A LOT of gardeners don’t know this: Like all the mints, lemon balm and lots of other herbs, you can easily root basil in water to produce more plants for your herb garden in much less time than it takes to germinate seeds, and less money than it takes to go to the nursery and buy more basil plants!
The trick to rooting herbs successfully is to take as long a cutting as possible remove ALL the leaves that would otherwise soak in the water that you’re rooting your basil in. Any leaves kept underwater will quickly get soused, bacteria-ridden, slimy, and eventually, dead.
So take your basil cuttings as CLOSE to the soil line as possible, gently remove ALL the leaves but the top sets, use a thin-necked bottle (so the cuttings don’t sag into the water), keep the water fresh by changing every few days, and in a week or two, you’ll see new roots sprouting from the submerged stems. When the roots are about an inch or so long, pot up your new basil plant and put it in the sun!
This is a photo of a coupe of basil cuttings I took this morning. I’m using an old glass medicine bottle with a thin neck, and you’ll note that there are NO basil leaves submerged in the water. I popped it on a windowsill in the bedroom and expect to see a new root system very soon.
This is how I keep basil going all summer. Thank you, Mother Earth!