Native to southern Europe and Asia, this plant thrives in warm, sunny weather.Basil is an ideal plant to grow during the heat of summer and isn’t meant to last over the chilly winter season.The normal life cycle of basil means the plant will die in the winter and drop its seeds.If you’re planning to grow basil outdoors, the safest practice is to start your seeds indoors in the spring.If you live in a region that gets plenty of sun and stays warm year-round, your basil could survive the winter.You shouldn’t attempt to grow basil outdoors during cold weather, but sometimes late spring and early fall bring unexpected frosty temperatures.Basil can survive outside for brief periods of cold as long as you take proper precautions, and temperatures don’t hit freezing.Bringing your basil plant inside is another good option to protect it from cold weather.Cool weather (around 50 degrees F) isn’t likely to kill your basil, but it will cause the plant to grow more slowly and produce fewer leaves.If your basil has been exposed to even colder weather, check the leaves for brown or black spots, wilting, or curling.Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines. .
Can Basil Survive the Cold Winter Months?
Basil experiences damage right away when temperatures dip, so make sure you have a way to protect your plant.As with many annual herbs, basil is meant to live its life cycle within one year and thereafter go back to its seed stage.Some garden enthusiasts try to keep it alive by protecting potted basil inside greenhouses or even a room in their homes.The key to keeping your basil plant alive during the winter is to provide it with as much light as possible.A great solution to this problem is shifting to artificial light sources in the darker winter months.Around 12 hours of light and keeping the soil warm and drained from excess of water is a good starting point.In case you stick to natural light, your basil plant needs to live in front of a window during the day and be protected from the morning cold.An indoor basil plant with full sun and steady, warm temperatures may last even longer.Even when basil can survive the cold months of winter, you need to accept this popular plant for what it is: An annual herb.Even then, you can follow these tips to help extend the life cycle of basil to enjoy it a little longer on your favorite dishes, in pesto, and as a lovely indoor decoration. .
Tips for Growing Basil in Fall and Winter
I craved sandwiches on ciabatta bread with mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato slices, and aromatic basil leaves.But alas, I couldn’t find any fresh basil at the supermarket, and the local plant nurseries and greenhouses hadn’t opened yet.Mine sprouted after a week of intense Alaskan summer sun, and before long, each plant proudly displayed lots of tiny little leaves.I knew that if I wanted to enjoy fresh O. basilicum in my pasta, pizza, and sandwiches through the winter, I’d have to bring my plant indoors.If you live in Zone 10 or above, you probably don’t need to bring your basil indoors unless temperatures in your area dip below 50°F on a regular basis.Even if temperatures don’t fall below freezing during the winter in some growing zones, they often go as low as 50 or even 40°F, with occasional frosts.As soon as the leaves turn black, this is a sign that they’ve been bitten by the cold and aren’t likely to bounce back.This herb is an annual, so unless you bring it indoors, you’ll have to let it flower and die back, then plant more the following year.Towards the end of summer, your basil will produce little purple flowers – normally you would snip these off, as the leaves can develop a bitter taste when the plant bolts.When the flowers have dried out completely, gently pry them apart and rub them with your fingers over a white plate.But the central and lateral stems will turn woody after about a year, and the leaves produced on older plants won’t be as flavorful.If you already have a favorite basil plant that produces lots of tasty leaves, there’s no reason why you can’t keep enjoying it indoors throughout the fall and winter.If you’ve got young kiddos like I do, wait until they’re otherwise occupied before beginning the process of digging up your plant from the garden.My little one loves to help me garden, which is awesome, but some situations require concentration and the absence of adventurous toddler hands.Once you’ve got the root ball free, lift it out of the earth and place it in the waiting pot.Leave about half an inch of headroom between the soil and the lip of the pot so that water doesn’t tumble over the sides.Check the moisture level every day by pushing your fingertip about half an inch down into the soil.When you notice new leaves growing and you know your plant is thriving, give it a deep watering once or twice a week. .
