Basil is a multi-purpose herb but those who love eating pizzas or pasta know what excites us the most about this herb. There is no denying it’s nutritional benefits. However, planting basil indoors and getting it grown-up properly is the key to a healthy start. The take away of the following article is to make you cautious of the details, tips, and tricks that go into growing healthy basil indoors.
Firstly, Growing basil indoors requires you to get a medium or large-sized pot. That would help to grow a dense plant. Secondly, buy a packet of basil seeds, put them in the soil, and water them. Place the pot aside, the seeds won’t need direct sunlight until they sprout. Once they sprout, put them under the best lighting condition possible. Next, during the growth period, trim the growing shoots back by cutting a small section off of the top. Water the plant only when its leaves appear to be in a drooping position. Keeping the plant excessively soaked in would cause it to die off easily.
How to do basil plant care indoor
1.Get the right-sized pot for growing basil
When you visit a store for buying herbs especially it is likely that you are handed over really small-sized pot. A small sized pot is sufficient but not the best option for growing a fairly dense basil plant.
You would want your plant to get all the right kind of nutrients to sprout healthy. Having the right kind of space is essential to keep it that way for a longer period of time.
For that matter, a medium or large-sized pot helps water the plant easily. Also, the plant has the space to grow bushy since it would be able to retain moisture well.
2. Plant a dense basil
The right way to planting basil indoors is to grow it dense. It will make the individual plants get support against each other and grow bushier.
Plants on the outer side will be tilted downwards on account of lacking support but those standing in the middle and around that area will grow straight up. This would make the plant look thick and healthy in no time.
For a large-sized pot, a packet of basil seeds will get used up in one go.
3. Get organic soil
Get a high-quality organic soil that is rich in nutrients for growing basil inside. That way you won’t be needing a fertilizer for at least six weeks to make it up for the nutrients.
4. Plant seeds in the soil
In Growing basil indoors from seed, the next step is to simply put seeds in the pot. Sprinkle them over the soil. Press a thin layer of the soil over the seeds.
Water the seeds and wait for them to sprout. Keep the pot moist by watering the soil of the indoor basil plant but do not soak it wet.
5. Wait for them to sprout
Put the pot aside and wait for the seeds to sprout. The seeds do not need sunlight at this moment until they began to sprout.
6. Put them under the best lighting
Once the seeds sprout let them grow under the best lighting condition. You can put them south facing towards the window sill. A good LED grow light or a strong fluorescent bulb also works best to fasten the growth process.
Avoid drafty places for keeping the plant. A considerable drop in temperature especially a night is an undesirable atmosphere for the plant to stay in for long.
7.Trim the plant back
Harvest by taking the sections of the stem right off the top. This will keep the plant shorter in length. Also, this keeps the plant straight up and helps it to bush out perfectly.
Best way to grow basil indoors
Figuring out how to grow basil inside can be a bit tricky at first. However, the key to having robust indoor growth is perfect light exposure. The plant really requires good lighting to prevent dying off quickly.
The place will look perfect with flowering and bushy plants and you can trust the fact that the magic is all because of perfectly concentrated lighting.
The basil seeds would not need direct sunlight unless they sprout, but once they do so make sure to arrange for the right kind of lighting condition as soon as possible.
Any delay would result in a weak growth which would reflect in the thin stems of the plants. This makes the watering process difficult since the plant would not be able to hold its ground well.
In winter relying on sunlight is not enough to keep your plantation alive. Strong LED lights are a good option unless you are taking the plant to somewhere inside the house.
To keep it in the kitchen or while growing basil indoors, make sure the plant stays closest to a concentrated lighting source. Medium or small-sized pots are perfect to care for that way.
Watering the basil right is very crucial for its robust growth. If you are not watering it right no matter what other ingredient goes in, it would never be sufficient to make it up for that.
Mostly we tend to overwater the plant in fear of letting it droop to the sides. Because that’s what happens when the plant is under-watered. Its leaves get saggy. However here the case is different.
To keep the pot constantly in water would kill the plant. Just wait until the plant sags a bit and then water it. Especially with basil, getting the technique right does wonder. Wait for the leaves to droop a little and then water the plant.
How would you know that the plant is over-watered? Well, the leaves at the bottom will start to turn yellow. Those at the top will appear wrinkly and that is the sign that the plant is about to die off.
3.Size of the pot
The pot has to be large enough for a packet of seeds especially when you are growing herbs indoor.
If you are planning to pick herbs for daily use in winters or otherwise then a medium or large-sized pot would come in handy. This would help ensure a constant supply of herbs.
In the wintertime, keeping the pot size a little large would help water it often and in a correct way. The size defines how much moisture the soil would be able to retain. Also, using the herbs become much easier in such a pot and the plant would not require that much care meanwhile.
This tip works for pretty much every other herb. If you are planting dense, the upshot would a bushier pot in a shorter period of time.
Keeping the plantation dense results in an upright growth of the individual plants. Middle ones will be better at staying steady because of the support however the plant towards the outside will droop a little.
Make sure to take a pot that is able to fit in at least one packet of basil seeds.
Trimming the shoots is essential. You would not want to keep the length of the plant longer above the soil. Mainly because this would prevent it from growing thick.
Take small sections right off the top a little above the node. Two new shoots would bud from the spot and this will lead to multiple branches growing all at once. This will also help in keeping the plant steady.
Also keeping the plant short will thicken the stem and keep the plant sturdy. Refrain from cutting a branch in full length till the bottom. Cutting from the top helps it grow back in order to last for the whole season ahead.
