Does Basil Need Full Sun? (EXPLAINED)

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Does Basil Need Full Sun

Basil typically thrives in warm-weather climates but can grow anywhere that the temperature stays above 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. But just how much sun does it need to reach its full growth potential? Does it need full sun, or can it tolerate a little shade? Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions to make your basil grow smoother and easier.

Does Basil Need Full Sun?

basil by the window

Basil prefers getting plenty of sun and usually does best in full-sun conditions. However, basil is also a heart plant that can thrive in many conditions. After all, it might not always be possible to give it full sun at all times, and you may need to plant some in partial shade throughout your home or yard.

Try to put your basil in areas where it gets as much sun as possible, minimizing the shade around it. Doing so can help to mitigate its potential growth issues by providing it with plenty of UV light. Typically, basil does not do well in cold weather and, as temperatures fall, it needs full sun to stay healthy.

If you move your basil indoors during winter weather to keep it healthy, you still need to place it in areas where it can get the most sun possible. However, it is vital to make sure that it gets just enough sun because too much may also be a problem for basil if you’re not careful.

Don’t take all that to mean that basil is a sensitive or difficult plant to grow. Quite the contrary! Basil is pretty hardy and should thrive without much maintenance, even indoors. However, it is an annual, which means it has a pretty specific growing season during which it thrives.

During these summer months, your basil will get plenty of sun and heat and stay stronger and healthier. It will need very little maintenance, beyond occasional watering, to thrive. However, outside of this season, you may find your basil suffering or needing an adjustment in an indoor growing environment.

The video below is very helpful:

How Much Sun Does Basil Need?

Outdoor basil definitely prefers at least 6-8 hours of full sun every day in temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Indoor basil will need up to six hours of sunlight every day, though you can use a UV light for longer (up to 8-10 hours) if you cannot give it full sun inside your home.

That said, basil can also do surprisingly well in partial shade, depending on the temperature. Typically, basil needs relatively warm temperatures but may struggle in extreme situations. For example, basil in 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit weather may get damaged or even dry up a little in this heat.

In these locations, you might want to place your basil in a shadier area to minimize their potential damage. People in more moderate or temperate regions should give their basil as much direct sun as possible. When temperatures do sore up to 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit, you may want to put up shades.

Sun shades go over the top of plants and help to provide partial or complete shade. However, Basil plants still need some sun, even in a shady environment. Partial shade works best here. When growing indoors, you can place blinds in front of your windows and open them slightly so that some sun and shade hits your plants.

Can Basil Get Too Much Sun?

pots of basil by the window

As mentioned above, basil may experience some problems when placed in direct sunlight for too long. Likewise, when the temperatures get too high for you to tolerate outside, your plants may end up experiencing a similar reaction. Remember: they react to environmental changes much like animals in some ways.

For example, excessive heat may cause a reaction in basil and other plants similar to stress in animals and humans. Higher temperatures will cause plants to need more moisture and water, as their leaves will be more likely to dry up in such temperatures. Basil, like other herbs, is particularly prone to this problem.

This term is known as transpiration and indicates a situation in which drying leaves become weaker, more brittle, and prone to insect and pest infestations. This brittleness may even kill the leaves and cause them to crumble off of your basil and fall to the ground, left to die where they fall.

Even worse, the extra heat could even cause the plant’s cells to deteriorate or die, which could spread through the rest of the plant’s body. In effect, your basil could slowly dry up and die in excessive heat and sun, leaving you with a plant that may be dried or ground up for later use.

Thankfully, it should take quite some time before this problem affects your plants. It won’t happen in extreme sun and temperature during one day and may not become noticeable until after a week or longer. However, if you’re uncertain about this situation, you need to check your leaves to see how they’re holding up.

For example, signs of brown or crumbling leaves may indicate that your basil is suffering and needs to be moved. However, before seeing these symptoms, pay attention to drooping leaves that lack perkiness or health. When leaves droop, they lack water and may be on their way towards transpiration.

