Basil Winter Indoors?

jackz411October 1, 2006

One of the best things about summer is....fresh basil whenever I want it. Over the years I have brought some of my best plants indoors and within a couple months they are lifeless. First begins after about 2 weeks inside and they just get a paler and paler green and the basil is weak and in time just worthless.

I think alot has to do with the age of the plants and their striving for dormancy and with warmth and light levels. So I am thinking of giving basil another winter go inside bit changing things a bit.

So I am thinking of starting some new basil by seed inside. That should eleminate the age/dormancy factor by using fresh stock. I plan to have 2 groups. Group # 1 will get 14 hours about a foot under a flourescent light. And group # 2 will get 14 hours under a Gro-Light.

Has anyone tried this method and what results did you get?

Vermont gets cold in the winter and my nightime temps inside don't get lower than 55 and daytime is 65-70 and of course the lights will increase the temps a bit. Thanks, Jack

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okay... it should survive... but really, basil is happiest at 80plus temps. :o(

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 9:21PM
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mwagt(z5 NE)

Jack, I'm by no means an expert but my experience with growing under flourescents is that you want to get the plants as close to the light as possible. They can even touch, although I try to keep mine from doing so. I'm using 2 4-ft shoplights with cool white T12's above the plants and CFL's hitting them from the side (in Brooder fixtures). I grew tomatoes last year like this, and I'm growing tomatoes, sweet peppers and Basil this year. So far so good. But a foot below flourescent lights seems way too much distance to me. Now if it was an HID system then yes, that distance would be right.

Just my opinion, Jeff

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 12:20PM
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Jack, I have kept basil in my office over the winter. What I have done is I take cuttings from my best plant and I put them in water, in about 2 weeks I have some roots and then I pot these up. In 4 weeks I have a thriving little plant. I make sure I pinch them once the growth is strong to make them bushy. For light, I am restricted in my office to what comes in the window and the plants seem to like that enough. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 9:02PM
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Many people think that it is a sin to let a plant die but the "Grow @ Kill" method might be best for winter harvesting of annuals like basil. It grows from seed readily and it will thicken into a very nice initial mat of vegetation if given a little light and water. From the 4" stage is where it starts to go downhill.

I'd suggest harvesting the entire flat of thickly planted basil at that 6 week stage and starting all over again in the cycle. The costs (and aggrevation) will be far less for the harvest that you get and the leaves and stems will all be succulent and usable. You can get a pound of sweet basil seed for under $30 and that will last for years with this method of growing. Also only an inch (+/-) of soilless media is sufficient to accomplish the task. One shoplight can keep you going year round in lots of annual herbs.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 3:02PM
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So African Blue Basil is perfectly happy indoors. I brought it back in on September 20th the day following our first frost. I have it in a west facing window with my 3 over-wintering peppers plants.
The following site suggests it is more suited for indoor growing. I can also add that the mother plant of mine is a 4 year old plant that never left the greenhouse at school; it was our stock plant. It did well even thru the blah cloudy weeks on end in winter in the coolest of the 3 houses with a daytime high between 65-70.


Here is a link that might be useful: African Blue Basil

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 10:07PM
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I've spent a year with a balcony facing north. I used a lamp with two flourescent bulbs and plenty of water. Of course, it helped that I had utilities included in my rent, so I didn't have to worry about the costs. It thrived really well.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 3:12PM
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