes long. Basil will root all along the stem so there is no need to worry about internodal vs. nodal cuttings. Trim off all but two top leaves (use the trimmings in your favorite recipe, I’m partial to pesto!) and drop it in the glass of water. In 7-10 days you will start to see roots emerging from the cuttings then you can pot them up and put them in a sunny window.


Before the basil plants began to fade in their pots I’ll take a few more cuttings and start the process over again and hopefully keep the fresh basil growing until spring when I can plant the plants outside again. This is also a great way to make more basil plants throughout the year for planting in the garden.

21 thoughts on “Sustaining Fresh Basil Throughout the Winter

  1. Frances

    Hi Dave, I have some in a jelly jar on my kitchen window very full of roots. Should it potted in soil, or just keep taking cuttings and placing them in water? They do root so fast, it is amazing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Dave


    There are many herbs that will root in water like this. I haven't tried many others but mint and rosemary come to mind.

    Thanks SD!


    It's another alternative to making pesto or basil cubes and freezing them.

    Miss Daisy,

    Basil is one of the best herbs. We use it in quite a few things too, especially when accompanied by a tomato!


    I would pot them up to make them last longer. I suppose you could set them up hydroponically but that would be more work. Your sunroom would be a great place to keep them!


    One of the cuttings I took was cinnamon basil. I just dropped in some purple leaf basil into some water this morning. I'll see if we can maintain a nice colorful basil display this winter!

  3. Chiot's Run

    My basil does this when I put it in pots. I usually just blend mine with oil and freeze. I'd probably forget about it being on the counter and it would die, then I'd lose all my basil. Perhaps I'll try this in addition to freezing and see what happens.

  4. Noel

    My basil plants are not producing seeds yet so I'm also thinking of ways to preserve the plants until spring. It doesn't really snow where I am but it could get really cold this coming season and I'm not sure if the herbs could withstand the cold weather.

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