The Q&A Archives: Wintering-over Basil

Question: My Basil did very well last year. The stalk was the size of a small shrub and very woody. I would like to try and winter my Basil over. I was thinking of cutting it back and insulating it from the cold. If I do this will it come back in the spring? The Temperature can get quite cold. -10 to -20F for short periods of time.

Answer: Basil is a tender annual. It will continue to produce leaves as long as you keep the flower stalks cut down, and it doesn't experience a frost. Basil can be kept growing under greenhouse conditions - but if you cut it down and even if you insulate the roots, it may not live through the winter. Without leaves to manufacture food for the roots they will wither and die, as will they if exposed to cold temperatures. Keeping that in mind, if you'd like to try to keep your basil producing, go ahead and experiment.

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