Once the temperature reliably reaches 70 degrees, it’s time to transplant your plants into your herb, vegetable, or flower gardens, whether you bought your basil seedlings at your neighborhood garden center or began them indoors.
Choose a location with plenty of sunlight.
Warm weather and direct early sunlight are ideal for basil growth. Try to provide your basil with some light shade during the warmest part of the day if you reside in a region with blistering noon sun.
Soil and placement
To provide your basil with a rich, drained soil, amend the garden soil with a lot of organic matter. For healthy root growth, the bed or garden container has to be at least 8 inches deep. To ensure that they receive enough of sunlight and ventilation, space your basil plants 12 to 16 inches apart.
Dig and plant
It is simple to determine the proper depth for your basil transplant thanks to the graduated markings on a Fiskars transplanter. Place the basil seedling so that the root ball is level with the soil in a 6-inch-deep hole. Any gaps can be filled in using the transplanter. After that, firmly pack the dirt around the transplanted basil with your hands.
Basil Plant Care Tips
Basil is an easy plant to grow. If you take a little additional care, you might even have extra basil to freeze, dry, or give to friends. My preferred basil growing advice for a plentiful harvest includes the following:
Basil prefers to keep moist, and it needs about one inch of water per week. To keep the soil moist and the roots developing deep, water deeply at least once a week. In pots, basil will require more frequent watering. When growing basil in a container, you want to avoid the soil drying out. Basil has to be watered most frequently in the morning.
Basil grows quickly and needs little to no fertilization. In actuality, over fertilization will destroy the flavor of the basil. If you decide to add fertilizer, all you really need for basil to flourish outside is a small application of a liquid fertilizer twice throughout the growth season. Your plants will only need a very weak liquid solution every three to four weeks to make up for nutrients lost through frequent watering if you’re growing basil in a pot.
Basil has a huge advantage by employing this method. It might be an old wives’ tale, but I firmly believe that planting basil with your tomatoes improves their flavor. Oregano, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers are some of my top basil partner plants.
Bolting, also referred to as “going to seed,” can be prevented by keeping a tight check on your plant. Once the summer days are persistently hot, basil tends to flee. By keeping the soil moist and offering some light shade throughout the hottest parts of the day, you can avoid this. To prevent the plant from developing seeds and turning bitter, you can also clip off blooming stalks 1 inch below the flower.
How to Harvest Basil
Basil isn’t picked at a set time of day. Typically, you only need to grab a few leaves when you need them. However, regular harvesting will keep your basil bushy and less lanky. Additionally, it will prevent your plant from setting seed.
Basil is regularly harvested. Harvest continuously throughout the growing season even if you don’t need it. To promote new growth, aim to remove around one-third of the leaves each month. During the summer, I frequently add basil to meals, but I’ve also found that it freezes well in olive oil for use later on.
Just above the intersection of two huge leaves, trim the stem. When collecting basil, I always have a pair of Fiskars snips tucked away in my garden apron to make neat and tidy cuts. Enjoy your harvest with a freshly prepared meal of your choice!
Thai sweet basil
Thai basil grows similarly to other varieties of basil but has smaller, pointed leaves that are slightly spicy and retain their flavor well when used in stir-fries. The lovely purple blossoms are delicious.
This tiny, mounding species of basil is ideal for pots and compact areas. Although the leaves are smaller than those of other types of basil, they are nevertheless flavored with basil.
Why is my basil plant wilting?
There may be a few causes for the wilting of your basil plant. First, examine the soil. Basil prefers a damp, but not very soggy, soil. The soil should be somewhat moist but not soaked. Despite the fact that basil enjoys warm weather, a harsh noon sun can be unpleasant. If your basil plant only appears to be withering during the hottest parts of the day, you might need to provide some light shade.
How much sun does basil need to grow?
Basil benefits from at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunshine each day to develop. Watching the sun patterns in the area where you are growing this fragrant herb is part of understanding how to take care of basil. Your plant will grow large and attractively for several months of the year with adequate sunlight.
Is it better to plant basil indoors or outdoors?
Basil is a resilient herb that thrives both inside and outside. The plant will flourish wherever it is given the right amount of moisture and sunlight. I love to sneak basil into my veggie garden boxes and grow it both indoors and outside in containers. The options for where and how to produce basil are virtually limitless if you learn how to do it in a pot.
I have more basil than I can usehow do I save it?
By wrapping and hanging basil upside down, you can allow it to air dry. The leaves will, however, start to rot. I like to cut up some basil, put it in an ice cube tray, then drizzle some olive oil on top to freeze it. I put my frozen basil cubes in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer. I only need to add a cube or two of basil when a dish calls for it.
Is it possible to grow basil outside?
Basil is a fragrant, warm-weather herb that tastes fantastic in a variety of foods, including the well-known homemade pesto! When the soil is warm and seeds or transplants are planted after all threat of frost has gone, the crop will be abundant within a few weeks. To keep the plant healthy, continue picking leaves.
Sweet basil is the most popular variety; other varieties include Thai basil, lemon basil, and purple basil, which is less sweet than ordinary basil (licorice flavor).
Basil is simple to cultivate, but it can only be done outside in the summer and when the earth has warmed up sufficiently.
Grow numerous plants if you intend to make pesto. One or two basil plants produce plenty for further purposes.
Even though it can thrive in partial shade, basil will grow best in a place that receives 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Moderately fertile, wet, and well-draining soil is ideal. Raised beds or containers are ideal for growing basil since they allow for improved drainage. The optimal pH range for soil is between 6.0 and 7.5. (slightly acidic to neutral).
