How to grow basil seedlings from cuttings

Chopped fresh tomatoes on a fresh slice of bread coated with olive oil, topped with basil leaves and finished with a pinch of sea salt. A bubbling tomato sauce brought to life with roughly torn basil leaves. A chunky basil pesto tossed through pasta.

I could go on forever listing the ways I love to eat basil (ooh I nearly forgot on top of pizza!). It used to be one of those plants that I could grow with seriously little effort so I could indulge whenever I felt like it. I bought one packet of seeds years ago and from that I had more plants than you could imagine. I’d let it go to seed then shake those little flowers out and new plants would shoot up in their place.

How to grow basil seedlings from cuttings

I haven’t had that sort of luck recently but the one little seedling I got at the Noosa Farmer’s Market grew like crazy. I should back up a minute and say that I refuse to buy bunches of herbs at the market. If I really need some I usually buy a seedling or plant and attempt to keep it alive.

With this little plant, I pinched its leaves away whenever I remembered to make it nice and bushy and it was growing like crazy. Then some sort of insect found my prized basil. Clearly it was desirable because they quickly nibbled away. It started getting a little bit woody so I chopped the whole thing back and was picking the leaves getting them ready to freeze when I remembered a post I’d seen over at The Cafe Sucre Farine showing how to grow basil seedlings from cuttings.


I straight away found the best little branches I could and popped them in bottles on my window sill hoping they’d sprout and sprout they did. I had 2 casualties but the rest grew good solid little roots. The leaves grew heaps too but as Chris warns, don’t be tempted to pick them or your little seedling will die of shock.

Chris has much better instructions than mine so pop over there if you want the full run down and not just my shove- some-cuttings-in-water instructions. This post was more of a last minute case of ‘oh this is a really good idea I should share it’ kind of post. Chris used a bunch of basil she bought at the market for $2.50 to make 12 little plants.


If you don’t have use for 12 basil plants they make great gifts in a pretty pot. If you found a good price on the pot that’s about $5 for a gift that keeps on giving. Not bad is it? Apparently this trick works for a few different types of herbs. I’ll do some experimenting and get back to you.

Basil seedlings in the pot

Here’s one little guy in his pot ready to grow up big and strong. Wish him luck!

What about you? What’s your favourite way to eat basil? Do you grow herbs?

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