Top tips for basil

When you get it right, basil is a great grower and will keep going for a while. It’s easy to get it wrong though, so here are some pointers to get the best from this yummy herb.

  1. Basil likes warmth – growing basil in a greenhouse or polytunnel is great. If you don’t have these, choose the warmest spot that you can find. A sunny windowsill is good, or a pot in a front porch. If growing outside, choose the warmest and most sheltered spot you can find – in a pot up against a warm wall works well.
  2. Keep them out of the midday sun if you can – it’s better to let your basil get a few hours sunshine in the morning and in the afternoon/evening, avoiding the scorching midday sun. This is so that they don’t produce flowers too early.
  3. Water every few days – Basil likes the soil to be watered, allowed to dry out a bit, and then watered again. With this in mind, water well once every few days rather than watering every day.
  4. Harvest regularly by pinching off a stem back to just above a pair of new leaves (as pictured). Doing this will keep the plant quite compact and bushy, delaying the moment when it decides to produce flowers and thus giving you more delicious leaves to use in the kitchen!
  5. Bring inside in early autumn – if you are growing in pots, bring the pots inside if you can in September and your basil can carry on growing inside for a few more weeks.