If you do not wish to attempt to grow basil from seed, then growing the herb from cuttings is also another option. In addition, if you have purchased a healthy plant then there is no reason why you would not then be able to snip a piece off and allow another plant to then take root.
However, in order to do this, you need to have a firm understanding of the processes involved or else you stand little chance of things working out the way that you hoped. So, how do you take cuttings and how do you get them to survive?
Well, if you were worried that you would require some specialist knowledge, then that is not the case. Instead, the actual process is not complex and anybody can follow the steps.
Step 1: Knowing what to cut.
The first step is knowing what to cut and how to do it. The most important thing of all is that the cutting you take is around 4 inches long from the top of a very healthy basil plant and you make the incision just below a leaf node.
The reason why you have to take a cut from here is that it is going to provide the plant with the best possible chance of surviving and throwing out roots. Just taking a random piece is not going to be as effective as it is from the leaf node that the new roots are going to be able to grow. If you do not include that at the base of the cutting that you have taken then you are effectively giving the cutting nothing to work from and it will then become impossible for it to produce new roots no matter how hard you try.
With your new cutting, remove the leaves from the bottom two inches of the piece. Failing to do this will only result in the leaves rotting later on and it is pointless keeping them there. Ideally, you will then just have the top two leaves left as that will be enough for the plant cutting to power on and grow.
Finally, just make sure that you have taken your cutting from a section of the plant that has not flowered and certainly not from a piece where it is in the process of developing those buds. You need a section that is not at that part of the growing stage for this to then take hold. Also, make sure that the section that you are cutting is strong and healthy. If there is any sign of disease or it does not look perfect then look at another potential location for the cutting. The last thing you want to do is to bring trouble with you when taking a cutting and remember that most diseases can indeed be transferred in this manner thanks to them existing due to bacteria or fungus.
Once you have done this, you then have to think about rooting your cutting and in doing so there are two main options for you to consider.
Step 2: Rooting a Cutting in Water.
The first option is to use water for rooting purposes and this is something that is quite popular amongst those people that have tried this with basil. With this option, you need to use a clear glass as that is going to provide you with the opportunity to watch the roots develop so you will know if there is any progress or if the cutting is just not going to work out.
The glass that you use should be small enough so that one third of the plant sticks out of the top and does not enter the water. You should fill the jar and then put it in a sunny position but make sure that you change the water on a weekly basis or else you do run the risk of various pests and diseases developing.
Eventually, you are going to see some root growth although this can take a couple of weeks to appear. You should then keep the cutting in the water until they reach approximately two inches in length. This is going to provide you with a strong base for the plant to then be transplanted and go on to be sturdy enough in the future.
Step 3: Rooting a Cutting in a Potting Mix.
This option is going to involve a bit more work but it can be just as rewarding as the cuttings in water option. To do this, you need a potting mix, rooting hormone powder, and a pot.
The best approach is to use a pot that is approximately eight to ten inches in diameter and make sure that there are adequate drainage holes in the base. You should then use a sterile potting mix and just check that you did indeed pull off those lower leaves before you think about potting up the cutting.
Dip the base of the cutting in the rooting hormone powder and then make a hole in the potting mix that is deep enough for around a third of the basil cutting to be placed in the mix. Once it is inserted, gently tap down the soil that surrounds the cutting as this will help to hold it in place. At this point, you should add some moisture by spraying the soil lightly just so that the top is wet without the entire pot being drenched.
Finally, you should then place the pot next to a sunny windowsill so that it gets as much light and heat as possible to help with the rooting process. Keep the cutting moist by misting the soil twice a day but always check that you are not saturating the plant as that is going to be counter-productive.
Step 4: Transplanting the Cutting.
The final step is to actually transplant the cutting and, once again, you have to be absolutely sure that you know what you are doing or else this could be a disaster and all of the hard work that went into growing the cutting will have been to no avail.
First, you need to know when the cutting is ready to be transplanted, which means put into the pot or position that is going to be its home. If you rooted it in water, then the correct time is when the roots that you see on the bottom of the stem are around two inches in length. If you have rooted the cutting in a potting mix, then you should transplant when the plant itself has clearly grown several inches as this indicates that the roots are strong enough that they are supporting the plant and that the normal growing process is underway.
So, once you know that this is the case it is then time to transplant.
With the transplanting you have a couple of options and it is entirely at your discretion which one you choose. For example, there is no reason why basil cannot go straight into the ground in which case you simply have to prepare the ground with some fertilizer and dig a hole to plant it. However, do remember that growing basil in this way is going to be slightly different to growing it in a pot as it is harder to keep track of what is going on with the nutrients and also the drainage in the soil.
The second option is to transplant it into a larger pot and for this we are recommending something in the region of a one or two gallon pot. You should add in the potting mix or a soilless mix if you prefer to use that approach as your growing medium and then move the young seedling over and into its new home. Press it down firmly and then just provide a light amount of water just so the top of the soil is moist.
After this, make sure that you either place the pot in full sun or if you are growing indoors get your LED grow lights as they will mimic the effects of the sun and will be able to really help when it comes to your plant developing in the manner that it would do in perfect conditions outside.
So, there you have it that is how to take a cutting of basil and to then get it to not only take root but then develop into a healthy and strong plant. As you can see, there is nothing too complex and the main issue is in making sure that you have taken the cutting from the correct spot or else you are only going to be making life very difficult for yourself.
By taking the time to do this correctly and to then provide the basil cutting with the perfect conditions indoors, there is no reason to doubt that you will be able to produce something that is going to be a very strong and sturdy plant in the future.