You probably think I’m one of those green-fingered-people and I was born being one. Well, unfortunately I wasn’t. And last week I was once again confronted with my own short-comings. We were in the Netherlands for a short week. We stayed at my mother during the week and stopped by Amsterdam to see my friend Marianne and her family and had a small but tasty bbq.

Shortly after our arrival I felt green of envy! Why you ask? Because Marianne +co are the proud keepers of a few of these basil bushes that they have kept up themselves. Have you seen anything like this before? I believe some were 1,5 years old! My basil always dies on me, like it were an one-day-fly. Generally in a day or two. Whatever I do. Wherever I place it. Yes, it’s a true tragedy.

how to grow basil

basil growth

And so while I was complaining they told me – probably out of pity – what they do with their plants. Their secrets. I’m sharing it here with you. Without their permission. But they are good people, so I think they are ok with it. Here is what they do:

  • they place the herbs in a new bigger pot with new soil on arrival
  • they pick the leaves from the top part of the plant, this gives room for new shoots to grow from the “armpits” of the plant (have a look on the picture below to see how the shoots are picked – just above the armpits with new shoots)
  • they take away all the flowers that try to grow on the plant
  • whenever they give their orchids some extra liquid compost, they give the last part to the basil plants
  • they keep the plant in a light (indirect light), dry (sheltered) and warm place (in winter inside, in summer outside)
  • they water the plant very regularly, basil loves water

basil growing guide

Basilically, this is it! Nothing more or less. Sounds doable! I listened carefully to their advise and decided I was going to try it again here with two new plants. I bought two organic basil plants this weekend. And I’ve already placed them in bigger pots and added some liquid compost (not for orchids, but for veggies). Besides that, they are now placed in a sunny, warm and dry area (aka outside). Will I be the proud owner of two gigantic basil bushes in a year? I’m keeping my not-so-green fingers crossed…

tiny basil plants

In the meantime, while you are waiting to see this thing grow as I am, please visit Marianne and Gijs’ creative FB page where they show how they are slowly redoing a beautiful oldtimer.


Not so sure about gardening? Need some more help? Have a look at these inspiring books: 

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