October 9, 2010

Growing Basil in Water

It’s October already! What happened to summer? Here in the south, it’s time to think about what herbs to bring in and which ones will be OK outside. I have dried lots of my culinary herbs, including Basil. I have even frozen enough Basil to make all the Pesto I might want this winter but there is nothing like fresh Basil in a salad and to perk up those lame tomatoes that we buy in winter. I know it will grow in pots in a sunny window but it gets leggy and wants a lot of water.

A few weeks ago I cut back some of my Purple leaf Basil and put it in water on my kitchen windowsill. I was surprised to find that it had rooted about three days later! I tried the same thing with Genovese Basil and, yes, I got roots!  I already need to trim the roots on the plant in this picture.

No more dirt for me. I’m going hydroponic this winter with my Basil plants. I’ll keep the tops pruned and roots too. I’ll add a little liquid fertilizer as I go along. My kitchen faces southeast so the light is good for growing. Mint loves to grow in water too, so if you like mint in your tea, keep a vase of it in a sunny spot too. I am going to try placing Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme in the unheated greenhouse with a frost blanket over them. I’ll see if they stay green enough to cut during the cold months. I’ll report back on that later.

7 comments:

Melanie said...

I'm intrigued!! I was just wondering whether I could dig up my basil plants and put them in my greenhouse for the winter. Last year I had them and they did indeed get leggy. I will try as you did--take cuttings and put them in water!! Wish me luck!

KMG said...

Good luck, Melanie. Let us know how this works for you.

Cianoy said...

Hi there! I've tried growing basil in water too. Similar to your experience they rooted within a week. Within a month, the root system will be huge!

Just a caveat though. For my water grown basil plants, they all rotted after about a month or so. Something to watch out for.

KMG said...

Mine are still going but I change the water about every other week and prune the roots to keep only the nice white ones in the water. The Purple Opal totally collapsed.

Chris Schoerning said...

One way I avoid root rot is to get a small air pump for an aquarium and place an air stone in the bottom of the container you're using. It also helps to block any light from hitting The water chamber to avoid "other" growths. Prune, prune, prune.

Anonymous said...

For the problem of your basil rotting and if you're like me and don't want to spend a lot of money on any sort of pump or system, just go to the store and pick up a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and add maybe 1/4 a tsp per cup or so of water and add a little every week. It will break down and use dead roots, or forming algae to bind it's extra oxygen atom to and it also adds oxygen to the water which is great for the plants. Just don't use too much or it will act as a weed killer and kill your plant.

KMG said...

Thank you so much for this info! I for sure am going to try the peroxide!