Something that may have probably crossed your mind from time past and made you curious about sweet basil could be that, what if I plant my sweet basil for more than a year, would it die?
or will it continue to grow and make leaves with an exquisite fragrance and taste? However, the right question to ask is if sweet basil is a perennial.
So, Is Sweet Basil a Perennial? Sweet basil is an annual plant but can be managed to be a perennial plant. It can be an annual plant when it is planted in a tropical garden. However, for it to live extensively as a perennial plant, You should plant it in a cool-warm garden; this should be an all-year temperature as it is susceptible. Scorching temperatures can quickly destroy the plant, especially when it has exhausted its annual lifespan.
Sweet basil is a very fast-growing mint herb that grows well on any soil. It can be planted as a seed and also through the process of stem cutting.
When planted as a seed, it takes about 5-7 days before the seeds germinate. After germination, leaf sprouts from seeds start to grow in about one week.
Afterward, the leaves continue to grow and become broad until they are due for harvest. When planted as a stem cutting, it takes about 2-3 weeks to grow back.
Also, it is essential to note that a Basil plant will only grow well after cutting if it was cut at 2 inches Is 5cm or longer. It grows to about 18 to 24 inches before it is due for harvest.
That said, the following factors determine the fast growth of sweet basil:
1. Fertility of the soil:
When grown on a very fertile soil rich in moisture, sweet basil seeds begin germination in 3-5 days.
When sweet basil seeds are appropriately spaced, they tend to grow faster than when the seeds are stalked up. The average spacing range for sweet basil is about 8 to 18inches.
The spacing is crucial, especially for the roots; this is because the roots are quickly sprouted and vigorous hence they tend to cope even if the soil is not as earlier described.
3. Amount of water:
Sweet basil requires very little water for growth. But watering it with at least 1 inch of water every week will help it grow better. The water applied helps maintain the moisture content of the soil.
4. Availability of sunlight
Determines how fast sweet basil grows; shades often slow down the growth process. Sunlight is essential because it contributes to its flavor and taste.
Since sweet basil can self-seed, its seeds are shed and regrow even without you planting them.
Afterward, blooming occurs and causes the formation of flowers, and then seeding takes place from the flowers.
In addition, the formation of seeds from the flowers is aided by tiny flying insects, which act as agents of pollination.
Seeds formed grow into maturity and are dispersed to the ground, after which they remain dormant until the fall season for germination of the seeds.
The seeds germinate and continue to grow into new basil plants.
Sweet Basil can be preserved and used as a fresh leaf even if it is out of season. Some ways to achieve this are:
1. Freezing basil leaves:
This is one of the simplest ways of preserving basil when it is out of season.
It may, however, not retain some of its physical properties, such as the freshness of the leaves as they might shrink and become smaller in quantity than their original size, but the taste and flavor are never lost.
It would help if you chopped your basil leaves or froze them in a portable container or polythene bags; blanching before freezing is also recommended.
Here are some of the steps to take before freezing the basil plant:
- Harvest your basil and wash them carefully. After that, carefully remove the leaves from the stem and pour them in a pot of boiling water for at least 5 seconds.
- Filter the leaves from the pot of boiling water with a basket or spoon, pour the leaves into a container of ice-cold water.
- Dry the leaves to a crisp, then store in a polythene bag for a container
2. Making cube trays:
You will not have to worry about going out of basil and adding to soups, stew, and tea if you store basil in a cube tray.
Storing basil plants in cube trays is an effective way to store basil and a fancy way of doing it; in this process, basil leaves are chopped and ground in some olive to form a paste with a food processor.
The next thing is to transfer the paste into an ice cube tray and store and store in refrigeration.
If drizzling the basil into a paste does not go well with you, you can roughly chop the basil and place it in a keep tray, adding tiny drops of olive oil to each cube, then freeze.
Your basil will remain as fresh and nutritious as though it was just harvested.
3. Making pesto cubes:
Pesto cubes are stews made from a drizzle of basil and pill. You can prepare pesto cubes in mortals by pounding or in a food processor.
After making the cubes, the paste is transferred into trays and stored in the refrigerator.
This way, you will always have your basil and count on it whenever you need the extra flavor to add to your meat, stew, or tea.
4. Drying basil leaves:
The easiest way to dry your basil is to do it in your oven. First, carefully harvest your basil leaves, wash them, remove the leaves from the stalks, then dry them carefully with a paper towel.
You should set your oven at a shallow temperature with the basil leaves placed inside the oven sheet.
Allow it to bake for at least 2 -4 hours to dry out completely and become crispy. Finally, crush the leaves in your palms and pour them into a small jar.
Another way to dry basil leaves is by hanging the basal up in the kitchen or at one end of the room. In this process, sunlight is needed to dry out the leaves.
However, this is a relatively slow way of drying basil, and it is used only when the basil leaves are not needed urgently.
5. Making basil vinegar:
Vinegar is added to fresh basil as a way of preserving it. This requires putting 3-4 basil stalks full of fresh leaves in a bottle of vinegar.
Allow it to settle for two weeks, and after which, you should occasionally shake after some days.
Whenever you want to grow sweet basil as an annual or a perennial plant, you don’t know precisely how to go about it.
Maybe your sweet basil is not growing well or does not have the distinctive taste you want.
Everything you need to know on how well to grow sweet basil has been listed, and after reading it, and following the suggested solutions, your lovely basil plant will come out just as you would want it to.
Also, this knowledge can help you manage the sweet basil properly so that it can become a perennial.