People choose to grow holy basil plants for a variety of reasons, including the numerous health benefits from harvesting its leaves. Holy basil seeds can be purchased from numerous sources online. Before purchasing any holy basil seeds, look for information on where the seeds were harvested. Seeds should come from organic plants grown in unpolluted areas. In addition, holy basil seeds may be found at organic home centers, co-operatives, and from organic seed distributors.
For the best results, plant the seeds in a greenhouse or indoors in the Spring, when temperatures are or can be maintained between 65-70 Fahrenheit. Press the seeds just under the top layer of soil. Water daily and maintain moist soil for 2 – 3 weeks or until germination. Be sure to water with a watering can, pail, or on the mist setting using a hose until the plants are firmly established.
If planting outside the soil must be properly prepared before planting. All foliage must be removed, including weeds and other plants. Then the area must be tilled and the soil broken up at least 1 inch below the surface. The soil should also be mixed with compost or other fertilizers and enriched before the plants are transplanted. When planting the new holy basil plants, they must be spaced to one foot apart. The plants prefer full sun to partial shade. It is imperative that for the first 1-2 weeks that the soil remain moist. The plants must be watered daily until they are hearty and established.
If your planting area is subject to extreme variants in heat or extreme weather conditions, it is also advised that planters or pots be used so that you are capable of moving them inside. The plants should be moved inside and the temperature maintained at 65 – 70 to prevent freeing in the winter and being dried out in the summer. In many places where the temperature can be maintained, the holy basil plant lives as a perennial plant. When the holy basil plant is exposed to more extreme temperatures, the plant acts as an annual.
After the plant is established, you are able to harvest the plants. Harvest your holy basil plant in the morning at the juncture of the shoots. It is better to harvest from several plants than to over harvest one plant. Be sure to water the plants directly after harvesting them to maintain their growth. The leaves obtained from harvesting the plant can be chewed directly, brewed into a tea, or dried and ground into a powder for future use.