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Growing Basil (herb)

(Ocimum basilicum)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
P                 P P P

(Best months for planting Basil (herb) in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)


  • Harvest in 60-70 days
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C.
  • Space plants: 20-25cm

A frost tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent sweet smell. There are many varieties including, thai, purple ruffles and lemon.

Can be grown inside in pots in winter. As the plant develops, pinch out the top to encourage bushy growth. Keep well picked to prevent flowering.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Basil (herb)

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. Tear rather than chop.
The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.

Your comments and tips

19 Jan 12 Courtney (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My basil is gettting yellow patches on the leaves, what could this be?
19 Jan 12 Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Courtney, the yellow patches can be caused by some sort of soil deficiency . Are your basil plants still growing in seed raising mix? they need to be transferred to soil or a general potting mix soon after three or four leaves appear. Another cause of yellowing can be cold.
15 Jul 12 harry (New Zealand - temperate climate)
The yellow is an iron deficiency
18 Feb 13 Patricia (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
i have now brought 2 basil plants but dont seem to have much luck in getting to grow it seems like it rots from the stems up please can you tell me why this is
02 Apr 13 Demelza (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My (superb herb supermarket) plants were prolific through xmas and then last week as the air has cooled (Waikato) they've had rotting from stems up. Was planted in pot under back door shade. Must need intense heat to be happy as Ive had poor luck with it before. Noticed also praying mantis swarm over it this year. Had some leaf being eaten but other than mantis I couldnt find culprit.
07 Jun 13 Mark (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I am growing a potted herb garden in a sunny garage window in Christchurch. I have 4 basil plants, but with garage temperatures getting down to 5 degrees in June, they are withering. I would like to bring them into the lounge at night to keep them warm. Partner says no. Should I bring the herbs inside and put partner in garage?
20 Jun 13 chralle (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
my basil is starting to die. i think its the wet weather. so i took it out of the ground and put it in a pot and now have it sitting in side on my window sill.i so hope it starts growing again.
23 Nov 13 Megan Sainsbury (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can Basil leaves be dried. If so, How? Thanks
09 Jan 15 Ally (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
re Basil: basil doesn't like to get too wet or it does start to rot from the base up. It's best when you only water it when it starts to droop and keep pinching out the top leaves and stem between two new shoots at the base of other another pair of leaves. Don't pull outside leaves off. Always pinch the stem just above the buds.
27 Aug 15 Claudette (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Basil can be dried, if you would like to preserve the colour its best to air dry it. Wash your Basil bunches, tie together and hang upside down. Somewhere out of the sun, heat, moisture etc. I have seen paper bags used as well. A hole needs to be made in the bottom of the bag, basil goes in stem first through the hole, tie and hang. Allows air circulation through and limits dust on your drying plants, not sure if it works :) Takes a few weeks to dry, leaves will be crunchy. No idea about using a food dehydrator.

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New Zealand - cool/mountain,   New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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