Basil is a culinary powerhouse that’s used to top pizzas, pasta sauces and salads. But this horticultural treasure exhibits holistic potential that researchers are only beginning to tap into. In fact, this herb can help deter key cannabis pests and promote a bigger yield of weed flowers. Plus, it’s a great companion plant that bolsters other vegetables and herbs in the garden.
The aroma of basil releases insect-repelling terpenes that help keep aphids away from other plants in the garden, such as tomatoes and peppers. It also keeps mosquitoes, squash bugs and carrot rust fly maggots at bay. These unwanted visitors are repelled by basil’s terpenes, which they perceive as an unpleasant smell.
Basil is an easy-to-grow herb that does well in indoor or outdoor gardens, even in containers. It thrives in warm, full sun with moderately fertile soil that’s moist but well-draining. Avoid soil that’s overly sandy or acidic. Basil needs regular watering, especially during its first two weeks in the garden.
Like chamomile, basil accumulates calcium and magnesium in its leaves and stems, then re-releases those nutrients into the soil when it dies. This benefit isn’t as significant as chamomile’s, but it helps to improve the condition of your soil. Adding a light layer of organic mulch such as grass clippings, straw or newspaper also helps to keep the soil in good shape. Like other herbs, basil grows best when planted in a location that gets 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. It also performs well when grown in containers and raised beds.