It is no secret that I’m not the best at gardening. I’ve never had a garden or a community garden at school. Story time! I specifically remember a class project where everyone in the class had to grow a bean. Each student was given just water, paper towels, and a seed in a single ziploc bag. Then the bag was hung up near a sunny window. I remember a clothesline of ziploc bags with soggy paper towels against the windows.

Some students had green little gnarled roots emerging from their seeds after a week.

My seed never sprouted.

Growing up, the backyard was always full of weeds and my parents weren’t into hiring gardeners or pesticides until recently. When I say the yard was full of weeds, make no exaggeration… I couldn’t open the door to my backyard because of all the weeds had overgrown the doorway. It was a jungle in there!

I was surprised I didn’t find Tarzan, Jane, and the gorillas back there.

The most gardening I ever did was actually yard work: I would pull weeds in my front and back yard at my house in San Francisco until my hands were raw. The neighbors would pass by and I would just be reveling at a foot long root I just pulled out from the ground while my mom did the laundry in the garage. My siblings usually weren’t around. My dad would bring out the chain saw sounding machine to trim the one hedge we had.

Anyway, I thought I should give gardening a try (after all they say it’s good for your soul?) Basil can be used in food and I heard that it is pretty easy to grow. It is so interesting how it can grow from a single stalk! I can cut a stalk of basil and grow it in water. Then I can plant it in a pot of soil. If I repeat this process, I can have more than 3x the basil.

How to Propagate Basil

Once the basil plant has reached about a foot tall and seems quite thick (not thicc) it’s safe to start propagating. We started with a grown pot of basil that can be bought from the grocery store for less than $3 (it’s a small investment for many months of  basil). You can start from a basil seed. It’ll just take longer. Here’s our experience:

There was a set of stalks in the middle of our basil plant that seemed overcrowded that could reach greater potential (grow taller like Jack and the Bean Stalk!) if it had been grown in its own pot.

  1. Examine your basil plant for stalks that have 3-4 sets of leaves on them already. Cut a stalk with 3-4 pairs of leaves starting at the set closest to the bottom
  2. Gently run it in under water
  3. Place it in a glass of water with at least 4-6 hours of sunlight and ventilation.

Day 1


Basil plant propagation Day 1

2 Weeks Later

Basil Plants propagated 2 weeks later!

Basil Plants propagated 2 weeks later!

Once the basil plant roots have grown out (I’d wait until there were at least a few root strands), transport them to a pot with soil.

Make a small well in the soil and gently place the propagated basil plant in there and spread the soil over the roots. You can also add plant food to the base of the plant. Water the soil generously until the soil is moist to the touch.

These are the materials we’ve been using to help our basil plants multiply and grow, grow, grow:

  1. Planter

2. Organic soil

3. Organic plant food

It’s very simple to start. And imagine the aroma of basil. Do you like basil?

herb plants 3 months later basil cilantro lavender parsley