How To Care For Thai Basil?

Overview

  • Indoor Thai basil is low maintenance.
  • Thai basil prefers well-drained soil in tropical regions.
  • Avoid watering the plant’s foliage, water directly.
  • Half-strength water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks.

Thai Basil Care

Water

Thai basil needs regular watering, but overwatering causes yellowing and leaf drop. Small but regular waterings prevent overwatering.

Fertilizer

Fertilize Thai basil in the growing season.

During spring and summer, use a seaweed- or fish-based fertiliser twice or thrice.

Light Requirements

Sunlight drives photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide and water into plant food.

Thai basil needs 6 hours of direct sunlight a day when grown indoors. South or west-facing windows are best for plants.

South-facing windows let the most sunlight into homes all day. West-facing windows get a lot of direct sunlight but miss the hottest, most intense part of the day.

If your home doesn’t get enough sun for basil, buy a growing light.

Temperature Needs

Basil is cold-sensitive. It requires 72-85°F is ideal. Keep them away from draughty windows and doors in winter. Even a brief dip to 50°F will slow growth.

Trim the flowers before harvesting.

Thai basil’s purple flowers require energy and nutrients. Clip these flowers days before harvesting the leaves so the plant can direct water and nutrients to the leaves.

Harvesting

Midmorning on a sunny day is best for harvesting essential oils.

Using clean, sharp scissors or your fingernails, cut stems above a leaf node.

Pinch branch tips to encourage outward growth for a fuller plant.

Avoid exposing too much stem to encourage new leaf growth. Cut a bunch of leaves above a growth point to encourage new growth.

Remember to be gentle when harvesting Thai basil because the leaves bruise easily. 

Before harvesting, water Thai basil to boost flavour. 

Thai basil is compact, so harvest at the top of a group of leaves; otherwise, the stem will rot. 

Cut the stem to the next set of leaves if you make a mistake. 

Cut Thai basil to 6 inches when harvesting (15 cm.).

Frequent harvesting of Thai basil plants will encourage bushy, full growth. Regular harvesting also prevents plant pruning.

Thai Basil Uses 

What will you do with the basil? Infuse vinegar or oil, flavour Pho with mint and chilies, make tea, or pair with chicken, pork, or beef.

You can also chop and freeze it in ice cube trays.

Once frozen, store in resealable bags for up to two months.

Thai basil leaves can be bruised and inhaled for aromatherapy.

They can be bruised and rubbed under the eyes and on the forehead to relieve stress.

Storage Methods

Drying

Place washed leaves in a single layer on food dehydrator trays. Crisp the leaves at the recommended temperature.

Bundle 6-inch stems to air dry. Puncturing a small paper bag will catch any falling leaves. Hang the bag in a warm, dry, dark room.

Freezing

To freeze Thai basil, remove whole leaves from stems and blanch for two seconds. Dry and store in an airtight container or freezer bag, layering wax paper.

Preserving

To preserve basil in oil, blend blanched leaves with 1 to 2 cups olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt per cup basil. Blend. Strain or leave the mixture as-is for a stronger flavour. Use immediately, refrigerate in a glass container for a week, or freeze.

FAQs

What Does Thai Basil Taste Like?

The Thai basil flavor is like licorice or anise, with a hint of spiciness. Ocimum basilicum flavor will grow bitter over time, but you can pinch its flowers to stop that.

Can You Use Grow Lights For Indoors Thai basil?

Yes, because Thai basil loves the sun. Warm or cool white fluorescent tubes on a timer for 12–24 hours.

After germination, use fluorescent grow lights 3 inches above seedlings. Aluminum foil or mylar improves light reflection.

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