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Growing Basil from a Cutting

Growing basil from a cutting is very easy, and the quickest way to get yourself a new established home-grown basil plant. Check out this simple tutorial for regrowing basil from cuttings for all the details.

Large bunch of basil in water.
Growing basil from a cutting

How to Grow Basil from a Cutting

There is something so appealing about fresh basil. It smells amazing, is so versatile, you can use it in many different ways, and it always adds something special to a dish that you just can’t recreate with dried basil. 

I use it in salads, as garnish, stirred through pasta sauces, to top pizza, and to make dips! For this reason I like to have at least two large basil plants growing at any one time, especially in the summertime. 

If you grow it from seed, it will take time to get established, and transplanting and re-potting is required as the plant grows bigger. 

The easiest way to cultivate a new basil plant is by taking a cutting from an established plant.  

It is very easy to cultivate basil from a cutting with a little know-how.

Scroll down for the printable instruction card, or read on for all the details!

What do you need to regrow basil from a cutting?

You don’t need much to take a cutting from a basil plant: 

  1. Sharp scissors or secateurs 
  2. A healthy parent basil plant
  3. A tall vessel (I like to use a tall drinking glass) and fresh water, and/or 
  4. A pot with fresh potting mix

If you grow the cutting initially in water, you can replant it into soil, or alternatively keep it growing in water if you just want a small plant. I have had one growing in water on my kitchen windowsill for over 6 months.

Red secateurs on a canvas background
Always use sharp secateurs to ensure a nice clean cut!

How to Prepare the Cutting 

You will need to use sharp scissors or secateurs to take a cutting from a healthy basil plant. You want a nice clean cut.

Take your cuttings in the morning. At this time of day the plant will be full of water (vs after a day in the sun).

Select a stem that has good growth at the top, and a thick well established stem. Aim for a cutting of around 6 inches or longer. 

If the stem that you selected has leaves down to the bottom, remove them so that there is a length of bare stem of around 3 inches at the base of the cutting.

Basil cuttings with lower leaves removed on a wooden board
Basil cuttings with lower leaves removed.

How to Cultivate the Basil Cutting 

There are two basic methods to cultivate a cutting:

1. How to grow a basil cutting in water

The most successful way to cultivate basil from a cutting is to allow it to grow roots in water first. 

This means that when you transplant it to soil it will have a better chance to become established, as it already has roots! 

Place basil cuttings into a tall vessel of fresh water. I like to use a tall drinking glass as it is easiest to keep an eye on the root development. 

You can transplant it to a pot with soil once the roots are around two inches long, but if you are planning on keeping your basil plant indoors, then you can also just leave it growing in the water.

2. How to grow a basil cutting in soil 

The easiest way to grow basil from a cutting is to place the cut stems directly into prepared pots of soil. This avoids the need to start the growing process separately and then replant, but is not always as successful as nurturing the cutting in water first.

The key to rooting basil in water is to keep the soil moist enough (don’t let it dry out), without over watering it.

Growing basil cuttings in a glass of water
Growing basil cuttings in water

Basil Cuttings: Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for basil to take root?

Basil cuttings will take approximately two-three weeks to take root.

Can you grow basil just in water?

Yes you can. Basil cuttings will live quite happily just in water, and can thrive in these conditions, though it wont grow as big as if you replant into soil.

Can you root basil cuttings in water?

Yes, and starting the roots of a basil cutting growing in water is probably the best way to grow a new basil plant from a cutting. It is much more likely to be successful if the roots are started in water vs in soil.

How long does it take for basil to grow roots in water?

Basil cuttings in water will take around 2-3 weeks to grow roots in water.

Growing Basil from a Cutting Instruction Card

Yield: 1 basil plant

How to Grow Basil from a Cutting

Large bunch of basil in water.

Instructions for growing a basil plant from a cutting.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost <$5


  • A healthy basil parent plant
  • Fresh water
  • A tall vessel


  • Sharp scissors or secateurs


  1. Take a cutting from the parent basil plant. Ensure it is a healthy stem. The cutting should be around 6-7 inches long.
  2. Remove the leaves from the lower 3 inches of the stem.
  3. Place the cutting in a tall vessel (e.g. a drinking glass) with 2-3 inches of fresh water in it.
  4. Leave cutting in a bright place (such as a window sill) until roots have sprouted and grown to at least 1/2 inch long (approximately 3-4 weeks).
  5. Plant cutting into a pot with fresh potting mix, water and place in a sunny spot (indoors or outdoors).


  • If some time has passed between taking the cutting and placing in water then re-trim the ends to ensure the cut is fresh.

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