In order to prevent exhaust from settling on the plants when you plan to cook with them, grow them away from driveways and busy streets, put them in clean soil, and refrain from using insecticides.
When to Plant Basil
- Start the seeds inside six weeks prior to the last spring frost to gain a head start on the growing season. (Check your area’s frost dates.)
- Wait until the soil has warmed to at least 50°F (10°C) or, for maximum growth, around 70°F (21°C) before planting outdoors. Temperatures at night shouldn’t fall below 50F. (10C).
- Don’t hurry the basil. The plant won’t thrive without heat!
How to Plant Basil
- Plant seeds no deeper than 1/4 inch. Thin seedlings to one plant every 10 to 12 inches once they have emerged and have 2-3 pairs of genuine leaves. The height of basil should range from 12 to 24 inches.
- Plant bigger varieties farther apart (about 16 to 24 inches).
- Basil plants love having tomatoes as neighbors, both in the garden and on the plate!
How to Grow Basil
- Check to see if the soil is damp. Moisture is good for basil plants.
- Use mulch around the plants if you live in a warm climate (the mulch will help hold in moisture and suppress weeds).
- Give the plants plenty of water during the summer’s dry spells.
- Prune the seedlings to the second set when they have formed their first six leaves. As a result, the plants are encouraged to branch out, producing additional leaves that can be harvested.
- Pruning the branches back to their initial set of leaves should be done every time they have six to eight leaves.
- Use a 5-10-5 fertilizer sparingly throughout the entire growing season.
- Pinch off the central shoot after around 6 weeks to stop the plant from blossoming too soon. If flowers do bud, simply remove them.
- Basil should always be harvested in advance of cold spells or sudden frosts because the plants would perish in the freezing conditions.
- To give a meal a tinge of cinnamon, use cinnamon basil.
- Purple basil will brighten up your garden (when steeped in white vinegar, it creates a beautiful color)
Do basil plants grow indoors?
Although basil is a herb that is frequently grown outside, this low-maintenance plant can also be grown indoors. In actuality, growing basil indoors is very similar to growing it outside. You can plant this incredibly fragrant herb for culinary use, to make aromatic oils, or just for decorative purposes.
Can basil be grown outside?
For a continuous yield, sow basil seeds in succession from spring to summer. As soon as the plants are large enough to handle, put them into individual pots. Basil detests sitting in wet compost, so use minimal water. Harvesting each leaf separately will encourage the growth of new leaves as opposed to cutting the plant in half using scissors.
Basil is a necessary topping for great homemade pizza sauces. View our testing of the top pizza ovens that we conducted in association with BBC Good Food.
How to sow basil seed
Basil should be grown in well-drained, fertile soil in a warm, protected location away from the midday sun. It’s ideal to plant basil in a container if you want to have a good supply that lasts from early spring to mid-autumn.
On a warm but shaded windowsill, start your seedlings in pots of moist multipurpose compost free of peat. Plant seedlings into individual pots filled with a compost made of soil and without peat when they are large enough to handle. After the final frost in early July, move them outside. Put them outside throughout the day in a protected, lightly shaded area to acclimate them to outside circumstances, and then bring them inside at night. Perform this every day for about two weeks.
In this clip from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don plants basil alongside tomato plants.
How to care for basil plants
Basil needs defense from the cold and wind when grown outside. Always water gently, ideally before noon, and steer clear of sprinkling the leaves. This ought to aid in preventing botrytis (powdery mould).
In pots, plants expand quickly, so plan on repotting them several times throughout the growth season.
As a half-hardy annual, basil requires new plants every year. Bring a few plants back inside in the fall when the weather begins to cool off, though, to ensure that there will be an ample supply of leaves for winter.
Growing basil: problem solving
Defend plants from slugs and snails. Whiteflies and red spider mites, which may both be treated with horticultural soap, are other pests that like to attack basil.
How to harvest basil
Throughout the summer, regularly gather basil leaves and tops for fresh use. As long as you leave at least three pairs of side shoots so your plants can develop again, you may be very brutal. The leaves will become slimy if you wash them before using them.
Preparing and using basil
Fresh basil should be added just before serving for the finest flavor. Basil leaves are thought to produce their lovely perfume when torn rather than when chopped. Use in salads, soups, stews, pesto, and other sauces—especially those that call for tomatoes.
In this video, Monty Don shows how to create pesto with garden-fresh basil:
In the refrigerator, keep leaves for up to three days. Or keep sliced stems in a glass of water until you need them. Basil leaves can be frozen by being chopped, put in an ice cube tray, covered with water, and put in the freezer. Use in five months or less.
How to grow supermarket basil
Sweet basil makes up the majority of fresh basil sold in supermarkets. From seed to sale, it only takes 22 days, therefore the rootball is not fully formed. Because of this, if you plant it in a garden, it usually dies. Tip the plants out of their pot and pry their roots apart to separate them if you wish to give it a try. Individually replant into compost-based soil pots. Place them somewhere warm, but not in the sun, and keep them damp but not soggy. Harden off and place in the garden after you can see roots coming through the drainage holes in the pot base.
How is basil maintained outside?
Basil plants only require water, much like a package of quick cake mix. Maintain a gentle mist of moisture in the basil plants’ soil at all times. You might need to water your basil plant every 1-2 days, depending on how much sun it gets. However, check to see if the pot has excellent drainage, as damp soil might result in rotting roots.
You will have enough of basil to work with now that you are an adept basil gardener.