Basil has become unique because of its many uses in health and wellness, nutritional value, and cooking. This has made it a popular herb for home gardeners, who are growing it annually.
But since it is pretty easy to grow, insufficient or improper watering can easily damage it and destroy any successful harvesting chance. Water becomes a crucial thing to make different specimens from the existing basil plant.
In this way, you can get fresh leaves for garnishing. You can do this by purchasing a healthy basil plant and multiply it simply by growing the cuttings in pots filled with water.
How Much Water Does Basil Need?
Naturally, the amount of water the basil plants need depends on size, variety, and the environment. Every factor plays a significant role in determining how much water basil receives.
Young basil plants, which grow for 1 to 2 weeks, often rely heavily on water to grow properly. At this point, water the basil not less than one day in this stage.
As it grows, it becomes drought tolerant, but it still needs to be watered constantly. After the two-week mark, water the basil twice a week or more or when the soil is dry.
When you grow basil in a container or pot, the soil dries out faster. So, you will be required to water it more often than when you plant on the regular garden bed. Check your basil container or pot every day. When the soil is dry, water the plants.
Although most basils require even watering, some varieties can tolerate drought than others. Varieties like African blue basil can go for long without water.
So, if you’re looking for a more straightforward approach to grow basil, drought-tolerant varieties are right for you. However, please don’t mistake to confuse with never watering it at all and drought tolerance.
What If the Basil Does Not Get Enough Water?
Basil is not an easy plant to care for. It can do well with a moderate amount of fertilizer and sun. One area that should not be overlooked when growing basil is usually water.
As the soil surrounding the plant dries out, it starts to wilt and finally dies if it does not receive water quickly. As mentioned above, you only need to water soon when the soil becomes dry to prevent the basil from wilting or dying.
Can Basil Receive a Lot of Water?
Although the basil has been watered abundantly and the surrounding soil has remained moist, overwatering the basil plants is dangerous.
Too much water on basil plants can cause stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and root rot. It is vital to keep the soil moist but not always drenched.
Factors That Affect Watering of The Basil
Drainage is the most crucial factor, determining the amount of water basil plants or any other plant would get. It refers to a process by which water flows through the soil. If you grow basil in poorly drained soil, it can cause the roots to drown and rot.
While basil keeps the soil constantly moist, poorly drained soil deprives the oxygen in the roots and causes the leaves to form yellowish colors and die.
Alternatively, materials with large particles, such as sand permit water to pass through and prevent the plants from absorbing moisture. Nevertheless, materials like cocoa coir and peat moss can be the best in both worlds.
Typically, these materials are ideal for growing basil as their medium-sized particles can absorb enough water to moisten the soil and allow for additional drainage into the ground.
If you decide to grow basil in a container or pot, the variety you are using can also affect soil drainage. Growing it in the container with drainage holes will allow excess moisture to drain out of the container. Typically, this will help to prevent oversaturation of the basil.
If you discover that the soil surrounding the basil is continually drying out and you need to keep watering, vermiculite can help alleviate this problem.
Typically, vermiculite is the granular material commonly found in potting soil, but also it is sold on its own. This makes it ideal for growing basil as it retains moisture. Vermiculite is effective at retaining moisture, which can hold up to four times the size of water.
Add vermiculite to the soil can have many benefits. Besides retaining moisture, vermiculite helps store nutrients, loosen the soil, and even fight gnats, fungi, and other pests. So, adding vermiculite to basil soil results in a healthier and stronger basil plant.
This is another factor, which can affect basil’s water requirements. In drier and sunny environments, the soil dries out faster. If you live in such an environment, you may need to water the basil more often to prevent it from drying out.
However, one way to alleviate this problem is to move basil to a shady location, if possible. Also, it prevents the basil from drying out so quickly, which reduces a need for water.
How To Grow Basil in Water
- Take several seedlings from the existing basil plants. Remove all leaves from the bottom, but on top, save 2 to 3 sets. Likewise, if the flowers are available, cut them.
- Place the seedlings in a clean, clear glass jar and then fill it with dechlorinated water so that only 2/3 of the lower stem is underwater.
- Place a glass jar in a location, which receives both direct and indirect sunlight in the morning. Also, a warm window can be ok.
- Make sure you change the water after every 2 to 3 days and watch for root growth. The water should not be too cold or too warm.
- New roots appear after 2 to 3 weeks. Wait until the basil roots are at least two to five centimeters long before transplanting the seedlings to pots filled with loamy soil.
- Also, you can allow the basil to grow in the water forever. Continue to mix one gram of a balanced fertilizer such as N-P-K 20-20-20 with one liter of water and then transfer it into basil growing container.
- The duration of fertilization can be once every four weeks.
- Another thing to consider is a growing position. When growing basil permanently in water, choose a location that receives 4 to 5 hours of moderate direct sunlight and avoids the intense afternoon sun.
Where to Plant Basil?
In a container
Basil plants can grow successfully in a container. Make sure you have a large pot or container regularly filled with water and enriched potting soil.
Growing in a pot gives the gardener the flexibility to move the plant to different areas as needed. Also, it allows you to enjoy fresh herbs outside on the patio or porch.
In a raised bed
Growing basil in a raised bed saves a lot of guesswork for plants to get well-drained soil and nutrients. You can control the soil quality in the garden on the raised bed. Typically, the seeds and plants will be warmer at the beginning of the season than when planted in the garden.
In a backyard garden
The basil plant can be grown quickly and easily in the backyard garden, provided the soil is tilled and amended well with well-decomposed compost and organic material.
Mulch can help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, prevent the propagation of weeds in the garden, and reduce soil erosion.
Hope you now have a better idea of how much water the basil needs. Since many sticks to one inch of water every week, you can grow plenty of fresh basil in your garden, provided you keep the soil around constantly moist but not thoroughly drenched.