The fear that the plant will not grow back if you clip the tops to keep it low is not true. Keeping it low will make it appear much healthier and you could easily enjoy the plantation through the whole season.
You could use any good organic liquid fertilizer. Along with watering every single day make sure to add fertilizer with it as well. Fill a third of the quarter or half of a small water container and then add to the plant daily.
The effect is reversed for the basil plant when it is over-fertilized. Over-fertilization is not bad for the plant and all of it gets used up. So, it does not really matter whether you are precise with the measurement or not.
Frequently asked questions
Why is it important to have a large-sized pot?
If you are a family planning on eating a lot more herbs this winter then a large pot is just the right kind for you. Keeping a small pot would make you finish the basil in no time before it even gets a chance to grow or bush out.
Why is it important to keep holes in the container
Overwatering the basil is definitely a blunder that we can not afford to make while growing basil indoors. Keeping this checked would help in balanced moisture retention which is necessary for robust growth.
This also prevents the underlying leaves from turning yellow which is generally an indication of the plant preparing to die off.
Why is it important to level the soil evenly?
Before placing the seeds above, tap down the soil lightly. The goal is to make a plain surface for the seeds to be spread upon.
The reason is that we would want the seeds to sprout evenly. Also, since we will be growing a lot of seeds on top of the soil to have a thick plantation so following this will help the basil grow faster.
Use a very thin layer of soil to cover the seeds. Planting dense makes the seeds come together and raise the soil. This will expose the seedlings to an abnormal level of light or air causing premature death.
Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil evenly so that all of the areas is covered. Having a lot of seeds on top will help you later enjoy the harvest without having to worry over running out of the herb.
Water the soil afterward and make sure it stays moist on top.
Why is it important to start off with dry soil?
Initially, the soil would be too much for the seeds in a large pot. So watering it moderately would be enough for the seeds. However, once they began to grow you can water as per the needs of the plant. That way the soil would be able to retain a balanced level of moisture within.
How do I protect the plant from getting fungus?
It is not healthy to consume a diseased plant. Once you know that the plant has caught fungus it is better to remove it except for the healthy leaves.
However what can be done to avoid this situation altogether? Prevention is simple and easy. Don’t cover the opening of the pot with mold. It is important to keep it aerated right after planting the seeds.
The second step is to keep it in a warm place until the seeds began to sprout.
At what stage do we turn on the grow lights?
As soon as the germination process starts the plant has to be placed under strong light. Especially, as previously mentioned, the plant has been kept under warm conditions for sprouting. So, exposing it to LED grow lights or a strong fluorescent bulb right after is needed for sure.
Some important takeaways from growing the basil indoor
In seven weeks the plant would be perfectly mature. That would be the time for you to harvest it for whatever purpose you like.
As for the time to trim, after 40 days it would be ready to trim it back to 5cm at least. Having cut the stem off till one or two nodes would serve the purpose well.
A flowering basil plant is not preferred over a non-flowering one for the fact that the flowering basil leaves tend to get bitter in taste. So, when the plant begins to flower you can just clip the flowers off and keep on harvesting as usual.
If you have not watered the plant in two days and they have started to look droopy, then worry not. Because it may look like that there is no getting back and the plant has wilted away. However, the good thing about basils is that they are able to stand underwatering.
You can simply water the plant and the saggy leaves will straighten up right after. Basil leaves are good at being over-watered. The plant dies off as a consequence and it happens pretty fast. Its leaves start to turn yellow and then they fall off. So it is better to not risk a basil plant by watering it excessively.
For those of you having a large-sized pot, the good news is that messing up the plant with over-watering gets really tough. That’s why growing a lot of plants together in a large pot tends to be a life-saving technique.
While growing basil indoors, using a 100-watt lighting power and keeping it on for about 11 to 12 hours is enough. Keep the LED off for the exact same time period that is 11 to 12 hours approximately.
Relying on the sunlight for lighting depends on the total hours the plants are exposed to the light. This is not mostly the case in winters since the areas having to receive zero to little sunlight has to find another way to get through. Which is pretty much the reason why an LED light is recommended.
How is pruning a basil important
So this is a question that gets asked a lot. Here we will be mentioning all the primary reasons for pruning/Trimming basil.
Firstly it is important to maintain the overall health of the plant. Secondly, it is important to keep the leaves large and to have the plant bush out properly. Lastly and most importantly it adds to the flavor of the leaves in general.
Not trimming the top makes the plant grow tall and lanky. Also, the leaves tend to grow smaller. The smaller leaves later start to bloom, and like we previously mentioned this spoils the flavor of the rest of the leaves.
You would not want the taste to be bitter especially since you would be using the leaves quite a lot for cooking purposes.
Getting an already grown basil plant implies that you understand the setup well. The leaves you see stems out from individual plants in sets. The leaves later grow on either side.
The set of leaves just above the surface does not count since it comes out while germination.
Deciding on pruning it depends on how tall the individual plants have grown. Let it grow to a length of six inches with two to three sets of leaves. Reaching this length indicates that the plant is now ready to be pruned.
Why you should buy a basil plant
The nutritional herb has many health benefits from treating illness related to the stomach, kidney, intestine, and infections. However, it is also one of the best ingredients to make your guilty pleasure in eating even more mouth-watering. You get me right planting basil indoor has never been more exciting. Cook food or use it for baking a finger-licking pizza or a delicious pasta. Either way, it’s only a matter of time that its flavor gets you hooked up for good.