July 7, 2022

Growing Basil Plants: How to Plant, Care for & Harvest Basil | Fiskars

Basil is one of the most popular garden to table herbs. Learn how to grow basil with this complete basil plant care guide by Fiskars today!

A popular herb in both the kitchen and the garden, basil is one of the most well-known herbs grown in America. Technically known as Ocimum basilicum, basil can be found growing indoors and outdoors for use in a wide variety of dishes. One of the first herbs I plant in the spring, basil is easy to grow and perfect for tucking into herb, vegetable and container gardens.

Planting your Basil

Step 1

Choose a location with plenty of sunlight.
Basil thrives in warm temperatures and full morning sun. If you live in an area with scorching midday sun, try to give your basil light shade during the hottest time of day.

Step 2

Soil and placement
Amend the garden soil with plenty of organic matter to create a rich, well-draining foundation for your basil. The bed or garden container should be at least 8 inches deep for strong root growth. Space your basil plants 12 to 16 inches apart to allow plenty of sunlight and airflow.

Step 3

Dig and plant
The graduated marks a Fiskars transplanter make it easy to judge the correct depth for your basil transplant. Dig a 6-inch hold, and then place the basil seedling so that the root ball is level with the soil. Use the transplanter to fill in any gaps. Then, use your hands to press the soil firmly around your transplanted basil.

Step 4

Water your basil and apply 1 to 2 inches of mulch to help conserve moisture and prevent competition from weeds.

Basil Plant Care Tips

Growing basil isn’t a difficult task. With just a bit of care, you may even find you have extra basil to dry, freeze or gift to friends. Some of my favorite basil care tips for a bountiful harvest include:

Tip 1

Water regularly
Basil likes to stay moist and requires approximately 1 inch of water every week. Water deeply at least once a week to keep roots growing deep and the soil moist. Basil growing in containers will need more frequent watering. Your goal when growing basil in a container is to keep the soil from drying out. The best time of day to water basil is early in the morning.

Tip 2

Fertilize lightly
Basil is a vigorous grower requiring very little to no fertilization. In fact, too much fertilization will kill the basil’s flavor. If you choose to add fertilizer, a light application of a liquid fertilizer twice a season is all you really need for basil growing outdoors. If you’re planning to grow basil in a pot and want to add fertilizer, your plants will require only a very weak liquid solution every 3 to 4 weeks to compensate for nutrients washed away by frequent watering.

Tip 3

Pinch back leaves
Pinch leaves from the tips of your basil as soon as the plant has two sets of true leaves. This encourages your basil to grow full and bushy.

Tip 4

Companion planting
Using this technique gives basil an excellent advantage. It may be an old gardener’s tale, but many say, and I wholeheartedly believe, that planting basil with your tomatoes makes both taste better. Some of my favorite companion plants for basil include oregano, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers.

Tip 5

Avoid bolting
Also known as “going to seed,” you can avoid bolting by keeping a close eye on your plant. Basil tends to bolt once summer days are consistently hot. You can prevent this by keeping the soil moist and providing light shade in the hottest hours of the day. You can also pinch off flowering stems 1 inch below the flower to keep the plant from producing seeds and becoming bitter.

How to Harvest Basil

Basil isn’t harvested at a specific time – you generally just grab a few leaves as you need them. However, harvesting regularly will keep your basil rounded and less leggy. It will also help keep your plant from going to seed.

Harvest basil regularly. Even if you don’t need it, keep harvesting consistently throughout the growing season. Aim for removing 1/3 of the leaves each month to encourage new growth. I add basil to many dishes during the summer, but I also find it freezes well in olive oil for use during the winter.

Snip the stem just above the point where two large leaves meet. I keep a pair of Fiskars snips tucked in my garden apron to create clean and tidy cuts whenever I’m harvesting basil. Make sure to enjoy your harvest with a fresh recipe of your choice!

Common Questions About Basil

How long does it take for basil to grow from seed?
Basil germinates in 7 to 10 days after planting. It’s usually ready for harvest within 3 to 4 weeks.

Why is my basil plant wilting?
There could be a few reasons why you’re seeing your basil plant wilting. Start by checking the soil. Basil prefers moist soil – not too wet and not too dry. You want the soil to be damp, not drenched. Although basil loves warm weather, a hot midday sun can be rather harsh. If you see wilting only during the peak hours for summer temperatures, you may need to add light shade over your basil plant.

How much sun does basil need to grow?
Basil grows best with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. Part of knowing how to care for basil is watching the sun patterns in the location you are growing this aromatic herb. With proper sunlight, your plant will be big and beautiful for several months out of the year.

For the complete story, visit: Growing Basil Plants: How to Plant, Care for & Harvest Basil | Fiskars

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