QUESTION: What is the best month to plant basil? I don’t want to plant it too early or too late in the season and I still haven’t planted yet. – Emily L
ANSWER: This will depend upon your planting zone. Each planting zone has a final frost date. Therefore, you can plan your gardening schedule around this date.
However, this date won’t be the same for everyone. When planting basil, it should be done after the final spring frost. You may plant through the summer months as well.
It’s best to wait approximately two weeks after the final frost before planting basil. This allows time for the soil to warm up.
The desired soil temperature falls between 50- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, the warmer the soil, the better it is for your plants.
Ensure you select a growing location which receives full sunlight. The area should also have well-draining soil.
If you choose to start basil from seed, start them indoors six to eight weeks prior to the final spring frost. Should you choose this growing method, ensure you harden the plants off before moving them outdoors into their permanent growing space.
You may also choose to grow basil in a container. If so, ensure it’s larger than what the plant seems it needs. The reason has more to do with soil than needing excess space.
Since basil enjoys warm weather, when growing in a container, it needs more soil to pull moisture from. Hot days have a tendency to dry out basil plants if they don’t have enough moisture.
Basil is also easy to care for. You should water it deeply, provide a foot or two of space between each plant, and harvest it regularly. Since the plant thrives from harvesting, you won’t need to fertilize basil.
Once you have a mature basil plant, you might choose to propagate more during the summer months. Basil can be propagated from cutting.
It’s best to snip a small cutting from the plant and root it in water. When the plant’s roots are longer than two inches, it should be ready to move outdoors or to a container.
Finally, you may also grow basil indoors year-round in a container. It might be necessary to provide supplemental lighting. Take this into consideration when choosing the best times and growing method for basil in your situation.
These are all the things you should take into consideration when figuring out the best time to plant basil in your planting zone.
The best place to start is investigating your planting zone and final frost dates. From there, do a little math, pick a growing method, and you’re well on your way to producing this herb around your home.