Tips for successfully growing basil in your herb garden

If you're raising your own herb garden, you're sure to have some basil growing.  Often referred to as the king of herbs, basil has more than sixty varieties worldwide.  Even in our area there are about 15-20 varieties that you can grow.  Here are some tips on how to have success growing your basil.

Basil loves warm weather, and in our area it's considered a summer annual.  Make sure the basil in your garden is placed in part to full sunshine.  You can also grow it indoors for a while, especially if you have a grow light.  Basil doesn't like too much water, so water it when it's thirsty, but don't keep it soggy.

To keep fresh leaves on your plant, pinch off the blooms.  The flowers are pretty, but the freshest leaves will come if they have been pinched off.  However, if you want to attract bees as pollinators, basil does a great job, so you'll want to keep the flowers in that case.  Also, if you want to encourage seeds to be made so you can collect and plant next year, you'll need flowers on your basil.

There are a number of basil varieties, like spicy globe basil which has a nice formal look, and purple foliage varieties that have deep colored leaves and add a lot of character to your garden.  Whatever your goal with basil, try experimenting with the different varieties, and have fun.

Have a gardening question?  Use the form below to ask the folks at Bennett Nurseries.  We may feature this in an upcoming Garden Tips segment!