In order to prevent its stems and leaves from wilting or drooping, basil, a herbaceous plant, needs a steady supply of moisture in the soil as well as continual transpiration for structural support (known as turgor pressure).
Basil needs to be watered as often as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy. If the soil dries up, basil wilts. Basil should typically be watered at least once every three to four days to stay healthy. If the temperature or amount of sunlight rises, reduce the frequency of watering to maintain soil moisture.
Depending on whether basil is grown in pots or in garden soil, on how much sun it receives, and on your climate, you may need to water it more or less.
Here is a handy description of how frequently to water basil to keep it healthy and prevent root rot brought on by excessive watering:
|Basil Requirements:||Basil: When to Water:|
|In pots and other containers, basil||Every three to four days, give the base a nice soak with water dribbling out the bottom.|
|Garden soil with basil:||at least once per week, drink water. Mulch helps to hold moisture. If there isn’t any rain or it’s hot outside, increase watering to every three or four days.|
|Basil inside:||Water the soil once every four or five days, making sure it’s moist but not soggy.|
|In hot weather, basil||If your plants are in pots and it’s very hot outside, water them once every one to two days. If it’s dry out, water your garden every two to three days. To keep the soil consistently moist and prevent the basil from withering, check the soil moisture to a depth of a few fingers, and modify how frequently you water.|
|In cold, cloudy, or moderate conditions, basil:||Water basil roughly once a week when it’s cool and raining. If you are unclear whether to water, probe the soil with your finger to feel for moisture. Give the basil a thorough bath even if it feels barely moist.|
|seedlings of basil:||Every other day, water basil seedlings in the morning. If it’s hot outside and the soil is clearly drying out, water thoroughly each day.|
In order to promote roots to grow and settle in the soil, which boosts the basil’s hardiness and resilience, it is crucial to thoroughly moisten the soil when watering basil.
Always give basil a morning watering to replenish the plant’s water reserves before a possibly hot and dry day.
The size of the pots or containers in which they are planted, whether the soil has been amended and mulched with moisture-retentive compost, and whether you are watering seedlings or established plants are some crucial elements in basil care that impact how frequently basil plants should be watered.
For more information on how to water basil for various situations, keep reading…
Table of Contents
Watering Basil in Pots and Containers
Basil grows well in pots and containers because they have ideal drainage conditions, and you can manage the soil profile by planting basil in high-quality compost, which helps to retain water as well (well watered plants are crucial for the quality of the flavour and aroma of basil leaves).
In the spring and summer, water basil plants in pots and containers about once every three days to maintain consistently moist soil and prevent wilting.
However, basil grows best in full light and produces the most flavorful, aromatic, and leafy plants. On extremely hot days, the pots can dry out rapidly, which can make the basil wilt.
The following actions can reduce the likelihood of the soil drying out:
- In hot weather, keep an eye on the soil moisture by probing down to a finger’s deep to see whether there is any moisture there. Give the basil a good bath as soon as the soil starts to feel a little dry so that water trickles out of the drainage holes in the base of the pot. It is simple to determine how often to water basil plants so that the plant thrives in your climate by keeping the soil continuously moist.
- Basil plant in a bigger pot. Although it may grow in small pots, basil prefers containers that are at least 12 inches across. You shouldn’t need to water your basil as regularly because a larger pot has more soil and can hold onto moisture better. Basil will typically wilt as a symptom of stress in small pots because they dry up too soon in direct sunlight.
- Basil should be planted in clay, terracotta, or ceramic containers rather than plastic or metal ones. In tiny plastic pots, basil purchased from stores or garden centers is frequently planted. Compared to ceramic, clay, and terracotta pots, thinner plastic and metal pots are better at conducting solar heat. As a result of water evaporation from the soil and rapid soil temperature increase in full light, your basil plant will wilt since its roots won’t have enough hydration.
Basil should only need to be watered once every three to four days in the summer, with a good soak, and should always be planted in a well-sized pot made of clay, terracotta, or ceramic. If there have been a lot of cloudy days and some rain, basil may only need to be watered once every seven days.
(If your basil plant is withering, check out my post on why this happens and how to fix it.)
Top Tip: Basil needs soil that is moist but drains well to avoid soggy soil and too much water around the roots, which can lead to issues like root rot.
Basil should be grown in a pot with drainage holes so that any excess water can drain out in order to keep this equilibrium. Avoid using a drip tray or setting your basil plant on a saucer, as these can collect extra water and prevent the soil from draining properly, leaving the soil soggy.
