Basil is a must-have plant for cooking enthusiasts. It is not only a very nice-looking plant but is very useful in the kitchen.
With basil leaves, you can make your own pesto, or add the leaf to the pasta. The choices are endless. This is why basil is one of the most popular indoor plants.
Basil is not very hard to grow, but it definitely needs attention and good care. Therefore, if you are wondering how often to water basil or what to consider while growing it, this article is for you.
The watering frequency of basil depends on where you have planted it. Generally, you can find out if your basil plant needs water by sticking your finger in the soil. The top of the soil should be dry and the bottom of the pot should be a little bit moist. This is the perfect timing for watering basil.
If you are one of those people, who prefers a schedule for watering plants, check your basil plant at least once a week and make sure you water it every 3-4 days.
A weekly schedule might be helpful for people who are new to plant care but to truly understand basil’s watering needs, you should just listen to the plant.
The basil will tell you when and how much water it needs. Basil’s watering needs differ according to the environment it lives in. So, let’s discuss each and every one of them individually.
Watering Basil Indoors
Basil is a very good indoor plant that is easy to grow and useful to have.
However, its watering needs to change seasonally. In the warmer seasons, you should water basil every 3 days. If your basil is in the darker part of the room, you can decrease watering frequency to once in 4-5 days during growing seasons.
In the winter basil needs less water and watering the plant weekly will be just fine. In addition to watering frequency, it is important to control the amount of water you are giving the plant.
Basil needs more water as it grows and you should always take into account the size of the plant when deciding the watering frequency.
Watering basil outdoors
Watering basil outdoors mainly depends on season and temperature. Twice a week during sunny days should be enough for the plant. During cooler days, watering basil once a week is enough.
During rainy days you will not need to water the plant at all. If you want to grow a healthy basil plant, we recommend you water the plant early in the morning.
If you water the plant in the early morning, you let the plant keep the moisture. Watering a plant in the afternoon leads to quick evaporation. Technically, the plant gets watered, but it does not get hydrated.
How to water basil?
Basil loves water. The key to keeping your plant happy, healthy, and thriving is watering properly. Room temperature water is the best for basil. If you can put the water in the sun and let it get warm that would be great.
Basil loves lukewarm water. Make sure that you water the soil and not the plant leaves. Pour water generously into the pot and wait for the water to drain.
Basil should be planted in a well-draining pot, so the excess water can come out from the draining holes. Do not let the water stay in the plant saucer, just pour it away. If you let your basil sit in the water, it might cause fungus and root rot. Basil loves moisture but not sogginess.
Signs of underwatering basil plants
Watering basil plant correctly is the biggest challenge of taking care of a basil plant. At some point every basil owner over or underwaters the plant. Here are signs to look after if you are worried that your basil is getting too much water:
- Dry soil
- Dull and flaky leaves
- Pale leaves
Take a good look at the soil. Sometimes, if basil is underwatered the soil tends to shrink and get away from the side of the pot.
Another sign of underwatering is the moisture levels of the soil. In the case of underwatering, the top of the soil might be moist, however, the rest of the soil can be dry.
That’s why it is wiser to check the top 1-2 inches of the soil. Simply stick your finger in the soil and you will find out basil’s watering needs.
Sings of overwatering basil plants
Overwatering basil is the most common mistake among plant owners. As we mentioned, basil loves water, and sometimes it is hard to water plants in a correct manner.
You should be super careful of overwatering because of its damaging effects. Overwatering may cause root rot and fungal diseases. Both of these are bad for basil and they might damage the plant for good. Sings of overwatering include:
- Drooping leaves
- Yellow color around the edges of the leaves
- The greenish color of the soil
If you notice any of these signs, decrease the watering frequency immediately.
Basil’s watering needs according to growing stages
Most people start watering basil from the very beginning. Meaning, taking care of basil plants starts from the planting process. At this stage, you cannot even see basil, but you still have to remember that it needs watering as much as a grown plant.
Watering basil during the seedling stage
The best way to grow basil is to water it correctly during the seedling stage. This stage starts from planting the basil up to the stage when you get the “adult” basil.
During this stage, it is important to keep the plant moist at all times. You can achieve this by misting the basil plant. At this stage, it is not advised to pour a large amount of water into the pot. Otherwise, you might damage the seedlings and even slow the growing process.
We recommend you mist the basil daily during the seedling stage. At this point, the soil should not be damp, but it must be moist all the time. You can continue misting after you see the little sprouts.
During this stage, there is a high chance of getting a fungus. Please consider this threat and monitor the plant carefully. While misting the top of the soil is very beneficial for the plant, overdoing it will cause fungus.
Watering fully grown basil
We have covered most of the factors of watering a fully grown basil, but there are several more tips to consider:
- During summer, “adult” basil needs deep watering at least once a week
- Monitor top of the soil and bottom of the pot at least once a week
- Trust the basics: stick your finger in the soil and determine basil’s watering needs with a proven and easy method.
Tips for growing a healthy basil
Here is a summary of tips on how to grow your basil healthy and happy both indoors or outdoors.
- Plant basil in a well-draining pot
- Place the basil in a well-lighten space
- Grow your basil with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight
- Plant basil during spring
- Use large pots or containers for growing basil
- Do not let the soil completely dry out
- Fertilize the plant
- Harvest your basil regularly – remove a third of the leaves monthly
- When planting basil in the garden, dig a deep hole
- Find a buddy for your basil – planting basil next to a different plant can be very beneficial. Most of the gardeners recommend planting basil next to lettuce, tomatoes, and oregano.
Placing basil in a sunny place is crucial for the plant’s health and wellbeing. Harvesting is another important part of the care process.
Harvesting the leaves not only gives you great ingredients for meals but also helps the plant. You should harvest at least 1/3 of the plant each month. Harvesting the basil gives the plant chance to grow new leaves.