A woody, branching plant, basil is a warm-weather annual that grows very fast in 80- to 90-degree weather. When growing basil, note that two or three plants will yield plenty of fresh basil for a family of four — unless you plan to make pesto. (To make and freeze a winter’s supply of pesto, plant a dozen or more.) Many gardeners mix various types of basil in their flower beds, where it is ready for a quick harvest anytime. It is also great for containers. Basil can be a beautiful addition to the garden and landscape. This pot of purple basil provides height, color, and flavor in a patio-side garden bed. You can plant a mix of different types of basil (in this case, sweet basil, spicy globe basil, and Thai basil) in a large, colorful glazed ceramic pottery. Not only will it look lovely sitting on the deck or patio, but it will also put a range of flavors at your fingertips.
Soil, Planting, And Care
basil needs 6 to 8 hours of sun; in the South and Southwest, it benefits from afternoon shade. Set out plants at least 2 weeks after the last frost in spring; summer planting is okay, too. Space at the distance recommended on the label, which is generally 12 to 18 inches apart. Plants are very frost sensitive, so keep plants protected in case of a late cold spell. Basil likes rich, moist, but well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 7. Because basil is harvested continually for lots of leaves, it needs a little fertilizer. When planting, add plenty of organic nutrients from compost, blood meal, or cottonseed meal to the soil. Feed with Bonnie Herb, Vegetable & Flower Plant Food every couple of weeks to help keep tender new leaves coming on as you pinch back the stem tips.
If planting in a glazed ceramic pottery, use a large ceramic pot to keep the plants from drying out quickly in hot weather. You may also want to add a water-retaining polymer to the potting soil to keep the soil evenly moist and extend the time between waterings