Lemon Basil Care: How To Grow Lemon Basil Herbs
How To Grow Lemon Basil Herbs (Cuttings)
The most common way to grow lemon basil is by cutting the plant’s stem at the ground level. You need to dig up the soil around your lemon basil plants and place it into a pot with water.
When you have done this, you will see that there are roots already forming in the soil. You then simply keep watering the roots until they become established.
You can also use a drip irrigation system to water your plants. If you do not want to dig up the soil, you can buy pre-cut leaves or bulbs from garden centers and put them directly into pots with water.
These are easier than digging up the soil, but still require some effort.
When you first start using these methods, you may notice that the roots are not very big. They will eventually get bigger, but they won’t be able to support themselves yet.
Once they reach a certain size though, they’ll stay strong and healthy all their life.
If you want to grow lemon basil indoors, you will need to provide light for them during the day so that they can develop properly. If you are using the cuttings method, place five or six of them in a small vase so that they can receive adequate lighting from your lights.
If you are using the pre-grown herbs to grow lemon basil, then you can just put them into pots and place those into your lights. Make sure you keep the roots damp but not wet.
How To Grow Lemon Basil Herbs (From Seed)
You can also start your lemon basil plants from seed. This is a slow process, but worth it for the free seeds.
These can then be used to grow more plants later. You should be able to find lemon basil seeds at most retailers and nurseries.
Fill a small pot with growing medium and then sprinkle some of the seeds evenly on top of the soil. Then, cover them with about a quarter-inch more of soil, and keep it moist.
You can place the pot in a plastic bag to help create humidity. Then, wait. It might take a few weeks for the seeds to sprout.
When the leaves can stand on their own and are about an inch tall, you can move them to their permanent pots. You should transplant a few at a time, to make the process go faster.
Again, dig up the soil from their current pot and set it out in a larger container so that it can settle and adjust. Then, place the seedlings into their new container and back into their plastic bag to keep them from wilting in the light.
You can then move them out of the bag when they are all in their new containers. Make sure that you keep them watered and well-watered.
They will need more water than most other herbs, so the soil stays damp at all times.
When your seeds start to bloom, you can harvest some of the leaves for cooking. The leaves will not be as strong when they are younger, so it is best to wait until the plant has grown for at least a month.
Every week, harvest a few of the youngest leaves and some of the flowers. This will give you a small amount of leaves and flowers for your cooking without damaging the plant too much.
Lemon basil grows best in the sunniest parts of your garden, but can also grow in partial shade. If your garden has multiple levels, you can place the plant on a deck or on a patio.
It can also grow just fine in a pot on a sunny balcony. The more sun it gets, the better taste it will have. You can even train it to grow up trellises and arbors for an interesting look in your garden or on your patio.
These plants will grow anywhere from two to four feet tall and require about forty-five to sixty centimeters of space around them. Give them this space so that they can grow to their full size and produce the best tasting leaves.
Caring For Your Plant
Lemon basil can tolerate most types of soil, so you don’t need to amend it before planting. A pH of between 6 and 7 is best, but you can still grow it in soil with a higher or lower pH.
It prefers moist soil, but will tolerate some dryness. However, the leaves will have a bitter taste when it hasn’t been watered enough.
It can tolerate some flooding around its roots, but shouldn’t be submerged for long periods of time.
It should be watered every week, even if the soil still feels damp. During the hotter parts of summer, it will need water twice a week.
It can’t survive below freezing temperatures, so you will need to protect it during any cold snaps or freezes in your area. You can do this by bringing the pot indoors if your home stays above freezing, or by wrapping the base of the stem in burlap and placing it against the foundation of your house.
Pruning your plant won’t be necessary, but you might want to remove any dead leaves or flowers that remain on the stem after they die. If the plant starts to grow out of its container or its reaching for the roof, you might want to trim it back a bit.
Harvesting your leaves and flowers can be done as soon as they are big enough to pick. Snip them off with some scissors or a knife and they should be ready to be used in your meals right away.
Their smell is a strong one, so it will repel some pests such as aphids.
This plant does self-seed, but it isn’t a common occurrence. You can help the flowers develop into seeds by saving some of them and planting them in separate containers.
Place them in a warm area that gets direct sunlight, but keep them well watered. Allow the seeds to mature before you plant them.
These seeds can be slow to grow, so don’t expect an instant result. They can take weeks or months to sprout, so you might want to start a lot of them to have enough successful sprouts to transplant into your garden.
Lemon basil is a great addition to any kitchen herb garden. Its scent and taste will add something special to your recipes.
It is also easy to grow in a home garden and can supply all the leaves you need for cooking.
Sources & references used in this article:
The relationship between growth stages and aroma composition of lemon basil Ocimum citriodorum Vis by H Al-Kateb, DS Mottram – Food chemistry, 2014 – Elsevier
The relationship between chilling injury and membrane damage in lemon basil (Ocimum× citriodourum) leaves by T Wongsheree, S Ketsa, WG van Doorn – Postharvest Biology and …, 2009 – Elsevier
Chilling injury alleviation and quality maintenance of lemon basil by preharvest salicylic acid treatment by S Supapvanich, R Polpakdee, P Wongsuwan – Emirates Journal of Food and …, 2015 – ejfa.me
Effect of spraying of molybdenum and tyrosine on growth, yield and chemical composition of lemon basil plant. Egypt by AA Youssef, ME Khattab, EA Omer – Pharm. J, 2004 – vlibrary.emro.who.int
Effects of chicken manure and vermicompost teas on herb yield, secondary metabolites and antioxidant activity of lemon basil (Ocimum× citriodorum Vis.) by J Javanmardi, E Ghorbani – Advances in Horticultural Science, 2012 – JSTOR
Growth rate of sweet basil and lemon balm plants grown under fluorescent lamps and LED modules by B Frąszczak, A Golcz… – Acta Sci. Pol …, 2014 – hortorumcultus.actapol.net
Cultivation of Lemon Basil, Ocimum americanum, in two different hydroponic configurations supplemented with various concentrations of Tilapia aquaculture green … by A Hanson, J Yabes, LP Primavera – Bios, 2008 – BioOne
Chilling-induced changes in the antioxidant status of basil plants by A Kalisz, R Pokluda, A Jezdinský, A Sękara… – Acta Physiologiae …, 2016 – Springer