The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Basil Plants

The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Basil Plants

Basil- Ocimum Basilicum

Basil is the culinary herb in the family of lamiaceae and is called as “king of herbs”. There are more than 160 varieties that spread worldwide. The herb is native to India and abundantly seen in Indonesia, Nepal, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Basil grows to a height of 30-120 centimeters with light green, silky leaves. Leaves taste may vary depending upon the variety and flowers are small, white in color. Herb is sensitive in cold climatic conditions and can survive in hot, dry conditions. It can be stored in refrigerator for a short period.

Basil leaves are mostly used fresh in ice creams, milkshakes, chocolates, soups, drinks, desserts and recipes for flavor.

Nutrition Information: 100 grams of basil contains 22 calories in it with less amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Basil is a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and iron. It also contains the antioxidants like citronellol, linalool, terpinol and linalyl acetate to fight against viral infections.

Companion Planting: It is the method of planting different plants that enhance each other’s growth or may protect from viral diseases and pests. Basil herbs love to be planted with Tomatoes, Lettuce, Sweet peppers and dislikes Rue, Anise. Planting near tomatoes & lettuce improves the flavor and high yielding crop plants.

How to grow basil from seed indoors?

Basil herb is easy to grow and transform. To grow basil from seed indoors you need to start from selecting a hybrid variety seed that moulds to a healthy houseplant. Here are the factors that are responsible for the growth of basil…

Choosing hybrid variety: Basil comes in different varieties with unique flavor and smell. Now select the right one and purchase them from garden center or online.  Basil varieties include cinnamon, purple and lemon.

Pot & Soil: Choose a pot of size 6-12 inches made with ceramic that holds the heat day longer. Make a hole at the bottom of ceramic pots for proper drainage.  Soil should be the type of well-drain mixed with rich fertile soil. Sow the seed about (1/2) inch depth & 10 inch apart in a pot or container.

Water & sunlight: Water the plant regularly twice a day and often in hot weather. Place the pot in sunlight for a minimum of 6 hrs a day to thrive faster. Basil loves to thrive in warm temperature zones. If you wish to grow basil indoors maintain an optimum temperature of 50-70F to keep the plant healthy. When you sow the seed in pot indoors by providing sufficient water and sunlight, it germinates within 5-10 days.

Pests & diseases

Pests

Diseases

Aphids Fusarium wilt
Leaf Hoppers Bacterial leaf spot
Slugs & Snails Downy mildew
Flea Bettle Root rot
Thrips Gray mold

Pests and diseases is the major problem in all gardening plants. It is mainly due to the unhygienic conditions or sunlight, watering and amount of nutrients supplied to the plants. To avoid this problem remove the dead leaves, stems and also use organic fertilizers like Epsom salt, baking soda, vinegar to the soil to deter pests.

Nutrient deficiency: Nutrition deficiency is the major problem and is due to the deficiencies like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and many other nutrients in plants. Other factors for deficiency in plants include sunlight, water and nature of the soil. Here is the list of nutrient elements in plants and symptoms that affects the plant growth.

Nitrogen: yellowing of older leaves, soft stems with spindle

Phosphorus:  leaf growth stunted, pale green leaf color

Potassium:  young leaves wrinkle and curl, dead areas in leaves

Magnesium:  yellowing between leaves, leaf curl over

Zinc: older leaves, leaf tips burn, leaf spotting

Fertilizers: Use organic fertilizers such as compost, manure or mulches around the base of the plant to keep the soil moist and to deter pests & disease problem. You can also prefer N-P-K fertilizers in the ratio of 10-10-10.

Harvesting:  Harvest basil leaves when you need them. As the plant matures (i.e. after 6 weeks) pinch the leaves when stalk reaches to a height of 6-8 inches. Cut close to the tiny leaves using cutters and be sure not to damage them. Rinse the leaves with water and now store the basil leaves in refrigerator.

Growing basil from cuttings?

It’s quite easy to propagate basil seeds from cuttings. All you have to do is take 4-6 inch basil cuttings below a leaf node. Cut the leaves about 2 inches from the end. Now place the cutting in a glass of water and allow it to get good sunlight. Change the water for every 2-3 days until the root develops. After 2-4 weeks it reaches to a height of 2 inches.

Once the root reaches to a height of 2 inches or so, you can place the cuttings in a pot under direct sunlight to thrive faster.  This method is very helpful when compared to seed starters as it saves your time and money.

Plant Care

  • Place mulch over at the base of the plant to maintain moisture levels.
  • Pinch the flower heads only when the leaves continue to grow.
  • Water the plant frequently during summer season and a little in spring & winter season.
  • Follow the instructions on labels when you purchase seeds online before planting.
  • Use only organic fertilizers for better plant growth.
  • Keep children and pets away when you use mulches and fertilizers as it can cause severe health problems.

Health Benefits

Anti-inflammatory: Basil contains powerful essential oils like citronellal and linalool that helps to lower inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory bowel conditions. It also completely eliminates continuous coughing and cold.

Fights against cancer cells:  Studies shows that basil contains phytochemicals that helps to prevent the occurrence of cancer naturally. It includes skin, liver, oral, lung cancers and stops tumors from spreading.

It also has the capability to protect cells or tissues when subjected to radiations and chemotherapy treatments.

Promotes Cardio vascular health: The Anti-oxidant property in basil helps to control the flow of blood in arteries and veins.  It promotes healthy blood pressure and also prevents platelet aging aggregation.

Digestion: It has great impact on digestive system. Leaves are made into an infusion to aid indigestion and reduce appetite problems. It is also used in the treatment of flatulence and bloating.

Diabetes: Consuming basil helps to reduce the blood glucose levels, triglyceride, cholesterol levels in your body and protects against diabetic development.

Stress:  It also deals with mood-related issues or mental- disorders like depression and anxiety. Basil is considered as anti-depressant with positive impact on brain function by stimulating the hormones responsible for making healthy.  

Healing issues: The antiseptic properties of basil help to treat ulcers, cuts and wounds. Mix basil leaves juice, coconut oil and apply the mixture or solution on cuts & wounds for fast relief.

Side Effects

Basil is safe for adults when taken from mouth as medicine. Consuming in large amounts may also result in some severe health problems like…

  • Low blood sugar
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Surgery

The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Basil Plants

Start growing basil from seeds in a pot or large container that produces tasty leaves and monitors your health. If you have amazing ideas about growing basil in your home, please share your experience with us.

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