Why cant I grow basil?

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Grubbypaws

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Why cant I grow basil?
« on: July 19, 2019, 15:46 »
I follow all the advice and have good germination of healthy seedlings. I pot them on into 3 inch pots and they look great until they are about 3-4" tall when they start to look lacklustre and fail to thrive. I have tried growing them in a covered raised bed, in a small greenhouse and on a sunny windowsill but still that healthy looking 18" plant eludes me. They are in a generic multipurpose compost from the GC (Vitax), I water them from below and never splash their leaves  :unsure: :unsure: :unsure:

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mikem

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2019, 15:54 »
Basil, there must be something "Fawlty"! :lol:

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Gardener and Rabbit

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2019, 17:24 »
A 3-inch pot sounds a bit small if you want them to reach 18", I grow about 6 plants in a 6-inch pot and feed them weekly with tomato food. A larger pot will also keep the roots at a more even temperature and moisture level. I sow the seeds direct, as I've never found basil easy to transplant.

G&R

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Grubbypaws

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2019, 18:14 »
A 3-inch pot sounds a bit small if you want them to reach 18"
G&R

2 litre pots are ready and waiting but the basil is too small to need them yet or at all  :(

I am wondering whether the Vitax multipurpose compost is what is causing the problem. It is the one element that I haven't varied over the last few attempts as I bought a job lot?

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AnneB

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2019, 19:31 »
I sow loads of seed in a 6 or 7 litre pot and keep it in my unheated greenhouse.  I treat it like a cut and come again salad plant and never thin it.  I have 3 pots - standard, thai and red and they keep me in basil thoughout the summer.

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Mr Dog

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2019, 20:02 »
Also dead easy to propagate cuttings from pots of cheap supermarket basil. Obviously not as satisfying as growing from seed but can provide plenty of the stuff all year round.

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Goosegirl

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2019, 11:11 »
Just found this for you and it seems it likes to be potted on in a soil-based compost.

Basil thrives in well-drained, fertile soil, in a warm, sheltered position out of direct midday sun. To get a quality crop that lasts from early spring to mid-autumn, itís best to grow it in a container.

Start your seeds off in pots of moist multi-purpose compost on a warm but not sunny windowsill. When seedlings are big enough to handle, pot them on into individual pots filled with a soil-based compost. Put them outside in early summer after the last frost. To acclimatise them to conditions outdoors, stand them outside in a sheltered, lightly shaded spot during the day, and bring them back in at night. Do this daily for about two weeks.
Spring always comes when we sow the seeds of life.

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Grubbypaws

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2019, 14:00 »
Thank you Goosegirl. Next year I will try a soil based compost although every year I say that there wont be a next year!

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JayG

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2019, 15:33 »
A friend of mine grows basil in a pot of ordinary MP compost on her kitchen windowsill, which doesn't get much direct sun. As Mr Dog has mentioned, potted basil from a supermarket is a good source of cuttings, which produce roots within days in plain water.

Hers seem to crop more reliably than mine, which I usually grow in front of the tomatoes in the GH planters.
Results are usually a bit hit and miss, which I put down to either too much or too little light and heat (or probably all of those things during their lifespan, poor things!)
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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Mr Dog

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2019, 23:26 »
I grow stuff to eat, preferably as easily and cheaply as possible. Basil is so easy to grow from cuttings and I can pick up pots from the supermarket so cheaply (often 10p or less in the reduced section) that I think it's really not worth bothering with seeds. In fact if you're organised (more than i ever am  ;) ) you only ever need to buy one pot and you could go on more or less forever.

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hasbeans

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2019, 01:02 »
I have more luck with Napoletano basil from seed, might be worth a try.

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Grubbypaws

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2019, 08:33 »
I grow stuff to eat, preferably as easily and cheaply as possible. Basil is so easy to grow from cuttings and I can pick up pots from the supermarket so cheaply (often 10p or less in the reduced section) that I think it's really not worth bothering with seeds. In fact if you're organised (more than i ever am  ;) ) you only ever need to buy one pot and you could go on more or less forever.
I love learning something new that I can do in my garden  :D I never knew that this was possible let alone easy. No more seeds for me; thank you!

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goose

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2019, 10:29 »
I start mine off  in peat pots/module things (seed compost covered with vermiculite), then put 4 of them into a larger pot  (rather than transplanting) and fill around in with compost.

i think the secret is watering.  they dont like too much or too little. just a tiny drop every other day does fine for me.

also, i wouldnt try to get them too big at first before harvesting, i nip them off at a lower leaf bud (to use) as they grow and they grow more and more and more as the season goes and get bigger.  if you let them just grow, they flower and go to seed.


i rotate mine from the windowsil to use, the greenhouse and some are outside.  the outside ones never look as nice, but always taste better (according to my italian husband) ;)

edited to add...i always water the compost, not from the bottom (as you mentioned) as i find they dont like wet roots.  when they are just germinating, i keep them damp with a light spray bottle. also, i dont think ive ever seen a basil plant 18" high without going to seed.  i think a good 8-10" with good density is the best i have achieved but they need regular nipping/harvesting to keep them looking good. :)


« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 10:39 by goose »

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oldgrunge

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2019, 19:39 »
Think I would agree completely with Goose. The only thing I would add is that I've suffered a lot ( not me, the basil ) with discoloured leaves. This, I have found to be the result of growing in an unshaded greenhouse, now I've applied shading everything seems to be fine.
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sunshineband

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Re: Why cant I grow basil?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2019, 08:54 »
And if you don't want to bother with cuttings from supermarket plants, you can divide up the clump into three sections and plant each one. Thrives in large pots in semi shaded warm spot with no trouble
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