Propagation of Basil Plants Is Easy

This spring, I planted my basil in containers. I like Genovese, which is the classic Italian basil.  It has extra-large leaves with a strong aromatic flavor. Basil grows quickly in containers, its easy to water and to pick a few leaves to add to a delicious recipe. As the summer ends, basil begins to flower, pinch them off, and the energy goes into vegetative growth instead.   That means more leaves for your favorite pesto.  But eventually, basil plants get tired, so I propagate basil by using cuttings. The propagation of basil plants is easy, and now let’s see how it’s done.

First, you need to begin by selecting the upper parts of the plant for cuttings.  You must choose new shoots, the younger, the better.  Use a clean pair of scissors to make a sharp cut.  I emphasize clean because there is the potential to infect the plant cutting.

basil_Prop
A) Select cuttings B) Add rooting hormone C) Use Roolwool as support, D) Cuttings need water for a few weeks E) Wait for roots to appear

After you select your best cuttings, wet the tip and dip in rooting hormone.  The use of rooting hormone is not necessary but almost assures root growth, and that’s a good thing.  Next, I place them into a Rockwool cube, which serves as inert support while the roots develop.  All that is left to do is add them to a tray of water and wait for roots to appear.

This time of year means its time to bring your basil inside.  If you have a sunny window that should do or you may have a greenhouse for protection from the change in season.  At any rate, propagation of basil is easy, but it’s not just about making more plants.  It’s more about extending your growing season so that you will have plenty of basil brimming with an aromatic aroma to keep flavoring your most delectable dishes.

I intend to grow my basil hydroponically using a deep water culture system along with a Mars Hydro SP 150 LED grow light.  Like I have been saying, basil grows excellent in containers, and that means hydroponic containers too.  After all, who needs soil to grow plants?

Growing Parsley in Containers

Parsley is a hardy plant, easy to grow, and has amazingly great flavor. Garden parsley, Petroselinum crispum, is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae and is widely cultivated as an herb and a vegetable. It grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of leaves, with numerous leaflets and a taproot for energy storage. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem with fewer leaves topped with yellow flower umbels. Learn how to grow parsley in containers, it’s fun and easy, not to mention all you will have all that parsley for your recipes.

garden-parslely

Parsley types to grow: Curly Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum)  is used mainly for garnishing and in salads. This type of parsley has thicker ruffled leaves, a bright green color, and a muted flavor that gets more bitter over time.

Flat Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) has a stronger and sweeter flavor than any other type of parsley and it makes an excellent choice for cooking. Italian flat-leaf parsley adds a fresh flavor to any dish. Use it in soups, stews, and salads. This variety grows taller and lanky and requires a wider pot to grow into. Additionally, the flat-leaf parsley is more heat tolerant than other varieties.

Growing parsley from seed: You can purchase established plants from a local nursery, but you’ll get more plants for less money if you start with parsley seeds. Check out our article on starting seeds indoors.  Parsley seeds are notorious for their low and slow germination rate that can take up to 6 weeks to germinate so plant as early as possible. We usually wait until the plants are about five inches tall, and then those plants are transplanted into containers and grown outside or on a sunny window sill. The advantage of growing parsley in containers is that you can move the plant to a new location to optimize its growing requirements.

Choosing a pot and growing requirements: For growing parsley choose a rather large pot, 10 to 12 inches deep and wide. The container must have drainage holes. You can grow as many as 4 plants in this size container. Parsley grows best in moist, well-drained potting soil. You can also add aged compost to the container to supplement nutrients. Parsley in containers should reach 12 to 18 inches in height. It grows best between 72–86 °F and requires full sun. Remember that parsley in containers requires constant watering throughout the season. One container is plenty for an average family.

Harvesting Parsley in Containers: Harvest parsley leaves when needed in your favorite recipes. You can start harvesting parsley about three months after planting. Wait until the stems and leaves have matured. Cut the entire stem carefully from the base as parsley stems are also edible and tasty. Work from the outside of the plant and let the inner portion continue to grow.  Think of parsley as a continual harvest crop but do not over pick your parsley, give it some time to grow back. Pick the dead and faded leaves from time to time to keep your plant in shape and looking good. If flower stalks develop remove them to promote green foliage growth.

 

 

 

 

Annual, Biennial, or Perennial Plants. What is the difference?

daisy flowers in a book

Horticulture and botany, like any science, has its own terminology. Whether you’re an inexperienced newbie trying to unravel gardening instructions or a professional, here are some horticultural terms decoded.  Let’s begin with annual, biennial and perennial plants- what’s the difference? At The Plant King Blog, we always have new posts so check regularly for additional gardening terms, that you’ve always wanted to learn.

Annuals: Plants that complete their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed again within a single growing season. Marigolds, zinnias, and impatiens are typical examples of annual flowering plants that gardeners plant every year to add vibrant color to their gardens. These plants produce beautiful flowers that bloom profusely during the entire season.  All roots, stems, and leaves of annuals die back each season and it is only the dormant seed that begins the next generation.  If gardeners are planting annuals there are two options for next season: either buy a new flat of annuals each springtime or direct sowing of seeds in order to see those colorful creations again.

Biennials: Plants that require two years to complete their life cycle. The first year biennial will produce leafy growth but second-year plants produce flowers. Typical examples of biennials include Black-eyed Susan, California poppy,
Canterbury Bells, Hollyhock and Sweet William. Non-flowering in their first year can be frustrating to gardeners growing ornamental flowers. However, you can get around their two-year cycle by starting seeds in the summer instead of the spring.

There are delicious vegetables that are biennials too.  Some examples of these biennials include onions, cabbage, carrots and herbs such as parsley.  Typically biennial vegetables are usually eaten in about a few weeks after planting. We do not eat second-year plants because they develop wood parts, but if you continue to allow them to grow they will develop flowers and seeds. 

Perennials: Perennials are flowers or plants that can live for more than two growing seasons.  Perennials form a wide assortment of plant groups from ferns to the highly diverse flowering plants like orchids, grasses, and herbs such as hops and lavender. The term is used extensively to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are considered perennials.  Woody perennials consist of trees such as pine, maple and apple trees as well as shrubs. Herbaceous personals die back at season’s end but regrow the following year. Plants of this type include daffodils, alfalfa, red clover, and lemon balm.

 

 

 

 

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