Plants grow really well if you give them what they need. By “what they need” I mean warmth, sunlight and water. Basil seedlings will grow into large bushes, and you will have an endless supply of this aromatic herb.
Basil roots need enough space to stretch to the sides, meaning you need a larger pot or a nice garden.
If you grow your basil from seeds, start the seeds indoors early to have them ready for warm weather. The seeds need warm grow lights or heating mats, and a constant temperature of 70F.
Basil is tender, and you shouldn’t keep it outside until the frost is over. There’s a rule suggesting that basil follows tomato plants. If the growing season is long, sow your basil seeds at the same time as you transplant tomato seedlings.
The herb likes moisture but it hates “wet feet.” Provide good drainage and work the soil regularly to give your plant a proper air circulation.
Use compost, leaf mold and other organic matter. Use nitrogen fertilizer to grow strong leaves. Vermicompost is great. Fertilize every two weeks with compost tea.
Pinch the tops for strong branches
Large plants give more leaves. Clip off the tips one the plant grows 6 inches tall. You need to remove about 2 inches of the tip to strengthen the branches.
Keep your plant young and healthy
Frequent harvesting keeps your basil young. Flowering changes the flavor of the herb, so try to avoid it. After the flowering phase, the plant makes seeds.
Bolting is a phase in which basil plants start off their reproductive phase prematurely. Heat, drought and changes in day length trigger bolting.
Basil isn’t actually an annual. Most types are perennial when cultivated in warm climates. Prune it regularly, and give it enough water to provide constant growth.
If the plant starts flowering prematurely, you should give it enough water and move it to a cooler area with partial shade.
The right variety
Genovese basil is the pest herb for Italian pesto. Napolitano basil works best for pizza and Lemon basil is used in sauces. Sweet basil is generally accepted by most people, and Thai basil is often used in Asian dishes.