Herbs forum→Do you really need to discard a basil plant from the previous year?

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Northern California (Zone 10a)
Apr 28, 2021 8:38 PM CST
My basil plants always survives the winter, but then it looks too woody.

I have just tried two tricks that I've got from the web:
- Put a stem with only a couple of leaves in water.
- Give them fresh soil (remove half of the soil, which means also cutting half of the roots.
- Separate the bunch in one pot to several pots.

Did any of these work for you? I don't want to be too disappointed if they don't.
Do you have any others?
Thank you!
Starting to plant succulents in my backyard
Taos, New Mexico (Zone 5b)
Crescit Eundo
Greenhouse Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Mexico
Apr 29, 2021 7:57 AM CST
I would think it would go to seed very quickly and what leaves you get would be of a low quality.

My advice would be that its not worth it to nurse it back to health, but to start with new plants. Especially since basil grows so fast. But it sounds like you've done this before ("always survives the winter"). How has it turned out in previous years?
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Heirlooms Vegetable Grower
Apr 29, 2021 8:21 PM CST
I grow African Blue basil. Doesn't make seeds as it is a hybrid sterile cross. In order to have it the next Spring, I take 5" cuttings and grow it indoors thru the winter. Basil is happy to grow, but yes, end of season the stems split and become woody, however, it is going to depend on the type of basil you propagate. Water roots aren't as sturdy as soil roots, and by the way, I use a 1 gallon deep pot to grow those 5" cuttings or basil isn't happy and tries to die on you by Winters end. Good luck!
So many roads to take, choices to make, and laughs to share!
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
May 22, 2021 12:42 AM CST
A fresh green stem of basil will root like crazy if it's kept warm and moist... here in NY seedling basil comes in a 4 pack for $2
Why work old stems?
You're probably like me, if it's alive you can't kill it, but basil is not supposed to live more than one summer season. It's not perennial anywhere in the world. It's not supposed to live through winter. Let it go. It's okay, your old basil will thank you for stopping the suffering you should have done in December and plant new basil.
The plural of anecdote is not data.

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