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Plant Care

How to Grow Basil

Discover the secrets of growing basil in our plant care guide. This fragrant favourite, also known as Ocimum basilicum, is a staple in kitchens and gardens alike, prized for its aromatic leaves. Learn how to grow basil from seed, care for your basil plant, and harvest it for a fresh, home-grown touch in your meals. Ideal for herb gardens and containers, basil is easy to cultivate both indoors and out, ensuring that even new gardeners can enjoy it. Follow our tips for basil plant care and enjoy a lush, flavourful harvest.

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Growing Basil Plants - Sow and Grow Basil
Growing Basil Plants - Sow and Grow Basil

Grow Basil From Seed

For a healthy basil plant, start by planting your seeds in moist peat-free compost in small pots or seed trays. Place these on a warm windowsill that doesn't get direct sunlight. Once your seedlings have grown a bit, transfer them to individual pots with a soil-based, peat-free compost. Wait till early summer, after the last frost, before moving them outdoors. Help growing basil adjust to the outside environment by placing them in a sheltered, lightly shaded spot during the day and bring them inside at night for about two weeks. Ensure your outdoor planting site offers warm, sheltered conditions and well-drained, fertile soil, away from direct midday sun. Growing basil in containers is advised for a quality crop from early spring to mid-autumn. Regular watering, avoiding overwatering, and starting to sow from late February to mid-summer, ensure a generous harvest.

Sow in succession to have a strong supply through the summer.

What Basil Needs

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Pruning: Harvest basil leaves by pinching off each leaf at their base, where the leaf meets the stem. Watering: Basil really loves water and does not like to dry up, water frequently. Position: Basil needs a sheltered, warm, sunny sowing site, with free-draining soil.

Growing Basil Across the Season

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Sow undercover and plant out after the last frost has passed.

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Keep watered throughout the summer months and harvest reguarly.

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Bring inside container basil plants before the weather turns cold.

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Sow Basil indoors and keep on a sunny windowsill for fresh herbs over the winter months.

Basil S.O.S.

Ensure your basil plant is safe from snails and slugs. They can also fall prey to whitefly and red spider mites, which can be handled using horticultural soap. Watering issues, either too much or too little, are the usual culprits behind a basil plant's demise. Other factors like temperature stress, lighting issues, disease, and pests can also lead to wilting or death of the basil plant. Remember, basil plants are generally annuals, meaning each plant usually lasts just one growing season.

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Keep Basil's soil damp.

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