Move your plants to a new area to avoid this problem, transplanting them to shadier areas outside or into your home. Keep the spot where you originally planted them open in case you want to add them back into this area at any time. Doing so gives you more adaptability as well.

Does Basil Need the Sun to Grow?

basil sprouts

Basil is not a complete-shade plant and needs sunlight to grow and be healthy. It is like most other plants (with rare exceptions, like moss or fungus) that use a combination of air, sun, water, and soil to grow. Plants utilize photosynthesis to create food using sunlight, food that helps them grow smoothly.

As basil is a particularly sun-friendly plant, it needs a heavy exposure to sunlight to grow early in its life. While the seed will thrive under the ground without direct sunlight, it needs some UV rays on the soil’s surface to help it grow properly and reach a strong level of maturity.

Once the basil erupts from the soil, its early expansion will be fueled by plenty of direct sun. During this period, it may need more direct sun than average to help it grow more effectively. Again, though, that may depend on the plant, as some seeds or growths will react differently to stimuli.

While your basil expands, you can change the amount of sun it gets to help keep it maturing correctly. Don’t forget to water and fertilize it, as needed, to keep it healthy. These influences can also impact how well your basil grows and must be appropriately balanced to keep your basil healthy.

Can Basil Grow Without Direct Sunlight?

healthy indoor herb garden

Basil may grow without direct sunlight but not as well as it does with it. You’ll typically find that basil in partial shade doesn’t produce the kind of solid and healthy growths you get in direct sun. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your basil in these types of shadier positions.

Just understand that your basil won’t reach the kind of height and width that you’d get otherwise. In some situations, though, this may be a good thing. For instance, shadier areas may be better if you have limited room to grow your basil because the plant will grow a little smaller than expected.

Understand, though, that plant growth is not dictated just by the amount of sun it receives. Soil quality and water availability also affect its development. For instance, basil growing in rich soil with shady conditions may thrive more than basil planted in poor soil with direct sun exposure.

This information is crucial because too many planters worry only about sun exposure when planting. While basil does grow best in direct sunlight, you must make sure that its other growing conditions are maximized, as well, to keep it as strong and healthy as possible for your growing needs.

What is the Best Place to Keep a Basil Plant?

indoor basil and rosemary plants

Basil is best positioned in well-drained and nutrient-rich soil with pH levels between 6.0-7.5. Organic fertilizers can help change this level, as needed, to keep your plants healthier. The soil should be somewhat moist but should avoid excessive water, which may cause root rot in your basil.

Try to position your plants where they can get at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. The south side of a home is often a good option because it will get plenty of sun. This position is good outdoors and indoors, mainly if you’re growing your basil in your home’s windows.

If you’re growing indoors away from windows, you need to install strong UV or fluorescent lights that can provide your plants with enough light to grow smoothly. Also, try to keep them in warm areas with temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Specialized grow rooms may be required.

Don’t take that to mean that basil is hard to grow indoors. Most people find it reasonably simple to keep them healthy. However, they may need regular repotting as they grow. Please put them in new pots when the roots seem too big for the current pot. Never trim or cut roots, as this can heavily damage the plant.

Will Basil Grow in Shade?

basil growing under shade

Trying to grow basil in the shade (both full and partial) may seem challenging. However, you can plant basil along the east or west of your home (where it will receive lots of shade) if it gets at least six hours of sun in these areas. Even if these spots are partially shady, the sun landing around the area still provides some heat for the plant. In this way, partial shade may be a good option for people in scorching climates.

Check how much sun these areas get and try to position your basil so that it is close to the edge of the shaded regions of your home or in partial shade. While you can grow basil in full shade, the challenge is often too great to make it worth your time. However, if your average temperature is well above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, your basil may grow just fine here.

Protect Your Basil From Excessive Heat

As you can see, basil is a pretty hardy plant that should do well in various sun conditions. However, if you’re smart about how you balance its heat intake and other factors, you should minimize potential problems. Think of your basil plant as you would an animal to get the best results. They’ll need some sun to thrive, as does an animal (for heat purposes), but too much may be damaging to their health.