Basil is a warm-weather, versatile and fragrant herb that tastes great especially when added to different dishes including the wonderful homemade pesto! It is a beautiful herb to grow, and it gives great satisfaction, both on a personal level as well as in the kitchen. All you need is to know the necessary conditions and requirements needed for the plant to thrive while you plant it! This article will help you answer the question, does Basil need full Sun to grow.
Wondering how much sun intensity you need to grow Basil plants? Look no further, this post will provide you with answers. With at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily, Basil grows best. You also need to watch the sun patterns in your location while growing this aromatic herb. Your plant will be big and beautiful for several months out of the year with proper sunlight.
Basil plants also thrive better and grow stronger when given warmth and shelter from the elements. However, if you live in highly hot climates, you might need to move your plant under the shade during the hottest hours.
You will start your basil from seeds to grow basil, whether indoors or in the garden. Bury the seeds about quarter inches for optimal germination. Ensure your soil or seed-starting mix is moist till it germinates.
Types of Basil
There are various types of Basils, in case you are contemplating on which to plant. They include:
- Sweet Basil (The most common type of basil).
- Purple Basil (less sweet than the common basil).
- Lemon Basil (lemon flavor).
- Thai Basil (liquorice flavor).
Basil is quite easy to grow, however, it grows best outdoors in the summer and only once the soil has warmed up nicely, therefore plan accordingly.
What are the best conditions to grow Basil?
Seven various requirements are essential to consider when growing basil. They are:
- Season: Basil grows better in warm environments that receive about six to eight hours of sun each day.
- Location: Choose your location wisely especially if you will be using the plant for consumption. Ensure you grow them very far away from driveways and busy streets so that exhaust won’t settle on the plants
- Soil: Basil thrives best in well-drained, moist soil with a neutral pH. Soil should be adequately fertile and moist but well-draining. Basil performs better in containers or raised beds, as these allow for better drainage. The pH of the soil to use should ideally be in the range of 6.0 to 7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral). Plant your basil in clean soil if you will be consuming them, don’t use insecticides.
- Moisture: Give basil water when the soil is dry to the touch, doing your best to water the plant at its base and not all over its leaves.
- Mulching: Mulching helps to reduce water stress, it reduces water evaporation from the soil surface. However, if the plants receive ample moisture, mulching may not be necessary. Another benefit of mulching is that it can help suppress weed growth.
- Pinching: Lateral growth can be encouraged when the basil plants can be pinched once they are approximately 6 inches in height. Pinching is achieved by chopping off the top portion of a plant just above a set of leaves. This prompts the lateral buds to grow new branches, producing a shorter and leafier plant.
- Fertilizing: Make use of a well-balanced fertilizer that has an equal quantity of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) to fertilize basil.
- Apply a mixture of fish emulsion and seaweed extract, or you can select a synthetic fertilizer like 10-10-10. After the first harvest, you can apply a fertilizer with higher nitrogen (like blood meal) can be applied to promote the regrowth of the plant.
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When to Plant Basil
In case you don’t know the best time or season to plant Basil, follow the steps below:
- Begin the seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last spring frost.
- If you are planting outside, wait a few minutes till the soil has warmed to at least 50°F (10°C), preferably around 70ºF (21°C) for best growth.
- Nighttime temperatures shouldn’t drop below 50°F (10°C).
- Never rush basil, without heat, the plant will never grow well!
How to Care for Basil Plant Outdoors
Here is how to care for the Basil plant when planted outdoors:
- Water regularly throughout the growing season but don’t overwater, because basil thrives less with wet feet.
- Avoid splashing moisture onto the leaves when watering, as wet leaves left overnight are more prone to fungal diseases.
- Add a 3-inch mulch of pine needles or ground-up leaves to prevent overdrying of the soil.
- Basil likes to stay moist and needs approximately 1 inch of water every week.
- Always water deeply at least once every week to keep roots growing deep and the soil moist.
- Note that Basil growing in containers will need more frequent watering (The goal when growing basil in a container is to keep the soil moist).
- The basil plant’s lifespan is less than one year in any climate that experiences frost.
- Annual garden herbs like basil die with the first frost, roots, and all.
Growing Basil outdoors in pots
Growing basil outdoors in pots is very easy and it’s one of the most useful and beautiful herbs you can plant. Basil grows fast so you will have succulent leaves in no time. Basil plants don’t last long indoors or outdoors since they are annuals, you don’t have to worry if your plant dies within months. Here are some tips to help you grow beautiful, bushy basil year after year:
- 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight is perfect, however, if you live in a really hot climate, give your basil some afternoon shade for relief.
- Basil can get too much sun, when it does, it can cause leaf burn. Never grow basil in the shade.
- For basil to take off, the soil and air need to be fairly warm, so don’t be in a haste to put out your plants in the spring.
- Wait until about two weeks after your last frost before putting out your plants, and never forget to harden them off.
- Basil likes room so air can circulate to the plants.
- Basil also doesn’t like to dry out completely, so you can use a large pot since you don’t want to crowd your plants.
- Although, if you are planting in pots only for looks as well as function, you can place plants closer than the recommended 12 to 18 inches apart.
- You can try them more like 6 to 8 inches apart. However, basil is prone to fungus, so keeping airflow between plants is very important.
