Basil is one of the most popular kitchen herbs of all. It is versatile, easy to care for and, with its characteristic aroma, indispensable in many dishes. Fresh basil refines all kinds of pasta, vegetables or meat quickly and easily. At the same time, the dark green leaves are an attractive decoration. The varieties have different tastes, but the care requirements are identical. With its white, dainty flowers, the herb provides a large amount of nectar and serves as a valuable food source for many insects in summer. all year roundthe classic can be placed indoors in a sunny spot as a houseplant. It is easy to care for and convenient to harvest with its small leaves and ready for quick consumption with no effort. Basil does best in a sunny spot outdoors from May to September.
Useful information Location Cultivation Care Watering Harvest Species Pests & Diseases FAQ
Things to know about basil
Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
Other names: basil herb, royal herb
Use: annual herb for salads, tomato dishes and Mediterranean cuisine
Origin: tropical Africa and Asia
Flowering period: July to September, depending on the variety and frequency of harvest
Flower colors: white
There are countless varieties and species that differ in leaf color, leaf shape and taste. A special feature is the shrub basil, which overwinters in the pot at 10 to 12 °C and can therefore grow as a perennial plant for many years.
In which location does basil feel most comfortable?
Basil needs a sunny and warm place. From the end of May, the herb can be placed in pots on the balcony or terrace or planted out in the garden. The intensively fragrant herb develops best in a wind and rain-protected place in the garden, because if there is too much water, the plant suffers, develops yellow leaves and ails. As a plant that needs warmth, basil pots feel good all year round on the windowsillprobably. It is important that the ideal location is warm and bright, but not in the blazing sun at midday. Direct sunlight when planted out in the garden is tolerated, as the individual leaves are firmer and more robust outdoors than in potted specimens on the windowsill. It is best if you plant newly purchased specimens in larger pots. With more soil, the small plants are easier to care for and new shoots quickly form in the right location.
The best tips: The annual plant should initially be in a sheltered place in your own garden or on the balcony from mid-May. By gradually acclimating to the outdoor conditions and the warm temperatures, the green leaves develop optimally. In autumn when the temperature is below 15 °C, it is necessary to move them indoors. Overwintering is worthwhile, especially for perennial species.
How is the basil cultivated?
In addition to buying ready-made plants, growing from seeds is another way of cultivating the popular kitchen herb. The fine black seeds are placed on the potting soil and are not covered, because basil seeds belong to the group of light germinators. Water the seeds thoroughly and place the seed boxes in a heated and bright place. In humid heat, the cotyledons appear quickly. By transplanting, the so-called pricking out, the basil plants become stronger and develop well. You can plant the stable young plants in the garden from mid-May. Cultivation in a raised bed is also ideal, because here the aromatic herbs are protected from snail damage.
Buy raised beds
How is basil cared for?
For a rich harvest, all basil varieties require permeable and humus-rich soil. With special herb soil you give the kitchen classic the best conditions for the kitchen herb to grow and thrive. The classic of Italian cuisine prefers nutrient-rich soil, so it is important that you provide the plants with special herbal fertilizer. Due to the purely plant-based nutrient supply, you can continue to use the herbs in the kitchen. You can only achieve particularly beautiful shoots with nutrient-rich soil. If you don’t fertilize, the plants will become puny in the longer term and the true leaves will turn light yellow and remain small.
Care tips: For bushy, strong plants , it is important that you regularly remove the shoot tips. The so-called pinching promotes branching and leads to many fresh shoots that can be harvested continuously.
How do I pour my Italian cuisine condiment?
The annual herb requires a steady water supply. Water the basil plants regularly and take care to avoid waterlogging. In the event of drought, leaf damage can easily occur. Proper watering always means even soil moisture with no excess water.
How do I harvest and use fresh basil?
