Central
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keeping basil year round?

Hello all. I have a hanging pot with basil inside that absolutely thrived on my patio over the summer. She produced more leaves then I could even imagine using. The plant itself is a wonderfully green and aromatic addition to the home. My question (and forgive me if its obvious, I'm new to gardening and learning) is can I keep this plant alive year round?
I live in northern Ohio and our winters get into the single digit territory. So would I be able to keep the root system alive over a few months while we ride out the bad weather? And if so how?

Susan W
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Re: keeping basil year round?

Enjoy and harvest your basil now! It doesn't like cold weather, not just freezing but below 40. You can bring it in when nights dip down chilly, and see how it does. Meanwhile freeze a bunch in ice cube trays in water, oil or as pesto. Super easy tips easy to check on line.
Have fun!
Susan

imafan26
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Re: keeping basil year round?

You are lucky, I have to contend with downy mildew. I used to be able to have basil around all of the time.
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StevePots
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Re: keeping basil year round?

How about down here in Zone10 - South Florida? I got three cuttings of Sweet Basil and I just now got them planted. I believe... clipping the top 4 leaves and any flowers will keep the plant producing. Any thoughts?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: keeping basil year round?

It will keep it producing longer. It is an annual and eventually the stems get woody and less productive. You do better to restart it at least annually.
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StevePots
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Re: keeping basil year round?

Good point. Good thing they are so easy to propagate.
You are what you eat eats.
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pepperhead212
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Re: keeping basil year round?

I used to harvest a lot of basil and Thai basil, and freeze it in little popsicle containers, to use in the off season. I would simply swish the popsicle of basil paste in a sauce, until I got the flavor I wanted, and then place it back into the container, and put it back into the freezer.

Now I grow basil hydroponically, starting it from cuttings right about now. I start a few of each variety in my cloner, and then pick the best two and put them into the deepwater system, then pick the best of each variety, and keep those. All it takes is one of each variety, as they grow incredibly large and fast. Even something like Thai curry, which often uses a generous cup of basil, has more than enough from the one plant, and the plants regenerate in just a few days. And, compared to a number of other herbs, which attract pests indoors (most common ones are aphids and spider mites), I have no problems with basil or Thai basil.
Dave

catgrass
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Re: keeping basil year round?

I'm in zone 9. If you cut it back about 1/3 it will continue to leaf out. Mine lasted almost all winter, until I forgot to bring it in when the nighttime temps got around 40
zone 9 Southwest La.

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ElizabethB
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Re: keeping basil year round?

Hi Central,

Warm welcome to the forum.

Basil is an annual. That does not mean that it will last for a year. A annual will last one season.

The life cycle of an annual is to grow, produce foliage, flower, go to seed then die.
You may be able to fool mother nature for a little while but in the long run she wins.

In your region your basil season is summer. You can extend that a little bit by pruning but your best bet is to start new plants for each season.

Of course you will need to grow fall, winter and early spring basil inside with adequate light. You will need an artificial light source.

Take cuttings now. 3 or 4 3" - 4" cuttings. A good way to start is to use 4" nursery pots. You can get them free from your big box stores and local nurseries. They cull distressed plants and toss them with the pots. Ask for the Nursery Specialist or Department Manager at the big box store. Ask when they cull plants and let them know that you need a few 4" pots. Wash the post in a sink of hot water with 1/4 cup bleach. Rinse well.

Plant your cuttings in the pots filled with all purpose potting soil - no fertilizer needed. Leave the cuttings outside until the temperature gets close to 40 degrees F. Keep the soil evenly moist - not soggy. That will entail daily watering. Your cuttings will have a root system in 2 - 3 months. The plants will put out new growth when the root system is established.

When the temperature starts to drop move them inside. You need a shelf or shelving unit with adjustable shelves and shelves that drain. Use shop light fixtures with grow lights. Big Box store.

Let the rest of the basil flower and go to seed. Collect the seed. Use the seed to start plants for the next season.

In south Louisiana I plant Basil starts in March (seeds started in January). The starts are planted outside in the herb bed. By mid June they are going to seed. I plant 2 or 3 starts in May. Plant in late June early July. I also harvest seed. Late summer is very hot and basil does not last long so I start seed in mid June. They will be ready to plant in August. Those plants can last for several months depending on the weather. I do not plant winter pots for indoors. I always have basil butter, basil infused Olive oil, dried basil and frozen basil.

Ok - :eek: Sorry for going on so long. Take and plant cuttings and harvest seeds. Harvest leaves ad at least dry what you have.

Good luck.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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rainbowgardener
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Re: keeping basil year round?

There's a couple of these basil threads going on right now, with very similar issues/ questions.

Here's the other one: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 29&t=65450

you might want to look it over too
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catgrass
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Re: keeping basil year round?

Elizabeth, you have never pruned yours back when it starts to seed and have it last longer? Mine does. Though not as prolific as early in the season, it lasts until a frost. And it does start easily from cuttings.
zone 9 Southwest La.

imafan26
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Re: keeping basil year round?

The hardest thing I have to deal with is basil downy mildew. It makes it hard to keep sweet and Thai basil for any amount of time. African, Holy, Lemon, Lime and cinnamon are less susceptible so I do keep those much longer. The African and Holy basils live much longer but they have an unusual taste.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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