Do you want to know everything about growing basil? If yes, then this guide is for you.
When it comes to some of the easiest herbs to grow, basil tops the list. It is a highly aromatic herb that protects other plants from pests and insects. Additionally, it attracts useful pollinators to the herb garden.
Basil is also known for its beneficial qualities like its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Its richness in essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins (like Beta carotene) makes it even more useful to grow. There are several useful ways by which you can grow basil in your herb garden. Read through to know in detail:
Things Required for Growing Basil
Before you start with the sowing and planting, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the growing conditions for basil:
Sun: 6-8 hours per day
Temperature: 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit
Water: Every 1-2 days or when the soil seems dry
Soil: Well-drained, nutrient-rich, moist
Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
Fertilizer: 10-10-10 Sparingly (every 4-6 weeks)
Spacing: 8-12 inches (depending on the planting type)
Bloom: June to frost
Hardiness zone: 10-22
Others: Herb growing accessories
Soil Requirements for Basil
Soil for growing basil should be well aerated with good drainage capabilities. The pH should be neutral, with moderate levels of organic matter and nutrients. You can go with any soil that is rich and match the mentioned criterias.
Basil cannot tolerate compacted and high water retention soil. So, keep it away from clay and silt soil. If you are planting basil outside, it’s best to prepare the soil with compost and tilling.
How to Grow Basil?
Basil can be grown from both seeds and cuttings. You can select the basil type according to your preferences. But, if you are looking for the ones that can be used in sauces and pesto, go for sweet basil.
Growing Basil from Seeds/Cuttings
To grow basil from seeds, start 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Take your seed starting trays and fill them with sterile seed starting medium. Now, place the seed about ¼ inches deep and firm up the soil in the upper region.
It’s important to maintain adequate warmth and moistness in the trays/pots until the seeds germinate. It will take nearly 5 to 7 days for the plant to germinate.
Basil can also be grown by cuttings for propagation. For that, you need to cut off the stem beside the leaf node and place it in the water. Make sure to change the water often unless you see roots forming within the stem.
Once the root forms, plant the seedlings in a potting mix under the right conditions. And that’s it! You will have another basil plant in some days.
If you are growing basil in pots, make sure it has adequate room inside it. For that, we recommend you go for a large pot instead of a small one. Keep the plants about 6 to 8 inches apart and maintain good airflow.
The pots should have drainage holes, and the soil should be moist rather than soggy. You can plant the seeds directly or keep them inside for a month before the last frost date. It should be set outside for about two weeks after the last frost date.
Sow the seed within the potting mix and provide adequate sunlight so it grows well. You can also try growing basil by rooting it in water.
Basil can grow well both indoors and outdoors. You just need to provide proper moisture and sunlight, and the plant will thrive anywhere perfectly.
If you are growing basil indoors, keep the plant near an adequate source of sunlight (southern exposure), or try using grow light instead.
For outdoor planting, choose a location with good drainage, full sun (6-8 hours), and the right temperature. Make sure to harvest the plant often and remove the flowers.
What is Hydroponic Basil?
Hydroponic basil is basil grown in a soil-free system. It has the same benefits as the soil-grown basil with shiny, green leaves and good structure. In fact, it’s often said that hydroponic basil has more antioxidants, key phytonutrients, and vitamins. As it’s grown in a soil-free environment, the plants aren’t exposed to pesticides.
Basil is a popular herb for your hydroponic herb garden due to its high value, quick crop time, and easy production.
How to Maintain a Basil Plant?
Maintaining basil is just as important as planting it right. Here’s how you can care for your basil plant:
- Water the plant regularly, about 1 inch, and deeply once a week.
- Apply liquid fertilizers twice a season for outdoor planting. If you are growing them indoors, a weak liquid solution every 3-4 weeks will be good.
- Pinch the leaves from basil tips once the plant has a true set of leaves for bushy growth.
- Keep the soil moist and provide light shade during very hot seasons to avoid bolting.
- Grow basil as a companion plant with other varieties like oregano, tomatoes, and pepper for added advantage.
That’s it. With the above strategies, you can grow perennial basil plants easily. We hope now you know everything about growing basil.