Searching how to grow basil? Here, is everything you need to know about basil before growing them.
Basil is a tender perennial herb. It is used to add flavor in various dishes- many people use basil to make Caprese salads, sprinkle on pasta, and pizza for taste. Basil has a sweet, spicy, clove-scented flavor.
You may have bought fresh basil from the market, but it will not be as fresh as 2 sec ago hand-picked from your basil plant.
Here, you get everything you need to know about basil – how to grow, care, and harvest basil. Interested to know about this perennial herb?
So, keep reading:
Table of Contents
Why Should I Grow Basil
Before growing any plant- first, we should know why to plant it.
Let me tell you, basil is the most perfect herb to grow, especially in the summer. It gets easily established and produces half a cup of leaves each week.
The herb does not require much space to thrive, you just need a pot, well-drained soil, and a sunny area to have a growing basil plant.
So, if you have a vegetable garden – growing basil around would be a great choice.
How to Grow Basil
Basil can be planted from seeds as well as stem cuttings. From seeds, it usually takes 2 weeks to germinate and 1 month to become seedlings (5 – 6 inches taller).
However, growing from seeds is not popular. Actually, there are many cultivars that do not grow from seeds. These cultivars are developed for better adaptation, to repel diseases by breeding two or more species. If you try to grow basil cultivar from its seeds chances are it will not grow as its parent plant or may not grow.
So, propagation from stem cuttings or division would be the best method. You can buy a small plant from a nursery or order online and plant in well-drained soil. If you have a basil plant, you can take stem cuttings and propagate multiple new plants.
When to Grow Basil
Basil herbs are very sensitive to cold weather. They do not like to stay out or grow in the winter months. So, plant them once all threats of frost are gone – maybe after 6 weeks of the last frost depending on where you live. Basil grows rapidly in warm or hot climates, especially in May.
Planting basil in early spring will give enough time to get established them which results in, good production of foliage during summer.
Where to Grow Basil
As basil likes to thrive in warm temperatures, it prefers full sun to partial shade. Place your basil pot in a sunny area (windowsill or near the door) where it gets direct sunlight all day or at least till afternoon. When growing outside plant it around your veggies and flowers to enhance their flavor or scent.
How to Grow Basil from Cuttings
Instead of seeds, growing basil from cuttings will be easier.
Here is what to do:
Take a stem cutting from a mature basil plant. The cutting should have at least 2-3 leaves on it and not too woody.
Use gardening shears to cut the stem. Breaking or tearing stems will cause parmanent damage to the plant, and broken stems also do not grow. This beacuse when we break stem, plant’s tissues get destroyed.
Stem cutting should be at least 5 – 6 inches tall and have some leaves on it.
Clear all the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting to grow new roots from the bottom end.
Keep the half of the stem cutting in a half filled water bottle. Let half of the cutting emerge in the water and half above.
Use clean water and place the water-bottle in indirect sunlight. Placing the glass bottle in direct sun will heat it up.
Change the water in every 3 to 4 days to ensure the water contains a good oxygen level.
Dirty or stay water for longer time will attract mosquitoes.
Within 2 weeks roots will start coming from the bottom end of the cutting.
Plant this cutting in the pot or directly in the garden in favorable condition.
Basil is a fast grower, especially during mid summer, it will take nearly a month to get established and produce leaves.
Once the plant gets settled you can pick leaves any time you want.
Basil prefers moist, well-drained soil with a neutral pH level. It does not like too rich soil, I added some organic fertilizer like a banana pill, used tea bags, in the starting and its keeps doing well. Too much rich soil will affect flavor.
Mix some proportion of sand or perlite when preparing the soil for better drainage. Sand or perlite gives micro gaps in the soil which makes water flow softly. Avoid planting too deep, just make the plant stand and cover its roots.
Basil does not need much water. Watering once a day is totally fine. If you overwater it can cause fungal diseases and root rot which stunt the plant’s growth or may kill them. The best practice is to after only when the soil looks dry. Water thoroughly once till water flows from the drainage hole. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes.
If you have planted basil in the garden, overwatering is not an issue, as the water flows deep in the ground. However, limited watering is always preferred.
Basil likes to grow in a warm environment for this they require at least six hours of direct sunlight. When they get less sunlight it does not grow as prolific as the full sun plants. Place your basil plant in the east-facing area for good sunlight. Make it get early morning sunlight till afternoon shade.
Basil can grow 12 to 24 inches in height depending on its varieties. Plant them at least 12 to 16 inches for good growth. Planting them too close will lead to bad air circulation and may cause fungal diseases. If you’re limited to space, plant basil in containers, it thrives easily in small spaces. Consider growing spicy globe basil which tends to grow small and mound leaves.
Basil does not need much fertilization. More fertilizer will lead to loose or wilt leaves. Mixing organic fertilizer (tea bags, banana pill) with the soil, at the planting time will be sufficient.
How to Harvest basil leaves
Basils’ leaves can be harvested as per need. You can harvest basil leaves anytime you inspire to use them. Pinch off the leaves to harvest. You can also harvest leaves in bulk and store them in the freezer but why do, when you can get fresh leaves instantly.
However, harvest only two-thrid of the entire leaves, so that it keeps producing leaves continuously. Basil also blooms flowers, if you want more leaves you may pinch off flowers to redirect the plant’s energy to grow more foliage. Basil flowers are also edible used in salads.
Common pests and Diseases
Pests do not infest on basil. Many insects repel from basil scent. Basils get fungal diseases when overwater, they do not like soggy soil. Overwatering can cause fungal diseases like powdery mildew and root rot that stunt its growth and they might die. Soggy soil also causes wilt leaves, sometimes leaves also start falling.
Hey! I'm Madhuresh, a passionate content creator, and a Plant lover. I created Shiny Plant to explore and learn about new plants. The purpose is to provide simple and effective Gardening Tips. Hope you'll find this informative.