Planting basil plants, Basil, often called great basil, finds its widespread use as a culinary hub. The herb belonging to the Lamiaceae family originated in Southeast Asia. The tender plant in question has several medicinal properties and uses in various traditional healing methods. There are several varieties of basils grown across the globe, and the likes of Lemon basil, Thai basil, and Sweet basil find a wide application in worldwide cuisine.
Table Of Contents
Overview of Basil Plants
They take about 7-10 days to germinate and bloom.
They can reach a height of 18-24 inches tall.
They require rich soil
A pH in the range of 5.1-8.5 suits the plant to flourish
They require full sun, but in hotter regions, shades should do just fine.
Hardiness (USDA Zone)
The USDA hardiness zone falls within 10-11
A basil spacing of about 4-8 inches should get maintained between two sowed seeds.
They bloom in the summer.
Pink, Purple, and White.
They can reach a height of about 18-24 inches in height.
They are native to Southeast Asia.
Basil plant loves water and prefers moist soil to grow in. They require very light fertilizers as they thrive with little to no fertilizers. Pruning basil from the plants’ crown helps the basil seed plant spread and generate more leaves from the shoot.
History Of Basil:
Basil leaves have a long and somewhat controversial history as many people believed the basil leaves had magical powers. People around the world have been cultivating basil for over 4,000 years, and they have come a long way from getting used as a snake bite antidote to exclusive herbs in worldwide cuisines.
The use of planting basil plants as an embalming agent can get found inside various mummies in Egypt. In India, the herb has some religious sentiments attach to it, and people till date plants them in their home as the locals consider the plant to be a powerful protector. Basil was the ‘King of herbs, In those days, but not so long ago, it was the ‘herb of poverty’ for poor because it provides the nourishment to the poor.
As herbs get added to any dish in small amounts, basil contributes very few vitamins and minerals to a routine diet. Dried basil leaves will have accumulated more concentrated nutrients, but most dishes use them fresh.
The Vitamin K content coupled with plant compounds helps the body with the needed anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. To date, basil is considered a medicine in Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and various other holistic medicine beliefs. The use of basils to extract essential oils that produces a necessary amount of plant compounds in concentrated form has found its application in medicine.
Several studies have shown the medicinal benefits of fresh basil leaves, and some preliminary reports provided some encouraging outcomes. The memory loss related to aging can get reduced by its use. People suffering from chronic stress resulting in depression can get treated with the essential oil extracted from fresh basil leaves.
Nutrients and Mineral for Basil:
basil plants involves the use of light fertilizers, and the dosage size should get controlled diligently. A high dosage of fertilizers may allow the plant to increase, but the flavor and aroma from the herbs will get drained gradually.
Using compost or well-rot animal manure can do the job appropriately. If the soil lacks macronutrients adding once or twice during the growing season, a light dosage of dry fertilizer should do the job. People looking to keep chemical elements from their cultivation can use organic fertilizers like fish emulsions and liquid seaweed.
Planting basil plants in pots for indoor, planting requires fertilizing once every three to five weeks; the same goes for planting basil plants in containers. However, for indoor planting basil, using water-based fertilizers instead of dry ones can fetch better results.
Planting Basil Plants
How to Plant basil:
Planting basil from seed involves a series and need to follow the steps strictly to have healthy cultivation. First, the cultivator should dig a hole about a quarter-inch deep and 10-12 inches apart.
Ascertain types of basil grow dense and require less space, some variants like to spread their shoots wide, and for them, Maintain a gap of 16-24 inches. In addition, people often sow tomato seeds and basil to become an excellent cover crop to basil.
Best time of Planting Basil Plants:
Various cultivators prefer an indoor setup while planting basil in the initial days of the growing. Experts advise cultivators to start sowing the seeds in pots or containers six weeks before the last frost date.
Once the soil temperature rises and reaches about 70 degrees F, the cultivator can transplant the plant in the garden area. The soil temperature at night should not fall below 50 degrees F; adding mulch to the soil surface may play a role in maintaining the temperature of the soil and retain moisture within.
Planted basil involves a lot of direct sunlight as the cultivation thrives in heat. The soil structure plays an essential role as the basil seedlings cannot stand water stagnation and withers if the soil doesn’t possess a sound drainage system.
Best place of Planting basil Plants:
People growing basil from seed should pick a garden area that receives direct sunlight for about 6-8 hours every day during its growth phase. The soil for the basil should possess a sound drainage system but can retain moisture to a certain extent.
Planting basil indoors, inside the pots or containers, meets the basil growing conditions as it allows better soil drainage and easy to move from one place to another. Experts strongly advise keeping basil cultivation away from pesticides and insecticides because these are raw herbs, and the sensitive nature of the plant may not withstand the solid chemical materials.
