Horticulture: Propagating Trader Joe’s Basil Plant

This post was last updated on 7/2/2020.

We went to Trader Joe’s on Friday and bought home a pot of basil. However, it started dying almost as soon as it got home. Turns out supermarket basil is made to look great as a clump but will die shortly because it’s a bunch of individual basil clumps shoved together that will fight for root space and nutrients.

The solution is apparently to separate these clumps into new pots. I tried, but honestly I could not. When I pulled my basil plant out, the roots had woven themselves around many times tightly. I didn’t want to destroy all the roots, so gently loosened the soil as much as I could and planted the entire thing into my largest pot.

It turns out you can also propagate basil easily, so I trimmed off some of the stems and stuck them in water. They were dying anyway so may as well try. I’ll let you know how they get on. Check back for updates!

The above photo was taken on 6/8/2020 when I first published this post.

18th June

It’s been 10 days and it’s been… interesting. Haha. I thought my basil was dying because its stems had started to turn brown and some of the leaves were majorly wilting or drying up. One stem completely wilted so I threw it out, but today I noticed one of the stems had started showing signs of rooting!

I have to admit I don’t have super high hopes for these, but if they do manage to take root and grow in a pot I will be a very happy bunny.

24th June

One of the basil stems completely died so I’ve had to dispose of it, but the rest of them are doing really well!

You can see decent roots growing on all 4 of the remaining basil stems. It’ll be time to plant these soon, but as with my new celery stalks I need to find a suitable container and will probably keep them indoors as well, to avoid the gnats that are infesting all of our outdoor plants.

The original basil plant is, um, pretty dead. But I’m glad we’ve got these four cute little basil stems that I can hopefully grow longer-term!

27th June

Their roots are developing well! So well, in fact, that I was going to plant a couple of them today. However, when I took them out of the water it just felt like their roots were still a bit weak after all.

I’ll try again next week because I do feel that they should be planted soon… but I don’t know!! Wahhh… Ah well. We’ll see. I have 4 chances to mess this up anyway hahaha.

30th June

I don’t really have an update on my existing basil except that I briefly moved them to the kitchen as I was planning to plant them, but then realised I should probably let their roots develop a little more first. Then their leaves started becoming pale from limited light in the kitchen so I moved them back to my office. They’re definitely doing a lot better again, and I can even see new growth leaves on them yay.

I realised that some of the dying basil plant on my balcony still had decently strong stems, so I decided to cut them and try to propagate them rather than trying to keep them alive in soil any longer. I uprooted what was left of the shrivelled and dying basil in my pot and I’m going to use the pot for my propagated basil when the time comes. I’m letting the soil completely dry out to hopefully kill off any gnats left in it.

This is what I managed to save:

Looks pretty shrivelled and limp, and like some animals have been chomping at it outside. Well, we’ll see if it survives. I don’t have my hopes up but if it lives that’d be fantastic.

2nd July

Wow! What’d you know… they’re alive:

The stems have perked right up and the leaves have become much stronger. I moved my new basil to my office today since they seem to be surviving and need a lot more light.

— Bobbie

Wellness: Sleep By 11pm For June Challenge
Recipes: Favourites & To-Try List

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