How to Transplant Living Herbs from the Store and Turn Then Into More Plants

Supermarket living herbs usually only live for a week or two, and after that they have to be thrown out.

But you can give basil (and other herbs) a second life by dividing them and regrowing them in your garden!

When transplanted this way, you can make several new plants—for free!

Tip #1: Supermarket herbs should be transplanted soon after purchase.

To increase the chances of your herb surviving, it should be moved into a larger pot or into the ground the week it’s brought home.

Tip #2: Supermarket herbs are planted intensively.

Supermarket herbs won’t do well if you just take them out of the pot and put them straight in the ground (or into a larger container). You need to divide them first.

Tip #3: Supermarket herbs should be divided before transplanting.

To keep your plants healthy, gently prod the root ball apart with your hands or cut them with a clean pair of shears. I usually leave two to three seedlings per transplant, and remove the weaker ones as the plant matures.

Tip #4: Thin the divisions as needed.

Remove any tiny seedlings by snipping them off at the base of the stems. These seedlings will never be able to survive in the shade of their taller neighbors. But don’t throw them out—use them in a salad as microgreens!

Tip #5: Bury the stems of basil seedlings and water well.

Just like you do with tomatoes, plant the basil up to its lowest set of leaves (even removing the last set if it’s starting to yellow) to encourage roots to form along the stem.

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