Basil - could it be overwintered?

rina_August 26, 2012

I checked the Herbs forum, there is some info there. I see that basil is a true annual?

Did anyone here tried to overwinter it?

(I am in colder zone...)

I think it could be started from seed anytime. Also from cuttings. Just wanting to get it 'fast' - rather than waiting for seedlings to grow.

I am thinking of large-leaved basil (it may be called Genovese or something similar).

Al, I think I did see your basil bonsai. How long did it live?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There are some perennial basils that do live a long time, and these could be over-wintered indoors under lights or in a sunroom, and are even used for herbal bonsai.

Mine lived until the frost got it. I have another this year, but a cat/squirrel/other broke off a strategic branch, so it doesn't look much like a bonsai. I'll try for a picture - I was going to take a picture that shows the progress of that fused ficus we're talking about at houseplants.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 12:46PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I've tried. Mostly lemon and genovese basil. Some made it into late December. But they all died.

This year I have let one plant go fully to seed to see what happens. The result (besides a happy, seedy plant) is a forest of little baby basils. These guys are ridiculously easy to start from seed. Save seeds.

If you have grow lights, you might start some in November. Then start more in Feb/Mar and see where it takes you.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Al, thanks.

DM, that's what I thought...I would like to have some to use thru winter months.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 2:48PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I just pruned this a few days ago - much fuller prior to that. I'll try to remember to take another shot before it freezes.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:06PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

another look. There was a low branch on the right growing horizontally that got broke off. ;-(

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:08PM
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You can, it just doesn't make much sense to. It pretty much requires supplemental lighting. Too easy to start from seed. Especially with the big leaf basils, the flavor will never again match that of the young plant.

I overwinter holy basil often, and many Indian households do so as well. It's never all that happy indoors, but it does survive. A lot of them end up looking bonsai-esque.

The other two I've successfully overwintered are spicy globe basil and boxwood basil, under grow lights. Both were apparently bred to maintain flavor even after flowering. Neither were super happy about it, even under grow lights... I suspect humidity was the issue. I ate from them during the winter and then tossed them in the spring.

I'm in Houston, TX though :D

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Thank you for posting these. Looks like also small-leaved one.


Thank you for the tips. I never grew the holly basil. And the boxwood basil sounds interesting.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:52PM
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