- Ensure your pot has a lot of drainage holes and that you use a high-quality potting mix.
- You can try using fabric pots (For a more finished look, you can put the fabric pot in a larger vessel).
- Basil is incredibly easy to begin from seed.
- Feed and Water Your Basil since Basil is picky about water. It doesn’t like to be too dry or too wet. You can as well water basil from the top or bottom (The bottom watering from a pot’s saucer or bowl improves root growth and avoids the spread of fungal problems due to excess moisture on leaves).
- Finally, you can harvest and store your Basil.
How to Grow Basil Indoors
To grow your Basil indoors, follow the four steps below:
- Gently moisten the fresh potting mix and pack tightly into 4 to 6″ pots.
- Place the pot in a warm window with southern exposure.
- Ensure you keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet.
- After a month of planting, you can enjoy the aroma of basil by running your hands over the small leaves.
- That’s it!
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Does Basil Need full Sun to Grow?
Yes, Basil needs full sun to grow, just like every other plant, basil also needs a combination of fresh air, sunlight, and fertile soil to grow and thrive well. Basil plants source their sustainment through photosynthesis which is the process through which plants can absorb energy from the surrounding water, sun, and air gasses.
Basil plant planted outdoors is usually soaking in the sun, it makes use of the holes on its leaves and stems to take in vital carbon dioxide from the air. At the same time, the roots also absorb water and minerals from the soil.
This moisture and compounds then circulate across the stems and leaves of the plant. These two elements, alongside the light energy from the sun, are the essential factors the basil plant needs to perform photosynthesis.
The energy derived from the sun’s rays has the power to break down both carbon dioxide and water molecules. The main outputs of this photosynthesis process are glucose (sugar) and oxygen. The chloroplasts (cell structures in the leaves of your basil plant) turn the glucose into energy and release oxygen into the atmosphere.
This process is the reason why any plant will grow. However, faster-growing plants, like basil, need more sunlight to create new stems and a multitude of leaves throughout the season.
Can basil grow without direct sunlight?
You can grow Basil in the shade if it receives a minimum of 3–6 hours of light daily. Sun-deprived basil will never thrive. Excessive heat and blazing sun can also lead to leaf scorch, drooping, and death, you need to measure the requirements doggedly.
Basil is a hearty plant that thrives better in full sun but can also survive in partial shade. Heart plants are sun-lovers and must have at least an average of seven hours of sunlight a day. Partial shade means less light and dark spots throughout the day. You can look for an area under a tall tree where it’s shady throughout the day. Partial shade may not be optimal, but it’s still achievable.
Will Basil Grow in the Shade?
Basil is not grown in full shade (less than 1 hour of direct sunlight per day is not sufficient). Partial sun or partial shade implies that the plant receives 2 to 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Can basil get too much sun?
Too much sun ray can cause leaf scorch on seedlings, which causes discolouration and a droopy effect, especially along the edges of the leaves. Anything less than full sun for mature basil plants has the exact effect, sans discolouration.
Does basil need a lot of water?
To grow a basil plant, one of the conditions is to keep the soil consistently moist, but not too wet or dry. To achieve optimal soil moisture and growth, you need to water basil every 3 to 4 days.
How often should basil be watered?
Basil likes to stay moist and requires approximately 1 inch of water weekly. Water deeply at least once every week to keep roots growing deep and the soil moist.
Basil growing in containers will need more frequent watering to keep the soil from drying out.
Is it better to grow basil inside or outside?
Basil thrives better outdoors in the ground, in a container, or on a raised bed. It also thrives in moist, well-drained soil. Select a location that gets an average of 6-8 hours of full sunlight every day.
What temperature is too hot for basil?
Basil thrives in warm temperatures at 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (equivalent to 27 to 32 degrees Celsius) which is the ideal temperature range, with six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. However, basil does not grow well if it becomes too dry.
How to Harvest Basil
Once your basil plants are matured enough to harvest, here’s how to harvest your basil:
- Begin picking the leaves of basil as soon as the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall.
- Basil will start leafing out once temperatures hit 80°F (27°C).
- It is best to harvest very early in the morning when leaves are at their juiciest.
- Ensure to pick the leaves regularly to encourage growth throughout the summer.
- Pick the leaves even if you don’t need them to keep the plant growing. You can store them for later use!
- Twelve basil plants can produce 4 to 6 cups of leaves per week if you pick regularly.
Keep harvesting the leaves to keep the plant going strong.
How to Store Basil
In case you need to store basil leaves when you have them in excess, follow the steps below:
The best method for storing basil is freezing which helps in preventing the plant from losing a good portion of its flavor.
- To quick-freeze, basil, package the whole or chopped leaves in airtight, resealable plastic bags, then place them in the freezer.
Another storage method is drying the basil (although some of the flavors will be lost).
- Pinch off the leaves at the stem and put them in a well-ventilated and shady area.
- After 3 to 4 days, if the plants are not totally dry, place them in the oven on the lowest heat setting with the door slightly open.
- Remember to turn the leaves (for equal drying) and check them frequently so they don’t get burnt.
As you can see that basil needs full sun to grow. Therefore, we believe that this article has been able to answer the question: does basil need full sun to grow!