Supermarket basil is MADE to die! They want you to keep coming back for more. Far better to sow basil from seed, except that sometimes we need an instant lift. Here’s how to get your supermarket basil to last for weeks on end. It takes five minutes and will give you several pretty pots of summer scent into the bargain.
Give it a go…you won’t be disappointed.
Pots of growing basil from the supermarket.
A selection of small pots - terracotta is, I would say, important here, as these plants are going to be in your kitchen and need to look lovely, but if you have a cachepot of some sort then old plastic ones are of course best when it comes to holding moisture.
Ordinary peat-free multi-purpose compost
Take one of your bought pots of basil and remove it from its pot. You’ll notice that this is actually not one plant, but about fifty separate ones, all crammed in like people on the tube. Plants need more space than this, and that’s why these supermarket plants tend to die so fast; they are simply over-crowded.
Now carefully split the compost containing the basil into half or thirds depending on the size of your basil pot, pulling the bits apart ever so gently, and, in a way, ‘unrolling’ the clump of seedlings as you do so. Plant each bit into one of your pots, back-filling with compost and firming the seedlings in gently as you go.
Repeat with the rest and you now have lots of little pots of basil which you must water well, and leave for a week to let them recover from having their feet meddled with.
Keep the pots on your sunniest windowsill and start picking from the tips first, to just above a pair of leaves. This will encourage bushiness. Harvest equally from each of your pots, and this arrangement should keep you in basil for weeks rather than just one measly day. More importantly though, it’ll impart the scent of summer straight into your kitchen.