Harvesting Basil Seeds

A kind reader pointed out that I glossed over the seed part of basil harvesting, so I thought I'd give you an easy visual. The first photo is a basil spike after the flowers have dried up and the spike itself has turned brown. This will typically occur in the early fall in most plant hardiness zones in the U.S. If you need to check the zone for your area, there's a handy link at the bottom of this blog.

The second photo is the result of rubbing a dried basil spike between my palms to pulverize the pods and release the seeds. They're black (I think that's true for most basil varieties, anyway) and look seed-like. This is a bonus because some plant seeds look like fluff, dust and even dried flower petals.

All you need to do is separate the seeds. You'll see a pile of them at the left of the second photo. Let them dry a little more in a warm spot, like near your water heater or on top of your stove. After a day or two, container them in a small envelope labeled with the date and variety.

Ahhh - time for a refreshing beverage break because your basil seed harvest is safe and in the bag -- or the envelope -- until next spring.


Before you dismantle your basil plants for fall, try transforming some fresh leaves into pesto. If you like the aroma and flavor of basil, think of pesto as basil-ness on steroids. It's a rich treat everyone who grows basil should try at least once. Homemade pesto is primo - oh, for heaven's sake, too much alliteration, but you get my point.


  1. Thank you for this post!

  2. Anonymous7:14:00 PM

    Can you make good pesto even after the basil's flowered? I thought the leaves turn bitter...?


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