I bought a pretty nicely sized basil plant a little less than a month ago. I planted it in a Snapple bottle. I admit – I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t do any research, put the basil in the shade for a while, saw that it was dying. Has been in sunlight ever since .. but the wilting and brown spotting hasn’t completely stopped.
Am a little concerned. I cooked with it about a week ago, and the taste was amazing. I water about one every two days.
Your method is less than ideal, but it could still work. One question that comes to me is whether the roots are getting enough oxygen. You can help this by not filling the bottle more than about 3/4 full, so the water surface is larger. Make sure there is enough room in the neck of the bottle to allow air to circulate. This might be a problem if the neck is stuffed full of the stems.
Another question is whether the water you are using has any nutrients in it. You could try pouring your water through a pot of good soil or compost and catching the runoff to use for watering.
By this time there should be some roots developing on your cuttings that you could see through the bottle. If there are none, you probably have a rotting condition developing in your bottle and you might have to start over. Be sure you wash out the bottle and get new cuttings, or at least rinse them thoroughly with running tap water.
Thanks for the advice! I’ve been having a Sneaking suspicion that it had something to do with the bottle. I have a gallon water bottle that I’m planning to replant it in. I can see thin roots through the bottle, but not that many.
It might be easier to plant your basil cuttings in soil. A conventional pot has a big, open top and a narrow bottom, which helps get oxygen into the soil. A bottle is the opposite.
My goal is to save enough money to buy some pots, but right now, I just can’t spare the extra money (the basil plant is pretty large, so I can’t buy a pack of those flimsy, starter pots haha.) Thank you for all the knowledge though! big, open tops, narrow bottom – got it!
There are a number of cheap alternatives for pots- 5 gallon buckets from restaurant trash, gallon jugs with the top cut off, milk crates lined with garbage bags (with holes punched in the bottom) to name a few. Good luck in your search.
halhurst Makes a very good suggestion of looking behind restaurants (especially Asian & deli types) to find good sized containers. Even large cottage cheese type containers or large plastic produce containers you may have in your own home could work. Just be sure to poke some holes in the bottom and use some good quality potting soil to plant them in. I’ve also heard that dollar stores can be a good place to find nice pots and potting soil. Craigslist would be a good place to look for cheap or free pots. I’ve seen before where people were moving and had a large assortment of pots and plants to give away.
You will want to make sure you have some nutrients available for your plants. Luckily, herbs don’t need a lot of supplemental feedings like other garden plants, but if you put some used coffee grounds on top of and into your soil and maybe a light sprinkling of Epsom salts into your soil, you should be okay.
As far as the wilting and brown spots go, I have a feeling that it may be because the plant got stressed and maybe because it was in the shade. I had a nice big potted basil plant that was very full and healthy. If was growing in full sun and even though the only water it received was from rain fall, it was lush and about 2 1/2’ tall. I moved it under a tree and before long it started to wilt, loose it’s leaves and get brown spots. Being under the tree, it didn’t get much sunshine or rain fall. It became stressed and started to die. So, I put it back into the sunshine again picked off as many of the spotted leaves as I could without picking it bare and gave it a little water and nourishment. it slowly came back, but was never quite as good as it was before. Hope you have better success and can find some nice big, free pots!
I agree with Loratika, your suggestion is realy good! :)