Overwintering Basil

Overwintering Basil: Instructions And Tips For Pots And Beds

The basil is actually from the South and likes warm temperatures. You can find out how to successfully overwinter your basil here. Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) originally comes from Africa and Asia and is therefore spoiled for sun and warmth – the plant cannot tolerate frost. It is therefore not that easy to get basil through the cold German winter in a healthy way. We will show you which varieties are well suited for wintering, how your basil in the pot successfully survives the cold season and how the plant can be cared for after winter.

Hibernate basil: choice of a variety

Not all varieties of the aromatic herb are good for wintering. Annual basil varieties (such as ‘Genovese’ basil) have little chance of surviving winter. Even basil plants from the supermarket are usually only intended for one-time consumption and are not suitable for wintering. For this purpose, we particularly recommend robust varieties of shrub basil – such as different varieties of African basil ( Ocimum kilimanscharicum x basilicum ). Nevertheless, you shouldn’t forget that even more resistant varieties need temperatures above 10 ° C and can only survive the winter inside on the windowsill.

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The following varieties are particularly suitable for wintering:

  • Green-leaved African basil ‘African Green’: Aromatic, the white flowers are also edible, very robust
  • Red-blue African basil ‘African Blue’: Tart, aromatic taste, vigorous, robust
  • Mammoth basil ( Ocimum basilicum ): Strong aroma with a note of cinnamon, red stem-like, very large, robust

When buying, always pay attention to the quality of the plant. Only a healthy basil plant offers the best conditions to survive the winter.

Overwintering basil: instructions and tips for pots and beds

Hibernate basil in a pot

If the basil grows outside in the bed, it should be transplanted into a pot before the temperatures drop below 10 ° C. To do this, choose a large pot that offers enough space for the basil plant. We recommend a pot with a circumference of 20 cm. As a substrate for basil, it is best to use high-quality and nutrient-rich soil such as our Plantura organic tomato and vegetable soil. Conventional herbal soil does not meet the requirements of basil.

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Basil plants on the terrace or balcony should also be brought in before temperatures drop below 10 ° C. It is not necessary to cut back the plant for the winter. Basil loves it sunny and warm, and it also needs a lot of light. That is why a place on the windowsill is particularly suitable. The optimal temperatures for basil in the pot are between 15 and 20 ° C. Drafts should be avoided in any case.

Overwintering basil: instructions and tips for pots and beds

In any case, regular watering is important, the soil should always be moist. However, waterlogging must be avoided at all costs. To ensure a continuous supply of nutrients for the basil in the pot, it should be fertilized regularly. Depending on the fertilizer used, we also recommend adding additional nutrients to the highly consuming herb every four to six weeks. We recommend a primarily organic long-term fertilizer such as our Plantura organic universal fertilizer.

Overwintering basil in a pot summarized:

  • Sunny, bright, and warm location
  • Temperatures from 15 – 20 ° C
  • Water regularly, avoid waterlogging
  • Fertilize organically every 4 to 6 weeks
Tip: You can tell that the plant lacks water by the slack, drooping leaves. If your water now, the leaves will straighten up again. But always pour directly onto the ground, never from above onto the leaves. Pouring over the trivet or dipping the root ball into a bucket of water is also suitable. Here, the very dry substrate is penetrated as quickly and completely as possible with water.

Hibernate shrub basil in the bed

Since the basil comes from tropical areas, it loves warm temperatures all the time (day and night), stops growing at low temperatures and in this case, even dies completely. To avoid disappointment, now the sad truth: Growing basil in the bed over the winter is not possible in our latitudes. At the latest when the temperatures drop below 10 ° C, you should save your basil and move it from the bed to the pot or plant new basil next spring.

Overwintering basil: instructions and tips for pots and beds

Maintain basil after winter

When the basil has survived the winter on the windowsill well, the plant can be replanted. Make sure you pay attention to the temperatures: If these still fall below 10 ° C – as can often happen during the ice saints in mid-May – then it is better to wait a little longer before planting out. If it gets warmer again in spring, the herb’s growth is stimulated. Therefore, a larger cut in the spring can be advisable. The plant can then develop new shoots and leaves, thus preventing excessive lignification.

Overwintering basil: instructions and tips for pots and beds

Outside in the bed, the basil plant should definitely be protected from snails. Collect them every evening or create barriers. Especially after winter, the basil is dependent on adequate irrigation and fertilization. Since the aromatic herb grows stronger in summer, it should be re-fertilized once a week with a mainly organic universal fertilizer to ensure optimal growth.

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