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Family: Mint

Origin:  Central Africa to Southeast Asia

The Size: 18–24 in. tall and wide

Growth: This fast-growing herb thrives equally well in gardens and containers. With sufficiently warm weather, new basil plants are ready for pruning (to encourage bushier growth) in about six weeks.

Lifespan: Basil is meant to live its life cycle within one year and thereafter go to seed.

Temperature: Basil is a heat lover. Don't bother planting it until the daytime temperatures remain in the 70s and night temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Humidity: If you live in a frost-free area, you might want to allow some basil plants to set flowers and self-seed in your garden. Not all varieties will do this successfully.

Lightning: Basil grows best with six to eight hours of full sun each day. Ample sun also means fewer disease problems and sturdier plants. This is the case except in the hottest climates, where basil prefers part shade.

The Soil: Basil does best in moist, rich, well-draining soil. It's a good idea to amend your soil with compost or other nutrient-rich mulch

Watering: Water basil deeply on a regular basis, but be sure its soil is well-drained. Use mulch to help keep moisture in.

Fertilizer: Because you will be harvesting leaves from your basil plants, you may need to fertilize them often. An all-purpose fertilizer works well and helps ensure that new leaves will grow continuously.

Reproduction: Basil works in almost any type of pot or container, even a kiddie pool. But there are two rules for success: keeping the soil moist and not crowding the plants. 

Bloom: Basil is an annual, and needs to be replanted every spring.

Difficulties: Beetles and slugs also can be a nuisance outdoors, creating holes in the leaves. Cover your entire plant with a soap solution of 2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid to a full gallon of water to eradicate these pests.