Basil Plant Care:
It takes minimal effort on the cultivator end to follow the basil plant care routine. Ensuring the soil remains moist for basil sprouts as they love wet and cool soil conditions. People living in hot areas can add mulch to the soil surface around the plant as it decelerates the growth of weeds around the plant and helps the soil retain more moisture.
Once the basil seedlings have produced the first few leaves, pruning the basil plant helps the plant in the long run. Once the pruning happens, the plant starts to branch. The pruning helps the plant to attend a fuller and induces more basil herbs.
A cultivator should remain on their toes when pruning basil plants; every time five to six leaves appear on a branch, prune basil. Once the basil sprouts managed to survive about six weeks, pinch off the top of the shoot to onset blooming early. Once the flower blooms, remove them from the nodes immediately. A cultivator, while planting basil plants, should remain careful about steep drops in temperature and frost as they are the arch-nemesis of the cultivation. In case ice comes early, and cultivators can begin harvesting basil beforehand.
Harvesting and Storing Basil:
Harvest the basil when the plant reaches a height of about 6-8 inches. As the atmospheric temperature reaches 80 degrees F, the basil plant starts the leafing out phenomenon.
Harvesting basil early in the morning proved to have fetched good results as the leaves are juiciest during that time of the day. Routine picking of the leaves throughout the summer encourages the plant to produce during the entire season. A group of twelve basil plants with all its basil sun requirement, water, and fertilizers can fetch up to 4-6 cups of leaves every week.
Over the years, when it comes to storing basil, In most occasions people use freezing. Lowering the temperature to zero allows the leaves to retain the flavor in it. In recent times, keeping basil in dried form has gained popularity with the growing use of dried basil in cuisines. Harvester places the leaves in the oven at a low-temperature setting with its door slightly open raises the temperature to dry out the leaves.
Varieties of Basil:
- Sweet Basil: They are one of the most widely grown variants of basil and find its widespread application in Italian cuisine. They get sold in the supermarket in a dried state and possess a licorice-clove flavor.
- Bush or Greek Basil: They often get used in dishes as a substitute for sweet basil. The mild flavor coupled with the intense aroma takes Italian cuisine to that next level. You can get harvest them in pots and containers as they form a denser bush with smaller leaves than other variants.
- Thai Basil: The variants find their use in Thai and Southeast Asian dishes and impart an anise-licorice flavor on its application.
- Cinnamon Basil: As the name suggests, they impart a cinnamon-like flavor to the introduced cuisine. The locals in Mexico usually serve them with legumes and spicy vegetables.
Pest and Diseases of Basil:
The most common pests of the basil are Japanese beetles, slugs, and aphids that attack the planted basil plants.
- The beetles attack the plant in the early summer, and they feed on the foliage of the leave and leaving a skeleton-like structure at the end. They feed on the leaf blades leaving the more prominent veins to form that skeleton-like structure. Hand-picking them or using natural insecticides like azadiractin is the best way to remove them from the cultivation.
- Aphids always create a significant threat to any cultivation due to their rapid multiplying capacity. They attack the foliage and underside of the leaves and cause the plant to wilt and die eventually. Using mild insecticides extracted from neem can become an excellent deterrent to the pest; otherwise, using soap-based insecticides like Bonide Insecticidal Soap Concentrate should get the job done.
- Some of the fungal diseases like leaf spot have proved to achieve massive havoc to the growing basil cultivation over the years, and well documented supports the claim. The likes leaf spot attack in South California or the Downy Mildew attack back in 2014 in California are some of the well-documented cases of fungal attack on the growing basil cultivation.
Perfect time of planting basil plants?
Planting basil should get initiated once the final frost date passes and the soil temperature rises and reaches about 60-90 degrees F. The basil seed sowing season is late Spring.
How long does the basil plant last before it wilts?
A basil plant can live up to two before they wilt and die with all the requirements met.
Does the basil plantation have a high water demand?
They require a very moderate watering level during their growth phase. Although the plant prefers the soil to remain moist, water stagnation at the roots kills the plant.
What is the harvest season of basil?
The harvest season for basil begins in early April and lasts the entire summer.
What is the sun requirement of planting basil plants?
Basil plant requires an area that receives direct sunlight of about 6-8 hours in colder countries. In hotter countries, basil can easily survive in shaded regions.
Will growing basil indoors generate better results than outdoors?
There is no documented evidence to support as both come with their sets of pros and cons. A basil plant grown in the pot has a better drainage system, while people growing basil outdoors can adequately meet basil’s sun exposure requirement.
What steps to follow while growing basil outdoors?
The garden area should receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day during its growth phase. Adding light fertilizers to the soil helps the plant generate a harvest rich in aroma and flavor. Adding mulch to the ground allows it to tackle weed growth and retain moisture within the earth.
Will the plant regrows once cut?
They regrow from the detached region and get a denser and fuller look. Pruning the basil seed plant every time a branch generates 6-8 leaves helps the plant develop a better yield while harvesting basil.