How to Save Basil Seed

2 Materials
15 Minutes

Saving basil seed from your current basil plants is a great way to make your garden self sufficient and to save money!

how to save basil seed
Why save basil seeds?

Basil seeds are so easy to save, that there’s really no good reason not to. They’re incredibly small, so storage isn’t an issue, and think of all the basil that you can grow from your very own seed. I like to think of my ancestors when it comes to saving seed. That’s what most of them did, not just to save money, but because seed companies and Amazon weren’t just dropping off packages on their doorstep in two days. Ha! Saving seed helps me to feel more self-sufficient, and that’s always a good thing. 

Basil seed can also be use not just for growing more basil, but there are health claims about consuming basil seed. I’m clearly not a doctor (and I’ve never played one on tv), but the Faddy Eater at the Guardian tried some popular methods of consuming basil seeds, and you can r ead his trials here

How to save basil seeds

There are two different ways to save basil seeds. The first involves letting your plants go to seed and dry out outside. This is easy for us to do since we live in the hot south. For this, I simply let our basil plants bolt (bloom) and once those blooms turn brown, I’ll harvest the seeds. To do this, I run my hand down the stem, collecting the seed heads. Then break them open to reveal the tiny black basil seeds inside. It’s very low-key and simple. (See the video at the bottom for how to do this.)

You can also cut your long basil bloom stalks off and bring them indoors. Set them on a paper plate or a paper towel. Give them several days to a week to completely dry out on your counter or table. Once the blooms are dried, remove the seeds as mentioned above and store. I have a video below showing you how to remove the tiny black basil seeds for the flower heads.

how to save basil seed
How to store basil seeds

As with most seeds, basil seeds should be stored in a cool dry place. This usually means a paper envelope or small plastic container that seals well. If using plastic, be sure your seeds are completely dry before storing. Moisture will negatively affect your seeds, so also be sure your container is completely dry. 

If your basil plant has gone to seed and there’s still plenty of growing season left, then plant a second harvest of basil. Simply take those seeds from your bolted basil plants and sprinkle them in an area of the garden that’s ready for something new. Your basil plants should emerge within a few weeks. I’ve done this when we’ve had particularly hot summers, since excessive heat will cause basil to bloom more quickly. 

how to save basil seed

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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