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Proper care of basil ensures that you always have sufficient amounts of the herb available. Not only the basics are important here. Care tips will help in cultivating healthy specimens.

In a nutshell

  • Royal herb needs sufficient sun to grow
  • Planting outdoors is only possible once a year due to the climatic conditions in German-speaking countries
  • Basil is very thirsty and prefers a moist substrate without the risk of waterlogging
  • Pot and bed basil are fertilized differently
  • Regular harvesting maintains the vitality of the plants and prevents flowering

Optimal location

Regardless of whether you cultivate basil on the balcony, in the kitchen or outdoors, the mint (Lamiaceae) depends on a suitable location due to its Mediterranean origin. Kingsweed will grow effectively if you provide a spot with the following characteristics:

  • Light requirement: sunny
  • at least 6 hours of sun a day
  • avoid strong midday sun
  • sheltered from the wind
  • protected from precipitation

If you have potted plants in your home, it helps to move them outside from time to time. This makes them more robust. In addition, there should be good air circulation so that no excess moisture can settle, which severely affects the plants.

Notice: Since planting in the garden is not possible for several years, you have to multiply the plants regularly. Either place the seed of the light germinator directly in the bed in mid-May or prefer the seedlings from April.


If you cultivate basil, the substrate must be adapted to the needs of the herb. The heavy feeder prefers nutrient-rich soil that is sufficiently permeable to reduce the chance of waterlogging. For basil in the bed, use mature compost to improve structure and ensure adequate nutrition. Potted plants should be given potting soil with a high nutrient content as a substrate. The universally popular herbal soil is not enough for king herb. If it's too dense, mix in some quartz sand.

Notice: A drainage made of potsherds, gravel or expanded clay at the bottom of the pot protects against waterlogging.

There are basically two ways to propagate basil.


Watering succeeds without major problems. Always water when the top layer of soil has dried. Outdoors, depending on the weather, this can take several days, while potted plants even need to be watered twice a day. If the soil is still wet, do not water. It doesn't matter if you use hard water.


Fertilization is an important aspect of basil care. It should be noted that specimens planted in the garden must be fertilized differently than tub basil. If you have decided on the bucket variant, fertilize as follows:

  • Frequency: every 2 weeks
  • Winter fertilization: every 2 to 4 weeks
  • Fertilizer: liquid fertilizer (organic), herbal fertilizer (biological origin)
  • administer via irrigation water
  • do not give over leaves

When planting, enrich the soil with mature compost or horn shavings, especially if it is lean. In summer, fertilize again with compost as needed.

Harvest regularly

To properly care for basil, you don't need to prune the herb at any particular time. Harvesting the herb at regular intervals is enough to prevent buds from forming. The reason: after flowering, the plant dies because growth stops completely. Since Ocimum basilicum also loses its dense, bushy growth without a harvest pruning, the amount of usable leaves is reduced. Luckily, you can always harvest when you need basil or when it has reached a certain size. Only cut the shoot tips up to the next branch. In this way you prevent the plant from weakening and not being able to recover.

Notice: By continuing to harvest, you prevent the herb from taking on a bitter aroma. Since the mint family has no chance to bloom, no bitter substances are developed that weaken the intensity of the essential oils.

Basil care: 7 tips

  • Repot after purchase: If you decide to use supermarket basil, transplant it as soon as possible. Remove dried, rotten or damaged roots and use a good quality substrate.
  • Sharing purchased basil: Depending on the supplier, Ocimum basilicum available in pots is planted too tightly. Here it makes sense to dig up the root ball, divide it into four pieces with a knife and place them in separate planters. In this way you offer the king herb enough space.
  • Ideal pot size: When cultivating in a pot, it should not be too small. Eight to ten liter pots with a height of 20 centimeters are ideal. This way the basil has enough space to thrive.
  • Problem snails: In the garden, snails are one of the biggest enemies of basil. Use scent barriers, snail fences, or predators as countermeasures. Alternatively, plant the herb in taller pots or a raised bed.
  • Humidity: A warm and dry environment encourages aphid and thrips infestations. To care for the basil, regularly spray water around the herb or use a humidifier. As soon as you discover an infestation by the pests, rinse them with water, isolate them and remove infested leaves.
  • Prevent fungal diseases: When cultivating your basil, be careful not to water the leaves from above. Especially in cool weather conditions, this permanent condition leads to fungal infections such as leaf spot disease and the dangerous Fusarium wilt. Remove affected shoots to contain the infestation.
  • Good neighbors: Plant the herb together with other plants to make it healthier. Rosemary, tomatoes, cucumbers, kohlrabi, parsley, borage, cress, savory and chervil are suitable for this purpose. Due to the ingredients, basil is also a protection against mildew and pests that clog herbs and vegetables.

frequently asked Questions

How are harvested basil leaves stored?

If you do not want to use the harvested basil leaves immediately after harvesting, you should freeze them. You can either place whole leaves or a puree of them in the freezer for storage. In this way, the herb even lasts for several months. It is also possible to store the leaves in sunflower or olive oil after drying, which allows the aroma to take over.

Which varieties can be cultivated perennial?

There are some varieties that are robust enough to survive the winter despite a lack of light and a winter quarters and can be cultivated for several years. These include the tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), the shrub basil 'Wild Crimson' (Ocimum canum basilicum 'Wild Crimson') and the camphor basil 'African Blue' (Ocimum kilimandscharicum basilicum 'African Blue'). The clove basil (Ocimum gratissimum) should also be mentioned.

How are suitable basil varieties overwintered?

Whether they are hardy strains or not, the plants need to be moved indoors in autumn when the outside temperature is above 12°C. The winter quarters must be bright and ideally have temperatures between 12°C and 20°C. Be sure to avoid a spot above the heater, otherwise the herb will dry out. Don't forget to water regularly as the plant will continue to sprout in winter.

Can cuttings be used for propagation?

Yes, cuttings can be used if you have chosen a perennial variety. Since these plants are much more robust than annual specimens, the cut parts of the plant can develop enough roots. To do this, cut off a healthy shoot and remove the lower third of the leaves. Place the cutting in a glass of water and after roots can be seen, pot the seedling.

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