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Care for basil from the supermarket: Follow these tips to have a lush plant at home

Basil is a culinary herb used for its fragrant leaves, which contain a high concentration of essential oils. There are a number of different basil varieties, of which sweet basil is the most common, and it is used in cooking worldwide. Basil is native to warm, tropical climates, and although it can be grown indoors, it does best outdoors in hot, dry conditions. If you learn how to care for basil from the supermarket, you’ll end up with a lush plant that you can grow yourself at home.

How to care for basil from the supermarket

Harvest basil properly - remove leaves from the top downwards

Choosing the best plant: When buying basil from the store, look for larger plants that are bushy and vigorous. If the leaves look wilted or drooping, this indicates that basil has dried out. If possible, check the roots in the pot and make sure the plant is not root-bound. If you see healthy roots, this is a good sign that you can replant the plant at home.

The basil you buy at the supermarket is packaged in a plastic bag and the plant itself is in a small pot. One of the most common ways to care for basil from the supermarket is to place the plant in a saucer of water on a windowsill that gets plenty of sunlight. Then water the plant every few days to keep it hydrated.

How to care for basil from the supermarket

While this is a viable method of caring for supermarket basil, it will only keep the plant alive for a short time. This is because the plant’s pot is planted with many basil plants – not just one. It’s too crowded for them all to grow and thrive in one pot, so they run out of space and nutrients and inevitably die after about a week or two.

How to preserve basil, you can learn here !

How to propagate basil plant.

Tips on how to care for and propagate basil from the supermarket could be

If you want to have basil in abundance for many months, you will need to divide the stronger, healthier basil plants and pot them up individually so they can thrive.

What you will need:

  • 1 basil plant from the supermarket.
  • Small, separate pots
  • Potting soil
  • A warm location for your new basil – somewhere with direct sunlight

Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Remove the basil plant from the pot and separate the plants by gently pulling the root ball apart. To minimize damage to the plant, pull gently but firmly. Try to grasp only the root/earth part of the plant so you don’t damage the stems or leaves.

Divide basil plants by carefully pulling out the root neck

  • Once you have the inside of the root ball exposed, look at which plants look the healthiest and largest, as these are the ones you will want to plant individually. You can use the smaller plants in your recipes over the next few days.
  • Pull each larger basil plant further apart and plant them in their own pot. Always plant the basil at the same height as in the original pot, as basil stems are fragile and should not be planted too deep.

Remove the basil plant from the pot and separate the plants

  • Place your newly potted plants in a warm, comfortable spot with direct sunlight, such as a windowsill or greenhouse.
  • When you are ready to harvest basil, remove the top leaves from the top of the plant down so that the rest grows bushy.

Place the newly planted basil plants in a sunny location

  • If you plant your individual basil together in a larger pot or outdoors, make sure you leave enough room between each plant to grow – 20-25 inches of space is plenty.

How to keep basil from the supermarket fresh longer

How to keep basil from the supermarket fresh longer

Now that you know how to care for and propagate basil from the supermarket, here are some tips on how to keep your plant alive and blooming for a long time:

  • Water your basil well
    Make sure your basil plant is constantly hydrated by watering it regularly. If your basil plant looks floppy, it’s a sign that you need to water it more often. Stick half a finger into the compost, and if the soil feels dry at that depth, give it some water. Use planters with adequate drainage holes to keep the roots from getting waterlogged. A rich potting soil will also help with drainage. Be sure to water only at the base of the plant to avoid leaf diseases.

How should you care for basil from the supermarket to have a lush plant at home

  • Harvesting the basil
    When basil is about 15-20 inches tall, you can start harvesting the leaves. Do this regularly, even if you are not using it for cooking. Regularly plucking the leaves off your plant will encourage new growth and give you lush foliage. The more shoot tips you pinch off, the more the plant will produce. Cut off dead leaves, and when your basil starts to flower, remove the flowers so your plant doesn’t get too big and stays bushy.
  • Protect basil plants from bugs.
    Caterpillars love basil, so spray your basil lightly with a diluted pesticide or insecticide. And be sure to wash the leaves well before eating them.

Health benefits of basil + delicious recipes you can read here !