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Garden expert shares helpful hack to save your difficult-to-grow plants: 'You've just created a new free plant'

"I'm going to do exactly what you suggested."

"I'm going to do exactly what you suggested."

Photo Credit: Instagram

Have you ever purchased a basil plant from the supermarket, envisioning fresh basil at your fingertips to use in your home cooking — only to find your new plant dead just a few days later?

The supermarket label wasn't lying when it said basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow in your kitchen. It is, but it's not your fault your new basil plant died.

According to Instagram gardening influencer Patrick Vernuccio (@thefrenchiegardener), these supermarket basil plants aren't meant to continue growing. Too many plants packed in a single plastic pot prevents new growth and causes them to die.

So how can you save your supermarket basil from certain death? Don't worry; Vernuccio has some solutions for you.

The scoop

In a short video, Vernuccio offers two easy solutions to save your supermarket basil.

The first solution is to gently divide your basil plant into groups and replant each one into a new pot with fresh soil. This will give your basil more nutrients and space to grow. Plus, you'll soon have multiple flourishing basil plants to expand your kitchen herb garden or rehome with loved ones!

Another solution is to propagate new basil plants from the parent plant. Start by cutting a basil stem beneath a node — a point on a stem where a leaf or leaves grow. Next, remove the lower leaves and place the cutting into a cup of water, refreshing the water daily. In a few days, the cutting will develop roots and can be planted into another pot. Voilà! As Vernuccio said, "You've just created a new free plant." 

How it's helping

Homegrown basil tastes better and has numerous benefits to the health of your body, mind, wallet, and the environment. You can expand these benefits even more with each type of produce grown at home.

Investing in a garden doesn't have to cost much. An initial gardening investment of $70 can produce up to 300 pounds of fresh produce, about $600 worth, in one year. Growing your own food also reduces carbon emissions; one pound of food creates ​​0.18 pounds of carbon during transportation. So, 300 pounds grown at home would save approximately 50 pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year.

A University of Colorado study published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal found that those who grow their own herbs and other produce consumed more fiber (about 1.4 more grams of fiber daily). More fiber can help in facilitating bowel movements and lowering cholesterol and weight loss. The same study also found that gardeners increased weekly physical activity by about 42 minutes.

Gardening can have numerous mental and social benefits as well. It encourages "slow living" — practicing intentional lifestyles to balance out the busyness and stress of daily life — to improve overall mental health. If you live in an apartment or don't have the space, participating in a community garden is a wonderful alternative that has its own perks, like an increased sense of community, greater subjective well-being, and higher optimism and resilience.

What everyone's saying

Users in the comments of Vernuccio's video shared experiences about the deaths of their own supermarket basil plants and thanked him for the tips.

For one user, Vernuccio's advice arrived in the nick of time.

"I just got my own basil plant and it's very crowded in the small pot." one user shared. "I'm going to do exactly what you suggested."

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