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Friday, April 16, 2010

Growing Basil from Cuttings Part 2


One of my basil cuttings sprouted roots.  I measured the roots and found that they were already 2 inches in length.  I decided to plant them in a small container to see how this will grow.  I still have other batches of cuttings waiting to grow roots, and will plant them once roots have formed.  When you decide to grow basil from cuttings, others suggest dipping the ends of the stem in pure honey.  Honey is believed to have anti-microbial properties that will help prevent pathogenic microorganisms from harming the plants as they develop roots.  This is only done when you decide to directly place the cuttings in the soil.  I, on the other hand, prefer to let them grow roots in water to help give them a head start.



Pot Specifications
It is suggested that you use small pots of 3 inches in size for growing basil cuttings.  A large pot will only promote root rot, as others have experienced.  Since my place is very hot, with temperatures reaching 37 degrees Celsius in midday, I used a pot that is 5 inches in size – and I also do not have any pot smaller than that.  I prefer to use plastic as terracotta pots can take in a lot of heat, and also leach out water from the soil.  The bottom already has pre-made holes for drainage.  To prevent soil from eroding, I placed several small pieces of broken terracotta pots at the bottom. 


Planting the Cutting
I placed a potting mix of perlite, vermiculite, organic matter and compost in the pot.  Fill the pot until it reaches 2 inches below the lip of the container.  I dug a hole at the center that will accommodate the cutting up to slightly above the roots.  It would be better if you can fill the pot about 3/4 of the way and create a mound at the center.  This will help you spread the roots slightly.  Whichever method you choose, always make sure to treat the roots carefully to prevent damage.  Carefully cover the plant until you cover the roots completely.  I covered the cutting almost up to the level of the lowest set of leaves for anchorage. Afterwards, water the cutting until you see water drain from the pot.  This is highly essential as the cutting has grown used to a high-moisture environment.  Others report seeing the cutting wilt for a couple of days or so before becoming established.  To help the cutting, I placed it in a shaded area, north side of our house.  It will have to stay there for 24 hours, with sun exposure of 1-2 hours the next day.  This will have to continue for 3-5 days to harden off the plant. 

It is advised that you put fertilizer that promotes root growth.  I gave it a dose of fish and seaweed emulsion decoction that is slightly weaker than what the instructions in the bottle said.  Let us see how this basil cutting will grow, and hopefully, it will grow well.  


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