Although the flowers are trivial, they are popular with bees.
Leaves are usually used for cooking, but flower buds can also be eaten.
Basil plants can be grown as perennials in USDA hardiness zone 10 and above, but most of us last until the first frosts and is a soft year-round that needs to be replanted every season .
Mature plant size
The size of your plant depends on its variety, growing conditions, and how much you harvest. “Sweet Basil” can reach 6 feet high, but for most gardeners it grows around 2-3 feet. If you constantly pinch and use basil, you can get more leaves and become a bush. There are also short 6-inch dwarf varieties that work well especially in pots.
Basil grows best in the entire sun . There are fewer disease problems and the plant is more robust.
Basil is ready to start harvesting after about 60 to 90 days from the seeds if grown normally or within a few weeks if grown as a Microgreen.
With frequent harvesting or pinching of leaves, basil plants make fresh leaves longer.
If you need a lot of plants, you can pinch individual leaves or take off the tops.
As soon as the plant reaches about 6 inches in height, you should harvest or pinch the top set of leaves to prevent the basil from blooming for as long as possible.
When the plant blooms, it is going to sow seeds, it does not grow like a bush and does not fill it with delicious leaves.
Once the basil plant is seeded, don’t be afraid to cut and use it as soon as possible, as the existing leaves will loose their Flavour.
Flowers are also edible. So if a few plants are ahead of you, do not worry.
Basil can generally be used in cooking to retain its fresh taste and color. Basil can also be used fresh in salads, sandwiches or wraps (such as cheese cubes).
The best way to preserve basil
Basil can be dried or frozen for post-harvest use .
Dried basil is convenient, but it loses its taste.
Frozen basil has a stronger basil flavor than dried ones. But you have lost that texture. Use for cooked dishes.
Use the spices in your garden design
Basil is traditionally planted with tomato plants.
It has been said that they help each other grow, but it may be for the convenience of harvesting.
However, basil doesn’t have to remain in your vegetable or herb garden .
Some of the shorter, purple varieties like the “Spicy Globe” actually make great edging plants in ornamental gardens .
Any kind of basil can be easily grown in a container
. Give each plant at least a 12-inch pot in a sunny place and it should be well handled.
Also see our Microgreens Blog on how to grow it inside.
Basil growth tips
Spice heat love.
Do not plant until the daytime temperature is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and the night temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Fahrenheit).
Seeds can be started indoors 3-4 weeks before the last spring frost.
Unlike many Mediterranean herbs, basil likes rather rich soils and does not like to stay dry.
Planting space is about 10 inches apart.
They will bush out. When the plant reaches about 6 inches in height, start pinching the tops.
If not pinched or harvested, the plants will be tall, hairless, have few leaves and will sow seed.
Basil is very sensitive to frost and will be one of the first plants to go in the fall.
When frost is threatened, you can slightly extend the season by covering the plant with a Plant cover
If you live in a frost-free area, some basil plants can turn flowers and offspring in your garden. Not all breeds can successfully do this.
Growing basil indoor
Basil can be grown indoors from seeds, seedlings or cropping of vegetable garden plants .
Provide direct sunlight and warmth, . An unripe basil plant, either indoors or outside, will have light green leaves.
Basil varieties expected to grow
- “Genovese”: Leaves larger than’Sweet Basil’ with all flavors.
- “Cinnamon” or ” Mexican Spice” : green foliage, purple flowers, spicy, cinnamon scent.
- “Finissimo Verde a Palla” & ” Spicy Clove”: fast growing small plants suitable for containers and edges.
- “Lemon” : Serving fresh lemon cocktails to pesto. Smaller leaves can be more difficult to harvest. Varieties “Sweet Lemon Dani” or “Sweet Dani” have a lemon zest and larger leaves.
- “Red Rubin”: It stays purple throughout the season and tastes good. Ideal for flavoring vinegar.
Basil pests and problems
Aphids are the largest basil pests, especially if grown indoors. Beetles and slugs can be unpleasant outdoors, causing holes in the leaves.