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Growing Basil

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S P P              

(Best months for growing Basil in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 64°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 10 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-12 weeks. Pick before flowering.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Tomato
  • A Basil plant
  • Basil flower

A frost tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent sweet smell. There are many varieties including Thai, purple ruffles, and lemon.

Can be grown inside in pots in winter. As the plant develops, pinch out the top to encourage bushy growth. Pick off flowers to encourage more growth.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Basil

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. Tear rather than chop.
The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.

Your comments and tips

26 Apr 20, Georgia (New Zealand - temperate climate)
We've got a Basil plant in a raised vege patch outdoors, in Nelson. Any tips on what to do with it as we come into winter? Should I try and transplant it indoors? Or give it a good prune and then let it be? Or am I fighting a losing battle trying to keep it alive?
27 Apr 20, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I assume the frosts would hit it where you are.
10 Apr 20, Joe Ruscigno (USA - Zone 7b climate)
When is it safe to plant basil plants in pots outdoors?
29 Feb 20, Laura (USA - Zone 7a climate)
I’m in Zone 7a/b. When planting seeds in trays, how much light should they get? My cats destroy all plants, so I need to find a place they don’t go, and I’m not sure there’s enough light in that room. Unless just normal daylight from a window is adequate for the germination period (I have 10 black thumbs and really want to get this one right. I’m tired of paying so much for fresh basil from the grocery store)
21 Sep 19, Benjamin (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi guys just wondering can you grow Basil all year round if I plant the basil in the ground when it cools down again for winter will it come back or should I keep it in pots in the winter months undercover and replant again in med September.
16 Nov 19, Michelle (Australia - temperate climate)
My Basil has grown all year round in Melbourne as I gave it protection from the wintery frost.
23 Sep 19, Anon (Australia - arid climate)
Ask around and see if you get some perennial basil. It grows all year.
30 May 19, Patrick (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi , Have successfully grown Basil in large pots this summer ,with the cooler weather upon us have cut the plants right back - 4/5 cms from ground level - will the plants now survive the winter and become productive again next summer or should I simply pull them out and start afresh in the late spring? Your comments / advice please
18 Jun 19, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Why would you cut a plant back so hard? It's like you going from 5 meals a day to one snack.
28 Sep 18, Muffin (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Your page doesnt mention about how to water basil. Does it need a lot, a little, often or not too often?
Showing 1 - 10 of 111 comments

I’m in Zone 7a/b. When planting seeds in trays, how much light should they get? My cats destroy all plants, so I need to find a place they don’t go, and I’m not sure there’s enough light in that room. Unless just normal daylight from a window is adequate for the germination period (I have 10 black thumbs and really want to get this one right. I’m tired of paying so much for fresh basil from the grocery store)

- Laura

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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