Planting basil requires minimal effort; one may grow it inside or outside, but caring for one is difficult. But don’t worry, as we are here to explain to you how to take care of basil plant
You can enjoy your homegrown basil all year by following the tips in this article.
1. What is Basil?
With 150 species, basil is widely famous around the world. This aromatic herb is commonly found in Italian and Mediterranean dishes, such as pesto, pizza, and pasta.
Garnishing homemade pasta with Thai basil leaves from my garden is something people enjoy doing. And let me tell you, there is no comparison between cooking with freshly picked basil as compared to supermarket basil.
Apart from cooking, in Ayurvedic treatment as well, Tulsi, a species of basil, has proven effective in combating illnesses.
Enhancing the beauty and fragrance of your indoor or outdoor spaces, basil’s combined culinary and medicinal features make it a preferred option for gardening.
2. Varieties Of Basil
There are different basil varieties based on their unique tastes and flavours. Here are our top picks:
2.1 Sweet Basil
With a fusion of sweetness, pepper, and cloves, this variety brings satisfying flavours to food.
2.2 Thai Basil
This is our favourite basil variety with shiny green and narrow leaves. Its purple flowers and stems have an aroma similar to licorice or anise.
2.3 Lemon Basil
It is a blend of basil with gentle citrus flavours to produce an appealing taste commonly used in teas, desserts, etc.
2.4 Genovese Basil
With large, dark green leaves, this delicious herb is very popular in Italian dishes.
2.5 Holy Basil
Also known as Tulsi, this variety has significant value in Indian culture. It’s proven to cure many diseases such as cough and cold.
3. Ultimate Guide To Growing Basil
Go through the guide to venture into the world of this plant and uncover its secrets together!
3.1 Find The Ideal Spot For Your Basil Plants
Basil thrives in the warm embrace of the sun. When grown indoors, it requires a sunny spot.
They crave six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive magnificently.
However, in regions with scorching summers, offering some respite from the hot midday sun is crucial as adorning your basil with a touch of afternoon shade.
3.2 Temperature For Basil Plant Growth
Generally, between 70 and 85°F, these annual plants flourish in Mediterranean climates.
However, cold regions require basil to be grown indoors or in movable containers for protection from frost.
3.3 Free Draining Soil For Basil Plants
Basil, like most herbs, hates standing water around its roots. Select well-drained soil, such as loamy soil, which is crucial for ensuring optimum growth.
This type of soil allows the plants to flourish without the risk of developing root rot.
3.4 Soil Requirements to Grow Basil
Basil thrives when grown in nutrient-rich soil. Compost or well-rotted manure addition helps enhance the soil, supporting plant growth.
Organic fertilizer offers a constant source of nutrients, furthermore.
4. How To Water Basil?
Taking care of basil also involves following the proper watering techniques.
Remember, whether you are underwatering or overwatering, both can lead to significant harm to your basil plants.
For optimal watering, mornings are best, as basil hates having standing water around its roots.
Also, while watering, avoid splashing water onto the leaves, as this could increase the possibility of powdery mildew, which is a fungal infection in basil plants.
If you’re using a larger pot, ensure they have proper drainage holes, as potted plants tend to dry out faster than those in herb gardens.
Also, check the moisture levels to avoid issues like root rot.
If you live in areas of tropical regions or have raised bed gardens, my honest opinion would be to use a drip irrigation system.
This method is very useful for growing basil and even for other plants.
5. Pruning and Pinching of Basil Plants
Maintaining healthy basil plants requires attention to pruning and pinching.
Reaching a specific height and having multiple leaves, basil requires pruning, according to my advice.
During the growing season, pruning must be done every two to three weeks to ensure optimum plant growth.
Pinching is recommended when your basil reaches an approximate height of 4-6 inches.
Excessively tall or leggy stems or branches should be removed when noticed. It’s a secret tip to make basil more flavorful and to promote leafy growth.
6. How To Harvest Basil?
Regular harvesting is necessary for basil plants to make them bushy and less prone to becoming leggy. The harvest of basil can be done whenever you need it.
In the case of young plants, analyze them to see if they grow at least 6 to 8 inches tall and have sets of leaves before you begin harvesting. Just pick a few leaves when you require them.
But wait, here’s a secret tip, to make your plant more enduring and productive, the correct way of harvesting basil is always to cut above the node, where the main stem meets the little branches.
The nodes will automatically grow new leaves, making your plant even more bushy.
For storage options, you can preserve dried basil in an airtight container. If freezing is your preference, simply place the leaves in an ice cube tray, cover them with olive oil, and freeze the basil leaves until solid.
Then, transfer the basil cubes into a clear plastic bag until you use them to make delicious recipes!
7. How To Propagate Basil Plants?
There are different ways to grow basil. One popular way is to start with basil seeds and propagate them.
To do this, sow basil indoors in a well-draining pot. Make sure that wet soil is used during the germination process.
The basil seedlings can be transplanted outdoors in warm temperatures once they have developed a few inches.
Propagating basil plants also involves stem cuttings. Start by cutting a 4-6 inch section from a basil stem below a leaf node.
Then, after removing the leaves, you have two options.
Either put the cutting in water or plant it directly in free-draining soil. Within a week, roots will begin to develop.
Afterward, you may plant the cutting in your garden or transfer it to a large container.
If you have already grown basil plants, you can divide the roots to propagate them. To do this, gently dig up the entire plant and separate the root ball into sections.
Make sure each section has some shots attached.
Then, you can plant these sections in areas where you intend to cultivate young plants. This technique is very effective for growing the supermarket basil plant.
8. How To Take Care Of Basil In Winter?
Many people found it difficult to grow basil during winter. They complain about issues like falling leaves, wilting, brittle stems, and many more.
Are you one of them? Well, your basil needs extra care during fall temperatures. Basils thrive in warm weather and are prone to cold temperatures.
So, growing basil indoors during the winter is beneficial. Try placing it on a sunny windowsill so that it gets at least a little sunlight.
However, protect plants from cold drafts from windows or doors, as they may succumb to crisping the leaves.
Also, do not overwater basil during the cold. The growing process slows down during this period, and there can be a possible chance of root rot.
Basil thrives in humid environments. You can spray some water onto the leaves to balance the humidity around them.
Also, pruning is necessary for basil during the winter. This will give it a combat shape and also promote healthy growth.
Whether you’re growing basil plants in a garden or a container or starting it indoors, this guide will help you grow bushy and flavorfully. Happy basil growing!
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