Basil is one of the most important Mediterranean culinary herbs. For generations it has been used to flavor dishes and in natural medicine. With our tips, basil cultivation is also successful on the balcony.
- popular culinary herb
- related to sage and rosemary
- Labiates with white or pink flowers
- more than 60 species known
- suitable for bright, sunny location on balcony or terrace
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is native to tropical areas of Asia, South America and Africa. The plant is slightly hairy around part. Like most labiates, Ocimum basilicum has a square stem. The leaves are green and oval. White or pink lip flowers are arranged around the stem. A fruit with a seed is formed in each flower.
Basil plant quickly grows into a small bush.
Many culinary herbs can be perfectly cultivated on the balcony. You don’t need much space for basil cultivation either. Choose a bright, sunny place on the balcony, terrace or windowsill.
Sowing – instructions
- Sow basil seeds in shallow trays filled with low-nutrient growing soil.
- Prick out the plants when about four leaves are visible.
- Plant the strongest plantlets individually in plastic pots with herb soil.
After the winter, you can transplant the basil plants into beds or containers and place them outdoors.
Tip: We recommend pre-growing basil plants indoors. This will make the spice plants more robust and the harvest will be more abundant.
You can harvest basil all year round. Cut some stems as needed. Cutting them off will stimulate new growth.
In the fall, you can cut off all the stems and dry or freeze them.
Tip: Always place a vase with basil branches in your home. The herb gives off a pleasant fragrance. The aroma has a calming effect and can help relieve headaches.
Fertilizing and watering
The culinary herb needs nutrient-rich soil. Give the plant some compost for a good start. Fertilize every four weeks with commercial fertilizer.
Basil needs adequate moisture to grow vigorously on the balcony. When watering, be careful not to wet the herb with water. Especially on cooler days, damp leaves provide entry points for fungal diseases. Water potted plants only from the bottom.
Suitable planting partners of basil are tomatoes and cucumbers. The plants have a very positive influence on each other and have similar requirements for care. If plants are well combined on the balcony or on a bed, protect each other from diseases and pest infestations.
Potted plants should spend the winter in the cellar or garage at about 15 degrees Celsius.
Fungal diseases are a problem of basil. Avoid waterlogging. Keep the leaves dry, water only from below.
Basil plants in the open ground are a favorite food for slugs. In a pot on the balcony basil is safer than in the bed.
Brown spots are usually a sign of incorrect light conditions. The aromatic herb needs warmth and brightness, but reacts with sunburn to direct sunlight.
More than 60 different species of basil are known. In addition to the shrub basil, more and more other species are finding their way into the European kitchen.
- Anise basil
- Lemon basil
- Small-leaved basil
- Cinnamon basil
- Thai basil
Frequently asked questions
Is tulsi herb related to basil?
Even the botanical name of tulsi, Ocimum tenuiflorum, suggests a relationship to basil, Ocimum basilicum. Tulsi is known as Indian basil. In India it can be found at many house entrances. Tulsi is considered a sacred herb in the teachings of the Hindus. People promise themselves divine protection from the plant at the house.
Do you harvest the basil leaves or the branches?
Always cut individual stems from the plant. You can then pluck off the leaves in the kitchen. Basil stems will keep fresh for a few days in a vase.
Are basil flowers edible?
Basil flowers are edible and tasty. They can be eaten fresh. If you like, you can pickle them in oil or prepare herbal salt with the aromatic flowers. In summer, prepare basil water as a calorie-free refreshing drink. To do this, put a sprig in a carafe filled with water.
What size should the planter be?
Use a pot with a diameter at least equal to that of the basil bush. We recommend choosing the vessel larger rather than too small.