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Basil has a wide range of applications in the culinary world. From homemade spaghetti sauce, savory desserts, basil pesto to fruit salads. Basil is believed to have come from India and has a range of names it goes by like Thai basil or sweet basil. All of which relate to the botanical name of the herb, Ocimum basilicum, and belongs to the Lamiaceae family. So if you want to know how to grow basil in a pot to be beautiful and bushy, learning a bit more about the herb is an excellent place to start.
Basil has long had a broad culinary reach, and also comes with a rich history when it comes to other applications in society. In ancient Egypt, basil was likely used to preserve and embalm bodies since traces of the herb were found in mummies and tombs. In Greece, it was a symbol of mourning, referred to as basilikon phuton. Basil also has a history in the ancient medicinal system.
Basil isn’t an easy plant to crop, given the care that will be needed for it to sprout. However, like many herbs you can grow at home, you can grow basil as well. So if you’re looking to grow your food right at home, here is our guide on how to grow basil in a pot from seed.
The type of pot you use doesn’t really matter. Basil can grow in virtually anything – stone, plastic, clay, or concrete; all they need is 8 inches of depth for growing, and the container must be adequately drained. It’s important to note that basil doesn’t do well when its roots are waterlogged. So you’ll have to keep the soil moist. Otherwise, the plant won’t yield the quantity of leave harvest you’re going for. Regardless of the material, ensure the bottom of the pot has drainage holes.
Start From Seed
For basil to grow into a healthy plant, the seeds will have to be planted in nutrient-rich soil that’s coarse and well-drained. Scatter the seeds on the pot evenly and plant them ¼” deep to enable them to get light for germination. Under the right conditions, the germination process will take 5 to 10 days. You can also opt to transplant the plant from the nursery.
Find a Sunny Spot
To grow properly and thrive, basil needs warmth and a sufficient amount of sunlight, with the minimum being six to eight hours. So for the basil to get off the mark, the air and soil will need to be fairly warm. As long as the temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit, basil will grow. The best place to position your basil plant is near a warm, well-lit and ventilated window plus you can also opt to use a supplemental light source. The moisture, soil temperature, and amount of sunlight are what will determine the duration the seeds will sprout.
Feeding and Watering
Basil is very choosy when it comes to the watering schedule. Neither too wet nor too dry. If the pot dries out, that’s it for your basil. So if you’re not sure whether to add water, stick your finger to see if the soil has a dryish feel. Water it from the base to keep it well hydrated. So pour water directly at the soil line. Also, feed the plant with water-soluble fertilizer after two weeks. Gently pour the solution onto the soil surrounding the stem, taking care not to wet the leaves.
Like the majority of herbs, basil will taste better if picked directly. The basil will have to be harvested before flowering. This will provide you with the biggest and freshest leaves to enjoy. Snip off the leaves from the top. Trim it every week for the plant to grow bushy rather than lanky and tall.
Learning how to grow basil in a pot successful at home may be just what you and your family need to prepare savory and nutritious meals.