Curse of the Grocery Store Basil

Every time I go to the store for basil I am lured in by the “take-home” basil plants hanging out by the tomatoes that often hardly cost more than one small clamshell of basil leaves. Sure enough, I will buy it, use it maybe once or twice and then watch it very quickly deteriorate into a sad withered whisper of what this flourishing basil once was. 

Before you take this experience to the grave, sadly muttering throughout life that you don’t have a green thumb, let me tell you – you are not alone! These plants are a trap and, like TC’s sweet sunglasses in Mission: Impossible, they are meant to self-destruct. Thankfully, there are a few simple reasons as to why, and a few easy ways to keep your basil plant happy and thriving. 

It’s Not One Basil Plant – But Many!

If you were to actually peek at this grocery store basil plant, it’s actually a cluster of basil plants. These basil plants are so cheap because it’s just a cluster of seeds thrown in a pot and packaged. Anyone who’s tried to grow a garden knows, you start with many seeds, and then pull out the little babies and let the bigger plants thrive (less competition for water and nutrients!)

To keep your plant (or plants) thriving you can either –  

  • Choose a few of the biggest ones and prune the rest away. I always repot because a lot of the time the soil it comes in is super depleted of nutrients. Just use a simple potting mix
I picked the largest ones and added them to a bigger pot with fresh soil.
  • Save all the babies! Why not try to save them all? I happened to have an egg carton which was perfect for how small the other plants are. Just don’t forget to keep the soil nice and moist!
Paper egg cartons are also compostable, so you can cut the egg carton apart and plant them right in the ground or into a pot!

I’ve set up a nice sunny spot in my house for them to thrive. When the weather is better I will plant them outside, or just have lots of basil plants to give out to friends & neighbors!

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