Basil is a small herbaceous plant, originally from Asia, which came to Europe centuries ago, and has been cultivated both in Europe and in Asia for a very long time ago. It is a perennial plant, generally cultivated as an annual, as it fears the cold, and temperatures below 10 C cause its rapid deterioration.
So when to plant Basil? The sowing period varies according to the chosen place of cultivation: in the ground or in a pot or even indoors or completely open. The sowing period can start from January until the end of March (greenhouse), from March to May (all ‘open) with small variations based on the climatic zones that play a fundamental role in our choices as in the choices of farmers all over the world.
If you are searching for a guide on how to grow basil, then check my guide on growing Basil.
There are several varieties but all the plants are similar, with lanceolate leaves, smooth, with clearly visible veins, of a beautiful intense green color; the thin stems are erect and not branched, and at the apex, towards the end of summer, a small spike of purple flowers is produced, followed by the woody fruits, capsules containing the small black seeds.
What Months Should I Generally Plant Basil?
February-March, if we use a seedbed in a protected structure or in a balcony greenhouse The basil plants will be ready for transplanting into the soil after about 40 days.
April-May, if we want to plant basil directly as an outdoor plant, in a pot or in the garden soil.
Obviously the sowing period can vary considerably, depending on the place where we are and unfortunately also due to climate change. Unfortunately, there are times when in March we expect spring and the first warm days and instead we are dealing with snow and much other bad weather … so, in this case, no one would think of planting basil at least outdoors.
Best Growing Conditions for Basil
Basil grows well when the sun is abundant and the temperature between 20 C and 25 C, as in the Mediterranean climate.
A higher temperature requires a higher temperature, and does not withstand a temperature below 10 C. It likes watering frequently, but with well-drained soil, as stagnant water is harmful to the roots. It is grown in gardens or in pots.
The flowering period is between June and September. Basil plants must be regularly estimated, removing the vegetable apices and flowers, to allow for luxuriant growth and to extend the life cycle, which ends with the production of the seeds.
On the stems left to bloom, the growth of the leaves slows down and stops, the stem becomes woody and the production of the essential substance that produces the perfume. However, the seeds can be sown the following year.
Raising seedlings in a Greenhouse or Indoors
The propagation by sowing occurs in the spring, around March-April. In a temperate climate, sowing can be done in a greenhouse or in pots kept at a temperature of about 20 C.
Transplanting in the open ground can be done when the minimum external temperature exceeds 10 C and there is no danger of night frosts, then between April and May depending on the local climate. July and August are the best times for collecting leaves.
How to Cultivate Basil?
Basil is easily cultivated, both in open ground and in pots; it is easy to find small basil plants, even simply at the supermarket; however, if we want to get our basil crop, we can get many plants, simply by sowing it, directly at home.
Basil needs a warm climate, but without excesses of drought or heat; therefore, to plant it, a semi-shaded plot is chosen, where it can enjoy a few hours of sunshine, but not in the hottest hours of the day.
Basil plants that are excessively exposed to sunlight tend to take on a dull color, with yellowish veins, and the leaves tend to lose consistency and to wilt quickly.
We prefer increasingly shady locations, the more we find ourselves in an area characterized by torrid summer weather. Clearly, however, we choose an area that is not dark, but very bright and well ventilated.
The watering must be regular, also because the basil plants collapse quickly if left without water. Let’s water regularly, but avoiding leaving the soil moist for a long time, and watering only when the soil is dry.it.
Basil sprouts only when the weather is already spring, with minimum temperatures above 15-20 C, so if we want an early harvest of basil leaves we will have to sow it in a warm bed, already in February or March, in order to have seedlings already high at the arrival of the first tomatoes in April-May. Open field sowing takes place from April
Basically you can grow basil in the period from the end of winter all autumn. In general, it is a plant that adapts well to any climatic zone, as long as it will be planted in a sunny position.
Growing Basil in Pots
Basil can be safely grown in pots thanks to its size and versatility and subsequently if you want it can be transplanted anywhere. If you start to cultivate it in pot obviously we must take into account small tricks such as its exposure to the sun of about 6/8 hours a day and must ‘be kept away on colder nights.
Even the choice of the pot will be fundamental which must be appropriate both to the size of the seedlings and to the number of seeds that we decide to plant keeping in mind that good basil can reach 60 cm in height.
The ideal growth temperature, especially in the initial stages, is between 20 and 25.
Poorly bears the temperature that constantly drops below 10, for this reason constantly in winter the basil plants die.
Growing Basil With Growing Lights?
Sometimes science and human intelligence work miracles …. so whoever wants or wishes but also for those who do not have much time to devote to the plant or who live in an apartment with little light, now you can grow basil all per year inside the house you can easily provide the plant with the right amount of light through the use of a LED lamp, guaranteeing the seedling an artificial and cold direct light for a period of 10 or 12 hours a day by replacing the solar light with the LED and getting excellent results.
Do not overlook the fact that once planted basil takes up every year. practically basil is a perennial plant that once planted every year starts again, also here it depends on the frosts if too intense or normal. Sometimes the place of cultivation is protected with nylon in the intensely colder periods.