How much light does a basil plant need?

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Choose a sunny garden spot, handy container or indoor herbal planter for basil. Most varieties do not require much room. This green leafy plant is usually grown as an annual as it is sensitive to cold. Most gardeners plant basil seeds, cuttings or transplants in spring when the ground warms. Basil needs sun and well-drained soil. It grows well as a companion plant in a vegetable garden, in mixed herb planters and in hanging baskets. Kitchen gardeners often keep a basil container in a sunny window. Leaves can be pinched off for a quick toss into tomato dishes or other recipes.

  • Step 2
    Use basil as a companion plant. Grow it in gardens to repel aphids, mites and other pests. Tomato and basil plants grow well together. Tuck a basil plant or two at the end of each tomato row and among the tomatoes. When harvesting the tomatoes, snip off basil branches at the same time, as they are often cooked or served in the same recipe. Basil is also a beautiful and fragrant green plant to mix in flower corners and borders. Select scented basils for an herbal accent in a flower garden.

  • Step 3
    Select sweet basil for an easy to grow bushy plant 1 to 2 feet tall. Its soft green foliage is widely used in cooking. After the plant is established and branching well, pinch off leaves as needed for use in pasta, meat and vegetable dishes. When the small flower spikes form, pinch them off to encourage lush plant growth. The leaves have a mild anise aroma and are easily dried for the kitchen herb shelf.

  • Step 4
    Plant cinnamon basil for a hearty plant that grows 2 to 3 feet tall. It needs moderate sun and water. This decorative basil has small leaves and dark stems. It has a touch of cinnamon scent in the basil leaves.

  • Step 5
    Use lemon basil for a strong citrus fragrance. This plant grows up to 2 feet tall and has lemon-scented leaves up to 2 inches long. This basil is excellent for a garden citrus fragrance. Pinch off the flowers and end branches and crush them for lemon aroma. Use the leaves in fish, vinegars and salad dressings.

  • Step 6
    Check regional garden centers for more varieties such as aromatic licorice basil or bush basil. Plant a full flavored mammoth basil with huge green leaves. Use purple ruffled basil for a striking ornamental and cooking basil with ruffled purple leaves and pink flowers. Search out globe basil for a tidy plant with small dense compact leaves. Explore the world of basil with a fresh style every year.

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