Ocinum basilicum, commonly known as basil, is an aromatic plant native to some tropical regions of Asia that have been cultivated by man for millennia. It is a widely used plant, both for culinary and medicinal purposes, and its use has now spread to almost all parts of the world. Learn more about How to Plant Basil in this article.
How to Plant Basil – Step by Step
To have this plant at home from scratch, first, take note of how to plant basil seeds to grow. If you want to plant basil seeds, it is best to plant them in seedlings. It is possible to plant it directly in soil or pots, but its chances of growth will be much better in a seedbed with proper care.
1- Prepare a seedbed with seedbed substrate, which you can buy or make yourself with one of the organic mixes we recommend on our website, such as coconut fiber and worm castings.
2- Spread the small basil seeds over the substrate, spacing them about 0.8″ (2 cm) apart.
3- Water carefully with a fine watering can, so that the water itself does not dislodge the seeds or bury them. Water to keep the seedbed substrate moist but never waterlogged.
4- Locate it where it will receive plenty of natural light but not draughts, from which it should be protected. Also, the temperature of the environment in which the seedbed is located should never fall below 59°F (15ºC).
5- Over time, you will see how the seeds change color, adopting a bluish tone, and a few days later they begin to germinate. Between 20 and 30 days after sowing, when the seedlings already have between 4 and 6 true leaves, the basil is ready for repotting.
Basil Tips and Advice
Once you have finished germinating basil, you can repot it into a larger pot or outdoors. To find out how to plant basil, i.e. how to repot your seedlings or small plant, follow these tips:
You should repot very carefully, taking the small basil seedlings along with their root ball, without removing the soil or damaging their roots.
If they are too close together, you can repot them in small groups all at once, taking larger root balls to make sure you don’t damage them.
For the new pot or outdoor area, you can use universal or outdoor potting soil, although it is worth adding 10% of clay-textured potting soil. A slightly acidic pH of between 5.7 and 6.2 is also recommended.
How to Care for Basil and How to Grow It
Basil care is fairly basic, as it is a very undemanding plant.
When talking about how to care for a basil plant, the most important thing is to keep it in a location with as stable a temperature as possible and, above all, away from strong drafts.
Since it is a plant of tropical origin, basil stops growing when it is in low temperatures, so you should not expose it to temperatures below 59°F (15 ºC).
Light for the Basil Plant
Regarding lighting, put it in a place where it receives plenty of natural light, but be careful if the sun is very strong in your area, as an excess of direct and intense sunlight could dry it out. In this case, it is best to find a semi-shady location, especially in summer.
How Often to Water Basil Plant
Also, you should water this plant whenever you notice that the substrate or soil is dry. Water regularly, but do not overwater, as waterlogging is never beneficial for the plant. In the hottest months, moderate watering twice a day is recommended.
Fertilizing and Pruning
You can also fertilize your basil once a month. We recommend using natural and organic fertilizer, such as worm castings or compost.
This plant must be pruned. To know how to prune basil, carefully trim its longest stems every two to three weeks, giving it a bushy shape but controlled size. Also, unless you want to get seeds, it is good to remove the flowers.
How to Preserve Basil
To keep basil fresh, it is best to freeze it. To do this, you need to keep the leaves, cleaned and dried, in an airtight container and store it in the freezer. You can also freeze basil as part of a pesto sauce, crushed and mixed with olive oil and salt.
Another option, if you don’t want to freeze it, is to store it in water, but away from direct sunlight. This way you can extend the life of the leaves up to a week or so, without affecting them as much as if you were freezing them.