Lowest Temperature Basil Plants Can Tolerate (How Cold
Any temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can harm the plant or turn the leaves black.In this article, we’ll talk about the temperatures basil plants can tolerate and how to protect them from cold and frost.You can use this page from the Old Farmer’s Almanac to find the last spring frost date for your area (by city or zip code).If you live in a warm climate that never gets colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you might be able to raise basil as a perennial.Otherwise, you will need to bring a potted basil plant indoors for the winter to keep it alive for more than one year.No matter where you live, an early spring frost can put an end to your basil plants if you don’t prepare for it.If you choose the right basil varieties, you can avoid danger of cold and frost to the plants.A fast-maturing basil variety will help you to avoid cold and frost damage to your plants.This makes a big difference in a cold climate with a short growing season.After you choose your basil variety and order the seeds, it is time to get started with growing!The Washington State University Extension suggests starting basil seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date.To find the last frost date for your area, enter your zip code into this tool from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.Working backwards 6 weeks (42 days), I get an indoor planting date of March 27.When you plant your basil seeds, bury them only 0.25 inches (0.6 centimeters) deep.At this temperature and with proper soil moisture, basil seeds will germinate in 5 to 10 days.Before you transplant your basil plants outdoors, make sure the weather will cooperate.Frost kills them, and temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause black leaves.If you leave the plants in pots for the first couple of weeks outdoors, it makes it easier to harden them off.Basil prefers full sunlight, meaning 8 or more hours of sun exposure per day.When you transplant basil into the garden, leave 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) between plants.According to the North Carolina State University Extension, mulching is good for basil plants because it:.Retains soil moisture by preventing evaporation due to sun and dry air.You can use wood ships, grass clippings, or leaves as mulch to insulate the soil and keep basil plants warmer.If your basil is already planted, don’t worry – there are still ways to protect it from cold and frost.Then, put the bottle over your basil plant to warm up the air and soil underneath.You can even use the cap on top of the bottle as a vent to cool the inside of the cloche on a hot day.You can also wrap a blanket or towel around the outside of a cloche to provide additional cold protection.A cold frame is a short structure that keeps multiple plants warm at once.A cold frame isn’t very tall, so it is best for keeping shorter plants warm (like basil, lettuce, and spinach).A cold frame won’t hold taller plants or trees like a greenhouse would.It is tall enough to walk into, and takes advantage of the greenhouse effect (sunlight heats up air and soil, heat energy gets trapped under the plastic or glass) to keep the inside warm.You also know how to protect your basil plants from frost and how to prepare them for cold nights. .
Keep Herbs Alive and Well in Winter With These 5 Tactics
Cold-hardy herbs, such as chives, mint, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme, can often survive cold-winter temperatures while continuing to produce flavorful foliage, as long as they are provided with some protection or grown indoors.Herbs 1: Bachman’s Landscape Design – Tom Haugo, original photo on Houzz.Herbs 2: Home & Garden Design, Atlanta – Danna Cain, ASLA, original photo on Houzz.Covering herbs helps trap the heat that rises from the soil, elevating the temperature inside by several degrees.Cold frames are topped with glass panes that slope downward and are situated so they face south.Place each one over individual herb plants and nestle the bottom inch or two of the cloche into the soil to anchor it.Many herbs can grow through the winter under the insulation provided from straw, shredded bark or other coarse mulch.Cut them back to 1 inch tall and, using a sharp shovel, divide them at their base, making sure to include the roots so each one will fit into the container.Herbs can be grown from seed or cuttings and make a great addition to a sunny kitchen window that gets at least six hours of sunlight.The rewards of growing herbs indoors throughout the winter are great when the fresh flavor of summer is within arm’s reach.This is a useful way to prolong the harvest, whether you bring in cuttings from the garden or buy fresh herbs at the grocery store.Simply cut the ends of each stem and put them in a small jar or cup filled with water. .
How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Basil
Plant seeds or transplants after all danger of frost has passed and soil is warm, and it will yield an abundant harvest within weeks. .
3 Secrets To Enjoying Basil All Winter
Fresh basil leaves go into pasta, salads, and sandwiches.Place about 3 cups of basil in the freezer bag and drizzle with a tablespoon of oil.What is funny about this is not too many people have ice cube trays anymore.Then gather them in bunches and wrap the stems with a twist tie.Hang them upside down for a week or two and then break the leaves off the stems into an airtight container and you will have dried basil for the winter.Basil plants start getting black spots on their leaves when the temperature at night starts dropping below 50 degrees F. Basil plants also require six to eight hours of sun.Either way, there is no reason to sit inside all winter dreaming about spring and your next taste of basil.