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Posted by karena 
November 12, 2017 06:48AM
I grow basil outdoors in pots because I don't have a lot of garden space, and it's always disappointing - never very lush, and usually gets attacked by insects. I'm in Nelson, so climate isn't an issue. Any hints from people who grow it successfully in pots would be gratefully received!
Re: basil
November 12, 2017 08:13AM
Give it lots of food and water. Tomato food will be suitable. And the more sun and heat the better.
Re: basil
November 12, 2017 09:39AM
Hi Karena, don't know if this is of use, since I'm in Adelaide, but on our local ABC Radio gardening show this morning, the gardening expert (Malcolm Campbell) told a caller that basil needs high humidity. I've grown it successfully in between tomato plants and thinking about it now, the humidity would have been higher there due to watering.

(And I used to live in Aniseed Valley, in another life winking smiley )

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2017 09:40AM by Heather F.
Re: basil
November 17, 2017 01:33AM
Thanks for these suggestions - I'm a bit wary about using fertiliser (other than slow-release granules) in pots, but will try it. Heather - if you were in a frost-prone part of the Aniseed Valley you would have done very well to grow basil outdoors at all early in the season! We've had lingering cold nights, and I think that could be the problem at present - blackened patches on leaves. But I'll persevere!
Re: basil
November 17, 2017 08:16AM
Hi Karena - no I never grew basil in Aniseed Valley but I grow it here in Adelaide. And yup the frosts in the Valley were amazing - we had to leave a tap running slightly in the middle of winter sometimes so the pipes didn't freeze! Good luck with your basil.
Re: basil
November 18, 2017 03:39AM
I use liquid Nitrosol for veges and herbs in pots with no problems at all. My suspicion is that granular is probably too slow acting for such a fast growing plant as basil.

Is your pot either too big or too small? While it doesn't like being dry, it doesn't like being soggy either. Failing all that, do you have a sunny spot inside you could put it? My mother always failed at growing basil outside (in Auckland), but she had a certain corner of her kitchen that it just thrived in. Super sunny, very hot and of course no wind.

You may well already do this, but do you pinch off the tops when it is 5-7cm tall? And when you take some to use, cut it right down at a set of leaves about 5-7cm from the ground. This allows it to bush out from the base rather than a few tall stems.
Re: basil
November 23, 2017 07:35AM
I might try growing it inside! For the moment, I have it in a good-sized pot in a very sunny position, and I'm watering it with Nitrosol as I do for other pot plants (indoor and outdoor) Fingers crossed!
Re: basil
November 29, 2017 01:09AM
I also have difficulty growing basil here in Wanaka. I planted in pots and moved the pots about so that they would get maximum sun and would be out of the sometimes awful winds here. I think the nights are too cold where I live and the leaves, despite all that care, always turn leathery. I have planted up a pot and move it around during the day to follow the sun but bring the pot inside at night. We've had some really hot days here lately and the nights have not been too cold either, but I just can't get basil to grow the way I could up in Auckland. This will be my last shot at trying to grow basil.
Re: basil
November 29, 2017 09:19AM
Hi Chris & Karena - I wonder if something like this would help. Such a shame that basil doesn't want to 'play ball' where you are; to me it's what summer smells like.
There are a lot of upsides to living in a cooler climate though - today here in Adelaide we had 39.7d. Just ghastly, and the forecast for tomorrow is 34d and increasing humidity, with an overnight 'low' of 24. Even though there is air con, these temps very draining and impossible to do much in the garden except water.

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