Do basil come back every year?

Answered by James Kissner

Basil is a popular herb that is commonly grown for its aromatic leaves and culinary uses. It is a half-hardy annual, which means that it typically completes its life cycle in one year. This means that new basil plants will need to be grown each year.

In regions with mild winters, basil may be able to survive outdoors and come back the following year. However, it is important to note that basil is sensitive to cold temperatures and frost. If temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), basil plants may start to suffer and eventually die.

To ensure a continuous supply of basil, it is advisable to start new plants each year. This can be done by sowing basil seeds or by purchasing young plants from a nursery. By starting fresh each year, you can ensure that you have healthy and vigorous plants.

However, if you want to extend the growing season of basil and have a fresh supply of leaves throughout the year, you can bring a few plants indoors before temperatures start to dip in autumn. This can be done by potting up the plants and placing them in a sunny location indoors, such as a windowsill or under grow lights.

When bringing basil indoors, it is important to provide the plants with adequate light, water, and humidity. Basil plants require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, so placing them near a south-facing window is ideal. If natural light is insufficient, supplementing with artificial grow lights can help. Additionally, basil plants prefer consistently moist soil, so make sure to water them regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Maintaining proper humidity levels is also important for indoor basil plants. Dry indoor air can cause the leaves to wilt and the plants to suffer. To increase humidity, you can place a tray of water near the plants or use a humidifier.

By bringing basil plants indoors, you can enjoy fresh basil leaves even during the winter months. This can be particularly useful for those who love to cook with basil or enjoy its aromatic scent. Having a few indoor basil plants can provide a continuous supply of fresh leaves, even when outdoor plants are not in season.

While basil is a half-hardy annual and typically does not come back every year, it is possible to extend its growing season by bringing a few plants indoors. By providing the right conditions, such as adequate light, water, and humidity, you can enjoy fresh basil leaves throughout the year.