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 taking a few basil cuttings in small jar of water by a sunny window will result in an an almost 100% success rate.
How to take Basil Cuttings
The procedure for taking cuttings of basil 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.
An alternative approach is to put the cuttings in soil instead of in water. This eliminates the transplanting step and is probably an even better way to do this. To maintain humidity around the basil cuttings just tent them by placing a plastic bag over the pot until you are confident that rooting has been achieved.
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.