The basil leaves are not only extensively used in herbal preparations in Ayurveda, but also in traditional Chinese medicines. In many parts of the world, especially Asia, the plant is revered and given scriptural and spiritual importance. Basil's powerful medicinal values make it a great plant to have in your home and garden.
Basil is a low-maintenance herb that comes in many varieties. The common ones grown in most gardens are:
Most of these plants achieve a height of two feet that sprout bright green 3-4 inch long leaves and tiny white flowers that are borne towards the end of the tender branch spikes. The leaves are subtly fragrant, especially when fresh leaves are crushed.
In some varieties, the leaves have a purple border. Fresh and dried forms of the herb are also used for culinary purposes. Whether grown indoors in pots or as outdoor garden plants, the plant requires the same amount of attention and maintenance.
Make sure the plant is not diseased, and that the leaves are not yellow or brown. The herb can also be propagated by cuttings or layering. Basil can be grown from its seeds; just sprinkle a few on a raised bed, lightly water it, and cover it for a couple of days. Remove the cover as soon you find that the seeds have germinated.
Too much compost will damage the plant and lead to root rotting. As it is a tropical plant, it needs to be protected from the cold winds and frost. It does well in both full as well as partial sun. The plant can tolerate soil pH in a range between 6 to 8.
This will cool off the warmth around the plant. In colder climates, water the plant only when required. Heavily mulch around so that adequate moisture will be retained which is beneficial for growth. You can even till the soil regularly to ensure that the soil does not harden up, and water drainage takes place easily.
Too much artificial and fast release fertilizer will hasten plant growth, which will damage the plant in the long run. Use organic fertilizer or liquid fertilizer. Add the fertilizer away from the main stem of the plant and water the plant after every application.
When you notice such infliction in the plants, control the watering, air out the plant, and cut the diseased stems and leaves. You can dust anti-fungal powder or spray the plant with a pesticide solution. Other pests include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites. They can be cleared out using the appropriate anti-fungal or anti-bacterial solutions or powders.
Caring for basil does not take too much time and effort. Simple measures such as ensuring good drainage, adequate water, enough sunlight, and good quality slow release fertilizer will keep your plant in very good condition.