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Basil is a popular aromatic herb full of nutrients. It is celebrated for its green foliage and distinctive flavor, and technically known as Ocimum basilicum. It’s commonly used in Italian foods and Mediterranean dishes or basil tea. 

Basil seeds are also a popular ingredient. Buying store basil can be annoyingly expensive and time-consuming. 

Besides if you have your basil in your backyard you will enjoy it more often by tossing it on almost everything.

Just a handful of fresh or dry basil can transform a simple meal into a mouthwatering, delicious and flavorful beautiful meal.

Keep reading below to learn everything you need to know to start growing your own basil!

About Growing Basil

A close-up shot of bright green basil plant.

Basil is an incredibly useful herb of the mint family, it has glossy oval-like leaves that typically cup slightly. It’s native to India grown as a kitchen herb. Basil has vitamins, minerals, and a range of antioxidants, basil is used traditionally as a treatment for snake bites, colds, and inflammation. 

Basil has a number of varieties grown, sweet basil, purple basil, lemon basil, Thai basil. There is still another type of basil called tulsi or holy basil that is mostly used for medicinal purposes in treating different body conditions. 

So, If you are thinking of planting basil, here are a few tips we have lined up for you.

Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas displaying a giant basil bush in his garden. The massive herb is bolting and growing little white flowers.
A massive basil “bush” bolting and flowering in Jordan and Zvjezdana’s summer garden this August (2021)

Quick Basil Growing Information

How much light is needed:Basil is a summer plant that requires at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight.
How much water is needed:It loves moist and well drained soil. Water deeply once a week if indoor growing or twice a week if you’re growing it outside. It’s best to water your basil in the morning.
Is it best to start with seeds or plants:It’s better to grow basil from transplants than seeds, they will grow faster and requires less effort and time.
The best month to plant:January, February, March, April
Preferred climate/temperature:Best grown in warm climates about 27 to 35 degrees celsius. 
Is indoor or outdoor growing better:Even though it’s better grown outdoors in summer, it can still be grown indoors. Once you learn how to grow basil, you can grow it anywhere.
Do indoor plants need to be pollinated:If you need your basil to flower and go to seed then you will have to hand pollinate your indoor basil. Outdoor basil doesn’t need to be pollinated.
Level of difficulty to grow:Low. It’s easy to grow basil but does best in summer when the soil is warm. If you have a good sunny spot then growing basil is something we all can do.
Plant height:Basil grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet tall.
Time from planting to harvest:Basil grows extremely quickly and can grow from seeds to harvest in about 3 to 4 weeks.

Tips for Growing Basil

A basket full of freshly picked waxy-green basil leaves and some blue panseys.

1. Trim frequently

During the warmer months of the year basil grows rapids and should be trimmed more often by pinching the leaves from the stem. This should also be done at the first sign of flowering. 

Trimming makes the plant yield more branches and produce more fresh leaves as opposed to flowering and seeds. You can also harvest basil flowers. They are safe to eat and can be sprinkled over the salads. 

2.  Avoid bolting

Basil plants can start producing flowers before their full harvesting time, in a natural attempt to produce seeds. This process is called bolting. 

To prevent this from happening keep your basil away from hot direct sun as the sun tends to make plants bolt easily. 

Also, make sure your basil is well watered. Another trick is to harvest your basil more often, maybe even daily, to prevent bolting.

3. Companion planting

Although basil is a good companion to other plants, avoid growing it with other herbs. Basil thrives with flowers and vegetables. 

For example basil planted with marigolds makes an ideal natural pest control. You can also plant them close to each other to maximise the aromatic mix. 

Basil Growing FAQs

An orange container with several baby basil plants dripping water from their leaves.

Why is my basil wilting?

Although basil is a sun loving herb it may develop droopy leaves that could shorten its life. The most common reason for wilting is because of dry soil. 

It requires frequent watering in hot weather to prevent wilting or droopy appearance. Fungal diseases like Fusarium wilt and leaf spot may also cause stunted growth and wilted yellow leaves. 

To prevent wilting make sure to purchase healthy disease resistant plants and keep basil plants well drained.

What do I do with too much basil growing?

It might be that you were a little excited at the farmers market and grabbed a little too many basil plants and now you have so much growing and crowding your garden. 

An excess of basil in your garden should be counted as a blessing other than a problem. 

Here are a few tips to make use of it: you can make pesto and keep it in the freezer or save your basil for winter recipes by drying the leaves, or pureeing the leaves and freezing them in small potions. 

You can also choose to sell your basil at a local vegetable market

How do I harvest basil seeds

Allowing the basil to flower will slow leaf production and allow seed formation. 

Let the flower dry out on the plant and once it’s dry place a plastic bag under the flower, then cut the flower and shake off the flower to harvest the seed. 

Dry the seed a little more and save them in an envelope. Label the seeds as they can be stored for up to five years.

Suggested Reading: AEROGARDEN BLACK HARVEST INDOOR HYDRO GARDEN REVIEW

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