How Long do Basil Plants Live? All You Need to Know

Growing basil is a satisfactory experience. With adequate care, this herb will thrive and provide you with plenty of leaves to use in the kitchen to add a delicate flavor to your meals. And the best thing about it is that it isn’t even hard to grow.

Beginners and people with little time to spend in their gardens should consider adding this versatile herb to their collection. It is resistant to most diseases and not susceptible to many pests. So, if you know what to give to it, you’ll have no issues growing this plant.

How Long do Basil Plants Live?

Basil usually loves plenty of sunshine, does well in warm weather, likes moist soils, and needs some nutrition to thrive. Don’t forget to prune your plant to allow adequate airflow and minimize the risk of fungal infections or other problems that might affect your herb.

Not many people know that even if basil is a common ingredient in Mediterranean dishes, its native environment isn’t Southern Europe. Instead, basil comes from Southeast Asia, which explains its preference for moist and warm environments.

The plant grows fast and isn’t fussy: as long as you give it what it needs, it will provide you with plenty of leaves. But how long do basil plants live? If you need an answer to this question, you’ve landed in the right place.

How Long Do Basil Plants Live?

How Long do Basil Plants Live?

We mentioned how easy taking care of basil is, but how long can you expect your plant to last?

Sadly, basil is an annual plant, meaning it won’t survive for more than one growing season. You can plant it in the spring and get fresh leaves all summer. Of course, to boost leaf production, you’ll have to locate your basil under a sunny spot and give it consistent watering. Doing so will allow your plant to thrive. But even with the most attentive care, your basil plant will only last for one season: you’ll have to replant it each year to keep getting harvests.

So we can say that a basil plant only lives for about five to six months, even in warm climates. If you live in a cold region, you might experience a shorter lifespan.

Basil Plant Lifecycle

How Long do Basil Plants Live?

Basil is a fast-growing herb. You can plant it from seeds and expect to get the first sprout in about a week. With proper care, you’ll see leaves in less than three weeks. If you plant your basil in a pot, make sure the container is large enough to support its growth. Using a small one might halt your plant’s growth due to the roots’ inability to access nutrients and water. Consider transplanting your seedlings to a proper container about six weeks after germination.

So, as we already said in this guide, if you give your basil adequate care, you’ll start getting leaves to harvest two months from planting your seeds. Don’t forget to pinch leaves off and prune your plant to encourage healthy growth and boost leaf production. Remove flowers as soon as you notice them. Your plants will eventually start dying when the temperatures drop (at about five months if you grow your plant outdoors, or six months if you keep your plant indoors). Learn more about this in the following section.

Can You Do Something to Extend your Plant’s Lifespan?

How Long do Basil Plants Live?

The truth is that even under the best growing conditions, your basil will die in the winter. And don’t expect it to grow back each year. But if you can replicate the warmth and humidity these plants get in their native environments, your basil might last slightly longer.

For starters, you must water your plants at least twice per week. The soil must be consistently moist (but not wet): always feel it with your finger before adding extra moisture to avoid overwatering (which might cause severe damage to your basil). If you planted your basil in a pot, the amount of water your plant requires is slightly less. Ensure your container has drainage holes to avoid root rotting and fungal diseases. And when you water your plant, ensure you avoid pouring water on its leaves: it might cause infections or result in mold or mildew.

The ideal temperature for growing basil is between 70 and 90F. If you live in a cold region, consider moving your plant indoors. But don’t forget about sunlight! These herbs need about six hours of direct sun to thrive and grow dense. Still, if you live in a hot region, where the sunshine can hit harshly during the afternoon, you should consider protecting your basil leaves from sunburn.

If you would like to have basil around every year, propagate it. Basil is a prolific seed producer: take advantage of that!

Related Article: What Herbs Can be Planted Together? (Companion Planting)