Caring for your Basil Plant
Basil is a popular herb both in the kitchen and the garden, and has a reputation of being an easy-going plant. There are several types of Basil - Sweet Basil, Thai Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, Purple Basil and the list goes on. Most of them are used in cooking but for different purposes and cuisines.
Basils love being in the sun. They thrive in direct sunlight, although if you live in a very unforgivingly sunny area, it might be good to give them some shade. 6 - 8 hours of direct sunlight would be optimal for your Basil.
If your Basil doesn't get sufficient sunlight, its leaves will appear smaller and more wrinkly.
Basils love moist soil. Water thoroughly once a week, ensuring that soil remains moist but well-drained. However, when in doubt, it's always better to under-water than over-water. Basils are good at tolerating under-watered conditions, they'll perk right back up when you water them. If your Basil is over-watered or waterlogged, root rot will start to fester which will be much harder to salvage.
Repotting and Propagating
People usually repot Basils to propagate them. Basils can thrive in almost any pot as long as it's well-draining. All you need is some high-quality soil and a spacious pot for successful repotting.
To start, remove your Basil from its current pot in its entirety - you can poke chopsticks through the existing pot's drainage holes or gently hit your pot against a table so that the entire root system slides out. Carefully divide your Basil into two (or even four) all the way from its roots, and repot into fresh soil.
Make sure to water your new Basils thoroughly and provide large amounts of sunlight.
You can skip the fertiliser as Basils grow actively without much fertilisation. If you want to, you can use a regular water-based fertiliser once every 3 - 4 weeks.
Basils love warm weather and good air circulation. Try not to place your Basil in a crowded or cluttered area!
Wilting or soft leaves: Under-watering. Water your Basil thoroughly.
Leaves yellowing despite plenty of water: Root rot. Usually the lower leaves start to turn yellow first. Roots will start to turn black and the entire plant will eventually die. If mildly affected, swiftly remove all wilting parts and treat with an organic fungicide. If severely affected, get rid of the entire plant. Do not reuse the same soil, or possibly the same pot before treating it. Disinfect all tools and containers that came into contact with infected plants.
Brown and white spots on leaves: Downy Mildew, which is caused by a fungus that will eventually kill your Basil. If you look closely, you can see the spots looking slightly fluffy, which is the fungus that is causing the mildew. This indicates that it's too humid or cluttered around your Basil. It's hard to treat with fungicide, so the best way to deal with it is to trim off the affected parts and place your Basil somewhere with better ventilation. Remember to sterilise your tools after trimming!
Woody stems: Fungal disease called Fusarium that will cause a Basil's inevitable death. It's incurable, so your best bet would be to trim off any affected areas ASAP!
Prepared to grow your own Basil? Get the Sweet Basil here.
P.s. Trimming your Basil will encourage more growth. Happy harvesting!
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