For the past several years, there is only one houseplant that’s more of a constant presence in my home than Mathilda, an 8-year-old philodendron- a lush basil plant. Did you know that at most supermarkets these days it’s cheaper to buy a living basil plant than it is to buy packaged cut basil? It’s just about the only ingredient at the supermarket that you can take home, water and it will just keep making more.
If you like to cook, having a basil plant is a no-brainer. Delicious fresh basil will be at your constant disposal, and they look great too.
I prefer to repot my basil in a clay pot that is breathable and a few inches bigger than the plastic one it comes at in the supermarket or nursery. Basil is a thirsty plant, and if you replant it, it will be happy with a soil that drains well. Putting a layer of small stones at the bottom of the pot will help your plant’s roots breathe. (Good trick for almost any container plant)
The best thing about a basil plant is that as long as it’s getting some sun each day and you remember to water it, you’re in business. Not good with plants? Don’t be shy, the basil plant is hardy, just remember to keep it watered and next to a window. While most growers recommend six hours of sun a day, I have found that a full day of indirect light with a few hours of direct sunshine will do the trick. Keep in mind that while basil loves the sun, basil can get scorched by intense midday light, especially if it’s likely that it came from a greenhouse. Basil prefers temps of 70 F. and up, so in the winter months it’s good to keep an eye on placement, it may not like being next to a cold draft.
During the summer when my basil is outside, I water it every day. In the winter, I usually water my basil every other day depending on its needs. If you like plants, but aren’t sure when to water them, you can get a moisture meter for as little as $5 on Amazon or at your local plant spot. These are great for all houseplants, you just stick it in the soil and it will tell you what’s going on down by the roots.
Feeding Your Plant
If your leaves start to get yellow or pale, chances are your basil is hungry. I use a liquid organic fertilizer once a month. Regardless of the brand, you definitely want an organic fertilizer to keep that basil, and you, healthy.
Fresh Basil Ideas
Tomato and Basil Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette