How to Harvest Basil Seeds and Grow New Plants Every Year for FREE!

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I live in Southern Italy, where people are very passionate about basil, and I learned a few useful tricks for growing gorgeous, full plants and how to harvest the seeds from the plant, and save them to sow the next year.

This means that you'll never have to buy another basil plant ever again, and your plants will be so full of leaves that you'll be able to make an abundance of pesto! ( Click here for my recipe for authentic Italian pesto!)

The first important thing to know is how to pick basil correctly. Don’t just peel off a few side leaves. The trick to growing big, full basil plants is to pop the tops off every so often. I learned this trick from a farmer's daughter and it works. As you can see above, the cut stem dries up and new stems shoot up on either side of it. If you keep popping off the tops this way each time, the plant will grow fuller and fuller!

When the plant is no longer growing well, because of colder temperatures or whatever else, stop popping off the tops and just peel off leaves laterally, leaving the top intact. Then it will start growing long parts with seed pods. Leave them there until they dry up and turn brown, as you can see above.

After the seed pods have dried out completely, cut them off the plant and put them in an open container to make sure that they're completely dry.

Now that the seed pods are brittle, they crumble easily and you can see the little black seeds that come out.

Here are some seeds. (And my son's hand after drawing with markers!)


You can separate the seeds and just store them like that. I find it easier to simply store the whole pods, still attached to the stalks. You can put them in a paper bag or envelope and keep them somewhere dry until next sowing season.

Next spring, you'll have lots of seeds to sow!


You probably already know how to grow basil from seed, but if you can find out about my super lazy girl's technique right here on my blog. It works for me every year! (Scroll down towards the bottom of the post.)

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Lisa Neri

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

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  • Adluv41
    7 days ago

    Yes I’m inspired but I really want to live in Southern Italy, like you, lol!

  • Sally
    7 days ago

    Just bought a basil plant. I was unsure whether to pot it or put it in the ground. Thank you for all of your gardening knowledge ! I'll see how it goes and if the seeds will survive the winter .

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