The first interesting fact about basil is that I’ve bought myself one.
But yes, buying a fresh potted basil was a gorgeous thing for me.
It is wonderful to look at, it smells divine, it requires very little care (just water, basically).
And, as I’ve also noticed, you can hardly run out of it even if you’re using the leaves in your kitchen quite often.
Wonderful, gorgeous basil.
I love how the leaves look – all silky and shiny.
They smell strong and sweet.
The name ‘basil’ is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means ‘royal’, reflecting that ancient culture’s attitudes held towards this herb were very noble and sacred.
There are various kinds of basil. The various basils have different scents because the herb has a number of different essential oils which come together in different proportions for various breeds. Cool, huh? The most common basil scents are lemon, clove, camphor and licorice.
Basil is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions. It thrives in strong sunlight. It behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. Keep that in mind if you keep your plant outside!
If you wish to propagate your plant, it can be done in two ways – from seed or from cuttings (with the stems of short cuttings suspended for two weeks or so in water until roots develop).
Yellow leaves towards the bottom of the plant are an indication that the plant has been stressed. Usually this means that it needs less water, or less or more fertilizer.
Don’t be afraid to pick the leaves. Picking the leaves off the plant helps promote growth, largely because the plant responds by converting pairs of leaflets next to the topmost leaves into new stems.
Scientific studies have established that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
Basil leaves are best used fresh and added only during the last few minutes of cooking.
I’ve used basil in some lovely, lovely recipes on this site:
I had never seen basil flowers before in my life so this view really got me.
Yes, I easily become overwhelmed by things like my plant’s first bloom.
It’s good to know that once your stem produces flowers, foliage production stops on that stem, the stem becomes woody, and essential oil production declines. To prevent this, you may pinch off any flower stems before they are fully mature. Because only the blooming stem is so affected, some stems can be pinched for leaf production, while others are left to bloom for decoration or seeds.
I just love basil!
It’s a miraculous plant with so much to offer.
And what about you? Do you already have a pot with fresh basil on your windowsill?
About one blogger whose sedentary lifestyle caused her to move so little that her body started a root the other day!
Okay, not really, but maybe one day…
And no – I have no clue who that blogger is!
The fact is that just recently – when I was writing about my new mint plant and taking pictures of it – I ended up with this sprig.
I felt sorry to just throw it away – it looked so strong and full of life.
That’s when I remembered my Mom who’s a real plant queen. She grows zillions of plants and it was very usual to see a glass filled with water in our house when I was growing up and in that glass there was a sprig of a plant starting new root.
So I thought to myself: ‘Hey, why not give that a try?’
About one week after I’d put the sprig in water I found this!
I guess I don’t even have to explain how astonished, happy and elated I felt after I’d noticed it.
That was the first plant in my life I helped to root.
I know it might sound silly but for some reason it felt terrific.
Maybe it was the prehistoric woman in me jumping for joy.
So it was time to give my new mint plant a proper home.
Mint requires good drainage – this pot seemed to be just perfect.
I filled the pot with some soil that I’d bought in a store and placed the sprig in the middle.
Don’t freak out!
I beg you – please, don’t you go crazy.
I’m just trying to help here.
I had a look at my ‘bigger’ mint plant and noticed that someone was smart and knew that if he/she snipped off the tip of the sprig – just above the leaves – the two leaves would turn into two new branches.
That way the plant gets bushier.
Clever, isn’t it?
I promise to show you this mint some time soon so that you see everything is alright.
Hey, but I have a new sprig now!
That’s one happy ending to this story, isn’t it?
I guess I will give this new mint plant to my Mom as a little thanks for what she’s taught me.
Oh, and if you ever come across a sprig of mint in your drink one day just remember that there’s no need to leave it there or throw it away.
Just bring it home, place it in water and watch the miracle of life unfold.