Sustaining Fresh Basil Throughout the Winter

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.


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. What a great tip – I didn't realize you could do this with basil. I hope my windowsil will be sunny enough!

  2. What a wonderful idea. It's certainly worth a try! I'm going to pass this along to my daughter, as well. 🙂

  3. Cool! I didn't know basil rooted so easily. Will have to try this.

  4. Great tip! I love basil and use it in a lot of my cooking (or I should say, my husband does–he's the cook) 🙂

  5. 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! 🙂

  6. I have cinnamon and sweet basil in the gardens now, I'll be taking me some cuttings when the sun comes up!

  7. Ginger,

    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!

  8. 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.

  9. Much easier than seeds for sure.

  10. Fantastic Dave! Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely be trying this.

  11. Great tip Dave! I want to keep mine going too for pesto, pasta sauce etc…Hope it works out for both of us. 🙂

  12. Great idea! We were just out picking some. It's so expensive to buy fresh during the winter that I usually don't. I will definitely give this a try.

  13. I'm so excited to try this out, I think I'll make a cutting later even though I just bought my Cinnamon Basil two days ago. It seems big enough.

  14. Go for it Chris! It's an easy way to make more freebie plants.

  15. Thanks Dave! Guess what? From my original small Cinnamon Basil, I've already made three cuttings and have rooted two. 😉 It's not as growth aggressive as my Japanese Mint, but it's pretty fast too.

  16. Good to hear Chris! It's an easy way to get free basil – or bonus basil!

  17. Hi Dave!

    I'm still waiting for it to be big enough so I can start eating my basil!

  18. Just ran across this and the Rosemary link. WONDERFUL! I just took some cuttings from my end of the season basil and can't wait! Thanks for posting this!

  19. 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.

  20. How much of the plant do you have in the jar of water I dont want to drown it and kill it? also how long do you keep it in the water for ?

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