Basil is mainly suitable for fresh consumption. It is therefore ideal if you continuously harvest the young leaves and shoots fresh. Pick the tender leaves before the plant blooms. It is ideal if you harvest fresh herbs directly before consumption, because valuable ingredients are lost during storage. You can also cut off any flowers. Older leaves are hard and the flavor becomes sharper, so young shoots are ideal. Drying the herb is possible, but not ideal, because dried parts lose a lot of their flavor.
The aromatic plant from the south goes well with all tomato dishes, salad or meat. Harmonious combinations arise in connection with onions and garlic. The aroma is most intense when the young leaves are crushed together with oil in a mortar. It is important that basil is never cooked, but is added as a last addition after cooking. In addition to flavoring food, the herb can be drunk as a tea.
Herb recipes with basil
Here you can find the delicious recipe and learn how to use basil. Our instructions are ideal for copying. Enjoy your meal!
To the recipe
What types of basil are there?
In general, two groups are known, which are easy to recognize due to the size of the leaves.
- Small-leaved basil
- Large-leaved basil Another feature is the leaf color. The red-leaved species were created through breeding. These colorful varieties are attractive and aromatic at the same time. No matter which variety you grow, the classic tomato should not be missing in any garden or on any balcony. Finally, there are a large number of types of basil, which differ in their diverse fragrances. This creates attractive mixtures of peppery scents in combination with a unique aroma. Known species are:
- Lemon Basil
- cinnamon basil
Besides the herbaceous plants in the group, there are the woody species. Depending on the variety, these can grow to a height of 30 to 100 cm and become woody at the base. With its rich abundance of flowers, shrub basil is a real insect magnet and a bee pasture. The location requirements and care are the same as for the herbaceous species. At the end of summer, shrub basil can be overwintered in pots. A bright place at 10 to 12 °C is ideal.
What pests and diseases can basil get?
If basil feels at home in a location, it is robust and not very susceptible to diseases and pests. Yellow leaves or lice infestation are often a result of drought stress, waterlogging or cold and are usually difficult to combat. Therefore, ensure optimal site conditions.
It is important that you react to the first signs of feeding, because soon there are only stalks left on the plant. Check regularly for snail infestation and remove the annoying animals.
First of all, an infestation with lice can be seen on the tips. A lice infestation usually occurs in the room when there is little light. Cut back the plant and discard the affected shoots. Strengthen the herb with organic plant treatment. The plant’s own immune system is strengthened in a natural way and the spread of pests and fungal infestation is reduced.
Mildew infestation occurs on weakened plants, especially after warm, dry temperatures and drought stress. Remove the affected parts of the plant and give the herb optimal conditions. With a bit of luck, the plant will sprout again and you can continue to harvest young, healthy leaves. Here, too, a treatment with an organic herbal treatment is recommended.
FAQ — Frequently asked questions about basil
How can I preserve basil?
In summer with good growth, it can happen that more basil leaves grow back than you can use. The leaves taste best fresh, but they can develop their characteristic aroma when processed into aromatic pesto or preserved in vinegar or oil. It is also possible to dry the leaves, but the result is rather disappointing, as many ingredients are lost through drying.
Can flowering basil still be used?
Plants with flowers can still be used, but they taste much less intense because the aroma is lost through the flowers. Regular harvesting of the leaves can delay or prevent flowering.
What ingredients are in fresh basil?
The leaves contain trace elements, minerals, essential oils and vitamins such as B. contain vitamin C. In addition, valuable vital substances such. B. contain beta-carotene, iron and vitamin K, which make the fresh basil so healthy.
How can basil be propagated?
Basil can easily be propagated by cuttings or seeds. Cut the top cuttings to a length of approx. 10 cm and put them in small pots with growing substrate. With sufficient warmth and moisture, root formation takes place within 2 to 3 weeks. You can also place whole shoots in a glass of water — roots form within 2 weeks. You can then plant the rooted cuttings in small pots with nutrient-rich soil.
Sowing can be done indoors or in the garden from April to August. It is important that the fine basil seed is not covered with soil, because the spice belongs to the group of light germinators.
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