How Often Should You Water Basil?

One of the most popular and favored herbs in our gardens and used in food, sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), is considered one of the most perfect herbs. Because of its versatility, it is used in many different cuisines, most likely even on your favorite dishes!

Since it is considered the most loved herb in Italy, you can find it in popular Italian dishes like classic pesto pasta, on top of many pizza flavors, and even in gelato. You can also find it on caprese salad, in different kinds of soup, as garnishes on cocktails… the possibilities with this one are endless. 

So if you’re looking for a reason to plant some basil the answer is — why not plant basil? 

If you’ve taken our advice, however, and are on your basil-planting journey… you’re asking the question of how often you should water it. 

Basil requires a pretty consistent amount of moisture in its soil, which means you’ll want to water it regularly. For those in pots and containers, 3 to 4 days. For those outdoors, once a week will suffice. 

What is basil and where does it come from? 

Basil, a tropical herbaceous plant, is commonly associated with Italian dishes and other Mediterranean dishes. But despite it being a loved herb in these countries, basil actually originates from India. 

It is also native to other southern Asian countries and islands by the South Pacific and makes a common appearance in many Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. It was brought to the Mediterranean ages ago, said to be transported via the spice routes. 

When added to dishes, it adds a distinctive combination of spicy and sweet, because it is also a genus of mint. This makes for a great source of antioxidants.

Many people do enjoy planting basil because of two main reasons: it is quite a simple plant to grow and because of its many uses. 

Basil is also an annual plant, which means it grows pretty quickly. In as little as 3 weeks to a month, you’ll be able to see growth and maybe even have harvest at the ready. 

Because of this, many choose to plant basil, both beginners and experienced gardeners alike. 

A well-grown basil plant will probably supply you with more basil than you need for a dish, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Is basil only used in the kitchen? 

No! In fact, basil has a ton of uses, including medicinal properties. Basil can prove to be effective when added to your diet, but it can also be treated as herbal medicine and is even used in essential oils.

One type of basil is called the tulsi and is commonly referred to as the holy basil (Ocimum santum). It is highly popular in Southeast Asian countries, because of its predominant role in medicines in India, specifically ayurvedic medicines which have been a medicinal practice in India for over 5000 years! 

It is also pretty popular for helping with snakebites and the common cold. It is also said to help with anxiety, stress, fatigue, asthma and bronchitis, high cholesterol, metabolic issues  — sometimes even the flu! Incredible.

Tulsi, being an adaptogenic herb, helps strengthen and train our bodies to adapt to stress. The compounds found in these herbs help with pain, such as eugenol

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also exist within tulsi, which are essential to eliminating free radicals, which are molecules that are unstable. 

Ocimumosides A and B are compounds that help reduce stress by balancing serotonin and dopamine distribution throughout the body. 

Tulsi may also contain carotenoids that may be beneficial to the overall health of your eyes. 

Other studies have linked this to reducing high blood sugar and cholesterol, helping the cardiovascular system function well, combat infections, and even help prevent cancer. 

How and when do I plant basil? 

Basil is considered a tender annual because of its sensitivity to the cold, which is why it is usually planted in May when grown outdoors, but they can also be grown earlier or later indoors. 

It actually has quite a few varieties, but some common ones are: lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum) or cinnamon basil (Ocimum spp.), lettuce leaf basil (Ocimum crispum) grows larger leaves and is usually ideal for Caprese salads, Thai basil (Ocimum basilicum) is the most common one. 

You can plant basil in both containers and right in your backyard. It will typically require well-drained but moist soil. 

Basil also thrives in warmer environments and is suggested to get around 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight. If you’re planting from indoors, make sure to position it near an east-facing window. 

Basil grows extremely fast and can grow anywhere between 12 and 24 inches tall, which means they probably need almost the same amount of spacing between each other when growing in gardens.

Sometimes, basil will love being planted among other similar herbs and even vegetables that may need the same amount of care it does. Chamomile, lettuce, and oregano are those that may need similar lighting and watering needs. 

How often do I need to water my basil plants? 

Try and use potting mixes, containers, and pots that aid in proper soil drainage. Most types of mint require a fair amount of water, but overwatering will result in root rot and eventually the decline of your plant’s health. 

Remember to water from the bottom instead of the top. 

How often you need to water your basil will depend on where you plant them, how much sun they’re getting, and what kind of climate you live in. 

Basil in pots and containers will need a good watering session every 3 to 4 days, but make sure that the soil is probably drained before the next watering. 

Basil planted outside your home will most likely only need to be watered once a week, although hotter climates with rare rainfall may need more watering. 

Same goes for basil that is grown in cooler climates, once a week will suffice. 

Conclusion 

Basil is a great herb and plant overall, easy to care for and grow. It also has a ton of uses, from the kitchen to your personal health. 

How often you need to water it may depend on three main factors: where your basil is planted, how much sunlight they receive, and what kind of climate they’re going to be growing in. 

The recommended amount of watering your basil is between 3 to 7 days, depending on these three factors.

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