Plant Information Database


Learn how to care for basil along with its history and classification details.

how to care for basil

Hardiness Zone: 10-11
Soil Type: 5.1–8.5 (acidic to alkaline)
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Annual or Perennial: Annual
Type: Herb

History: Basil has been around for over 4,000 years. Throughout history, basil was believed to have almost magical powers. It was used as an antidote for snake bites, and was believed to give strength during religious fasting. It was found in mummies in Egypt because the ancient Egyptians used this herb for embalming.

Basil leaves

How to Care for Basil

How do I plant basil?

Sow seeds no more than 1/4-inch deep. Once seedlings emerge and have 2-3 pairs of true leaves, thin seedlings to one plant every 10 to 12 inches.

When is the best time to plant?

When to plant basil – The earliest time to plant basil is about 2 weeks after the last frost, once the soil is between 50° – 70° F.

Can I grow basil in a pot?

Yes, basil will root in potting mix.

How much should I water basil?

Water basil when soil is dry.

Do I need to fertilize basil?

You can fertilize basil frequently.

When does basil bloom?

Basil will bloom in summer.

How do I know when basil is ripe?

Once basil produces leaves it is ripe.

When do I harvest basil?

You can harvest basil leaves whenever they are present. I like to allow the leaves to get pretty big, and then always go for the larger leaves when I harvest. Take care not to take too many leaves at a time so the plant will have time to recover.

What is the best way to store basil?

It is best to remove the stems and just keep leaves.

Should I plant any companion plants?

Basil grows well with marigolds, potatoes, cilantro, root vegetables, borage, oregano, and parsley.

What are the health benefits of the basil?

Basil can help lower the risk of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Honey Basil Lemonade

This is a sweet and cold beverage, great for hot summer days, or just hanging out around the camp fire.

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A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.

~Thomas Moore

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