Basil is one of the most popular herbs. You can grow it in your garden or in pots outside for summer cooking. But it does not appreciate the cool fall nights and dies at the slightest sign of frost. Its outdoor growing season is coming to an end.
Basil can live 5 to 6 months in the garden, and can easily last 4 years in a pot, provided it is well cared for!
How to take good care of your potted basil plant
You bought your jar of basil at the supermarket? Put it quickly back into a larger pot, if possible in terracotta, with clay balls in the bottom and water well.
Tip: Basil pots sold in garden centres or florists are of better quality.
The right location
If you want to please your basil, install it in a clear, warm and wind-safe place. On a window sill indoors, it’s perfect at first. But as soon as it’s warmer, it can really be happy on your terrace or in your herb garden.
Tip: Install one or even several (there are different varieties of basil) near the door or windows because its smell keeps flies and mosquitoes away.
Not too much water, not too little
Basil doesn’t like to have its feet in water, so don’t overwater. Do it once a week, a little more when it’s hot and dry. However, in pots or tubs, the soil dries out more quickly, so it will need to be watered more often. Always pour water at the base of the plant, never on the leaves (also discover this DIY system to water your potted aromatics).
Tip: Do the leaves turn yellow? You have given it too much water. If some of the leaves are wilting, however, the basil is thirsty!
Lots of light
Basil needs a lot of light, at least four hours a day. Choose a location in full sunlight, within easy reach.
3 Practical Tips
- Pick the tallest leaves first, to promote harmonious development.
- When a stem produces flowers, remove it as much as possible, it gives back tonus to the plant and eliminates the more bitter parts.
- For an ideal flavor, cut each week. The more you harvest, the more flavorful the leaves become.
5 reasons why your basil doesn’t last long
You don’t water your basil enough
Basil is a summer plant that needs a lot of water. You have probably already seen the soil dry up after only 2 days in your basil pot, the roots of the plant having drunk all there was to drink.
But basil, like all plants, needs water to live. One day without water and hop, the basil clearly makes the face.
You water your basil too much
The opposite effect. Haunted by the memory of all those basilics that died of dehydration, you water your basil copiously. Very copiously, too copiously. If your plant needs water, you have to find a happy medium, because a plant that is watered too much will also die. Indeed, if the plant is completely drowned, it will not be able to oxygenate properly and will not be able to survive.
We talk about basil, but be aware that over-watering is the first cause of death of our houseplants. According to a perfectly serious study conducted by ourselves with ourselves. But it remains true, excess watering is unforgiving.
In short, to get around these first 2 problems, we designed Lilo, the self-contained indoor vegetable garden. Lilo is a hydroponic system, which means that plants grow by floating on a water reserve, the roots being partially submerged. Thus, the roots of the plants will drink the water as they need it, completely self-managing themselves. On your side, you simply have to check that there is always water in the pot!
Thanks to the patented design of the Lilo indoor garden, the roots always have a small layer of oxygen available, which ensures that the roots are always well supplied with O2 and therefore healthy.
Your basil doesn’t get enough light
A great classic this one. So, already, if you don’t have a south-western exposure, you can forget about potted basil. A basil likes to grow under the blazing sun of the Amalfi coast, preferably listening to Tiziano Ferro. So by definition, potted basil, when you grow it on a Parisian window sill, you have to optimize its chances of survival. Place it near a window that receives light for the longest part of the day, preferably direct light.
Of course, we don’t talk about winter in these cases, because a basil needs about 16 hours of sunshine a day, so we forget about the months of vitamin D shortage.
There also, it is for this reason that we chose to put an automatic light integrated in our intelligent indoor vegetable garden. 21 low-energy LEDs and a spectrum optimized to reproduce the sun’s cycle overlook your plants so that their needs are met, anytime, anywhere in your home.
You don’t prune your basil. Or badly.
So, that’s true that it’s not very intuitive. In order for a basil to grow (and especially to grow back) well, you have to prune it from time to time. And not just anyhow.
To prune your basil well, you have to cut the stems (and not tear off a leaf from time to time) between 2 knots and leaving at least ten centimeters of stem. A knot is the point of attachment between the stem and the leaves. They always go by 2 (the leaves). You will see that 2 new stems will grow at the node below where you cut the stem. The main stem will not grow anymore. And so on, always between 2 nodes.
If you cut the stems below the first knot, well as they will not grow back, your basil will not grow back at all.
If you don’t prune your basil at all, it will grow until it reaches 50 to 60 cm high, with leaves far apart along the stem, and then it will eventually stop growing, and die on the stalk.
Don’t worry, with our indoor vegetable garden Lilo, we’ve provided a mobile application to remind you when to prune your basil and teach you the right gestures to adopt!
Your basil does not have the right potting soil
A good soil is :
- the right nutrients for your plant (and precisely dosed)
- a sufficiently ventilated soil for your plant to breathe
A piece of advice to give you if you decide to buy potted plants: repot them right away. Potted basil plants in your supermarket don’t have enough room for their roots, and are often boosted with nutrients and fertilizers, which doesn’t do them any good in the long run.
The basil is an aromatic plant easy to cultivate in outside or inside, in pot or in full ground. Very appreciated for its freshness and its savour, it raises the dishes of the summer. It is a real pleasure to pick it according to its needs.
In pot, it can easily live 4 years. In the garden, it is harder to make it last more than 6 months because of the frost.