Put a paper towel under the basil plant if you’re growing it inside to let the water drain and stop it from running out and getting on your window sill or furniture.
The best defense against slugs devouring basil is to use pots and containers. If you want a real solution to avoid slugs from eating your basil plants in pots, read this article!
Watering Basil in Garden Soil
To preserve its structure and to guarantee a healthy plant, basil should be watered twice weekly in hot weather and once weekly in cooler weather if it is planted in rich soil that has been treated with lots of compost to retain moisture and the area surrounding it has a good layer of mulch.
If you apply more compost, leaf mold, or manure to amend the soil before planting basil, there will be more moisture accessible around the roots of the plant, making it more drought- and heat-tolerant.
To keep the soil moist after watering and to slow down the rate at which water evaporates from the soil on hot, sunny days, spread a 1-inch layer of compost as a mulch around the basil plants.
To promote healthy root development, always give the basil a deep bath at the roots.
Basil should be watered carefully and regularly if you have slow-draining soil, such as thick clay, because this can lead to root rot. Alternatively, you can put the basil in a container with compost that drains well.
Basil needs wet soil, like that found in rich compost, but root rot can occur in slow-draining, soggy soil.
(Read my post on how to save a basil plant from death.)
Watering Basil Indoors
To keep the soil moist, water basil plants indoors as frequently as every four or five days. Basil needs full sun, so place the pot by a window sill that receives plenty of it. Also, make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom so that any excess water may drain.
Give your indoor basil a good soak if you notice the soil is looking dry at the surface. If the soil is damp but perhaps drying out, do a finger-deep moisture check.
In contrast, rooms with air conditioning or drafts will require more frequent watering of about every three to four days to prevent the basil from wilting. Certain rooms of the house, such as the kitchen, tend to be more humid, which reduces the rate of evaporation from the soil and keeps the plant hydrated.
Additionally, smaller pots dry up more quickly since they can’t hold as much moisture. Basil should be watered in tiny pots every two to three days, or it can ideally be planted in a larger pot (about 12 inches across), which will increase the basil’s health and root development and encourage it to produce more leaves.
Watering Basil Seedlings
As with all basil plants, the goal is to keep the soil moist without letting it get swampy, as this can cause fungus and root rot.
It is more crucial to carefully monitor the soil’s hydration when watering seedlings than it is to follow basic watering guidelines because there are several factors that can cause the soil to dry out or stay moist.
Generally speaking, as long as the soil is well-draining yet retains moisture, watering basil seedlings once every two days is the ideal practice.
Basil seedlings are more susceptible to drought than established plants since their roots haven’t fully formed. To prevent this, keep the top few inches of the soil continuously damp and water in the mornings to give the basil seedlings a water boost before a warm, sunny Spring or Summer day.
- Water basil every three to four days to maintain consistently moist soil. In hot weather with intense sunlight, water basil once every one to two days to make sure it gets enough water.
- Keep an eye on the soil and modify how often you water basil plants based on the state of your garden.
- Since pots and containers can heat up in the sun, they frequently need more water. Avoid using metal or plastic pots since they carry more heat and dry up more quickly. Instead, choose a larger container that is about 12 inches across to assist keep moisture in the soil.
- Since indoor basil cannot get water from the environment, it needs to be routinely watered once every three to four days. If the soil becomes dry, the frequency of watering should be increased.
- Since the roots of basil seedlings have not yet formed properly, they need moisture virtually every day to keep the surface of the soil moist.
- Use a mulch to help garden soil retain moisture once each week and add compost as needed.
- Basil should be planted in pots with drainage holes in the base since it enjoys soil that is damp but not soggy and that drains well.
How do you water basil seedlings?
Basil prefers to keep moist, and it needs about one inch of water per week. To keep the soil moist and the roots developing deep, water deeply at least once a week. In pots, basil will require more frequent watering. When growing basil in a container, you want to avoid the soil drying out.
Should I water basil seeds?
However, it is important to continue monitoring with soil tests. If you’ve just planted basil, you should give the seedlings water every two days, or even more frequently if the weather is too hot and the soil is drying up too quickly.
How much water should I water my basil plant?
Providing water to mature basil plants The bottom should be chilly and somewhat damp, while the top should feel cool and dry. In the ground, this is more difficult to determine, although in full sun environments with well-draining soil, the plant need heavy watering at least once per week.
Can you overwater basil seeds?
Watering basil plants is essential. Both young and established plants need regular watering, but they can’t be allowed to get too wet. It is a narrow line that cannot be passed because overwatering would result in mildew and rot on the plant stems.