Basil starts to sprout its first blossoms as early as July. Contrary to popular belief, basil does not become poisonous during flowering. Instead, hobby gardeners now have a variety of options to choose from. You can find out what these are here.
Prevent flowering for a long herbal enjoyment
With its flowers, the herbal plant attracts busy insects as pollinators. In this way, basil pursues its central goal of multiplying as numerously as possible. Only pollinated flowers can develop seeds, which turn into new plants after germination. Therefore, the basil invests all of its energy in the flower, which is at the expense of the aroma in the leaves.
Since flowering basil simultaneously stops growing and gradually dies, experienced herb lovers consistently counteract this process. The following measures prevent or at least delay flowering:
- Harvest basil regularly
- do not pluck individual leaves, but shoots that are 5 centimeters (2 inches) long
- leafless shoots die hopelessly
- leave at least 2 eyes on it when cutting whole branches
Harvest at the latest when the first buds appear. Cutting the shoot tips also contributes to further branching and a bushy habit. What is not used fresh in the kitchen is suitable for freezing or drying.
Although flowering basil is still edible, it tastes unpleasantly bitter. By harvesting the branches in good time, experienced hobby gardeners can preserve the wonderful aroma.
part of the mint family, flowering basil is a feast for the eyes in the bed and on the balcony. Depending on the variety, white, pink, or violet flowers unfold. if that’s not enough, the flowers are edible.
Since their taste comes across as slightly bitter and less aromatic than the leaves on the tongue, gourmets use basil flowers to decorate salads or to garnish hot dishes.
In addition, flowering basil offers a delicious variant for the kitchen, as it provides the most important ingredient for the unique basil blossom vinegar. To do this, place 80 flowers in 200 milliliters of white wine vinegar and add 15 leaves of basil and peppercorns for taste. After four weeks, strain through a fine sieve and fill into a bottle – done.
Let basil bloom – how to harvest the seeds
If you can’t get enough of the enchanting blossoms of the basil, let nature take its course. Blossoming basil develops rich seed heads in the course of autumn, which are ideally suited for propagation by seed.
After all the flowers have withered, the 1-2 millimeter small fruits ripen within the calyx. Pick off the withered leaves first. Then harvest the seeds like this:
- wipe off the dried flowers over a bowl with your fingers
- Rub the flowers between your hands
- sieve the mixture of flower remains and seeds repeatedly
- Pour the black seeds onto a plate and leave to dry for a few days
Keep the harvested seeds safe in a dark screw-top jar in a cool basement until sowing next spring.
This is how the sowing succeeds
In April, the time window opens for sowing the seeds collected by hand, which flowering basil produced the previous year. Since basil does not tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees, sowing behind glass is the only option. Basil should not be planted outside before mid-May. How to properly sow basil:
- fill small growing pots with peat sand, seed-soil or a similar lean, permeable substrate
- slightly moisten the soil and sprinkle the fine seeds on it
- as a light germinator, simply press the seed lightly with a small board
- Wait for germination in a partially shaded location at 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68-77 F)
The cotyledons erupt from the seeds within 5 to 14 days. Any cover has now done its job. When the seedlings have reached a height of 5 centimeters (2 inches), they are pricked out.
Now spoil your pupils for the first time with a heavily diluted dose of liquid fertilizer.By mid-May, they will develop into strong young plants ready to be planted out in beds or pots.
On perennial basil varieties, the flowering does not affect the aroma of the leaves. Flowering basil in this case does not stop growing and does not develop seed heads. You can therefore enjoy the pink and purple flowers and at the same time harvest substantial shoots. Overwintering indoors is also possible.