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Basil is one of the most popular herbs in the home garden. Known for its strong, peppery flavor (with hints of licorice), and its striking ornamental foliage. Basil is as versatile in the landscape as it is in the kitchen.
Site and soil preferences: Basil thrives in heat and full sun. Plant it in any well-drained soil amended with plenty of organic matter. It grows well in both garden beds and containers, and when planted near pepper and tomato plants, it is said to enhance their growth.
Starting seeds indoors: Seeds can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last expected frost. Plant hardened-off seedlings outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and soil temperature average 50 degrees F or higher. As plants grow, remove flower stalks to maintain the best foliage flavor.
Mulching: Apply compost around the base of seedlings to keep roots warm, retain soil moisture, and discourage weeds. Side-dress with compost again in mid-summer to help enhance production.
Storage: Leaves harvested for immediate use can be layered between paper towels and placed in resealable plastic bags in the refrigerator. To enjoy basil year round, chop leaves in a food processor and freeze them in ice cube trays with water or a little olive oil. Then when a recipe calls for fresh basil, simply add a cube from the freezer. If you plan to freeze pesto, leave out the garlic until you're ready to use it.
Plant basil in a small container so you can easily move it around in your garden. Basil has almost no pests and is a natural insect repellent.
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When growing basil, does it spread?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By tim from Traverse City, Mi
Basil is a tender annual. The plants are fairly short-lived. It grows best in good, moist soil in hot weather. Good luck.
What kind of soil is needed to grow basil? I bought a plant and planted it in Super Soil and it's not doing well.
By Tom from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Basil likes to be watered regularly. Make this a little easier by planting in a self watering container. Making a self watering basil planter is easy and will keep your basil heathy and ready for any recipe.
Grow your own fresh basil from cuttings. Root the cuttings in a container and then plant for a nice fresh supply of this popular herb. This is a page about growing basil from cuttings.