How To Grow Basil

Growing your own basil plants is one of the most common things to do with herbs, and it’s also one of the simplest. Learn how to grow basil ahead!

The plant known as sweet basil, also known as Ocimum basilicum, is related to mint. When the weather is warm and sunny, all varieties of basil grow easily.

Also check out How to Keep Basil Alive!

More about basil

This well-liked annual herb can be grown easily from seed. Basil can be started indoors in the spring or even from young plants purchased from grocery stores. Its leaves are dark green and ovate in shape, but apart from that, they can be found in a wide variety of sizes and shapes depending on the cultivar. This herb can be found growing in India, South Africa, and Asia but has now become globalized due to human cultivation.

You have to know well there will be multiple harvests throughout the summer. When growing basil from seed, you have a wide variety of flavors, leaf colors, and textures to choose from, ranging from sweet, fragrant Italian varieties to spicy basils from Thailand.

Its leaves are richly green and ovate, but apart from that, depending on the cultivar, they can come in a very wide variety of sizes and shapes. The width of the leaf can be anywhere between 1 and 6 centimeters and the length can range from 3 to 11 centimeters.

The taproot of basil is thick and grows from the plant’s center. Its flowers are dainty and white, and they emerge from a central inflorescence, also known as a spike, which grows from the central stem at the very top of the plant.

photo of a shovel with earth and basil on wooden table

When to grow basil

When the danger of frost has passed, transfer the young basil plants that you have started off indoors to their permanent outdoor locations in the early summer.

Basil is susceptible to frost and experiences optimal growth when grown in warm, arid conditions. If there is even a remote possibility of frost, it acts as though it were an annual.

Basil, on the other hand, is grown in a lot of different countries all over the world because of how popular it is. Countries in the Mediterranean region are included among the production areas.

If you want to know how to grow basil outside, you should first expose the basil plants to the weather and conditions outside for about two weeks before you plant them.

To accomplish this, bring them inside for the night and leave them outside during the day in a protected area that receives some light shade. This should be done every day.

Even though it is best grown outside, basil can be grown successfully indoors in a container. Like the majority of other herbs, it thrives on a sunny windowsill and should be protected from draughts of extremely cold air. If you have access to one, a greenhouse or row cover is ideal.


How to grow basil from seed

The majority of gardeners get a head start on the growing season by starting their basil plants from seed indoors in containers.

Basil can be grown from seeds that were started indoors four to eight weeks before the date of the last expected frost. The basil plant is adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of environmental conditions.

As long as the conditions in which it is grown are the same, you can expect the basil that is growing in a decorative pot inside to do just as well as the basil that is grown outside.

How to plant  basil seedlings

Plant seeds at a depth of no more than 1/8 of an inch. When the seedlings have emerged and have two to three sets of true leaves, you should thin the seedlings so that there is only one plant every ten to twelve inches. The ideal height range for basil is between 30 and 60 centimeters (12 and 12 inches).

Plants should be spaced further apart if you want larger varieties (about 16 to 24 inches). mTomatoes are not only wonderful companions for basil plants in the garden but also on the dinner plate.

There are a few things we need to keep in mind when growing basil, such as:


 Basil will grow best in a location that gets 6 to 8 hours of full sun daily, though it can perform well in partial sun, too.


The soil ought to be moderately fertile, moist, and well-drained all at the same time. In a perfect world, the pH of the soil would fall somewhere in the range of 6.0 to 7.5.

Because of the increased drainage provided by containers or raised beds.

If you intend to use these plants in food preparation, you should plant them in sterile soil, refrain from using insecticides, and cultivate them in a location that is away from driveways and busy streets so that exhaust will not settle on the plants.

Dig and plant

In addition to growing basil from seeds, you can also easily start new plants from basil cuttings by placing them in water.

Take a section of basil that is four inches long and has not yet produced flowers. Within a week, roots will begin to form.

Once it is clear that the basil has developed a robust root system, you can transplant it directly into the garden or a container.

After digging a hole that is six inches deep, position the basil seedling so that the top of the root ball is even with the surrounding soil.

Make use of the transplanter to close any gaps that may exist. After that, use your hands to compact the soil firmly around the basil plants that you transplanted.


Basil needs plenty of water, and then a layer of mulch between one and two inches thick should be applied around its base to help it retain moisture and ward off weeds.

But they do not require as much care as plants grown in other climates. If the plant’s leaves have wilted due to a lack of water, they will recover if the plant is placed in a sunny location and given ample amounts of water.

The presence of yellow leaves toward the bottom of the plant is a sign that the plant has been stressed. In most cases, this indicates that the plant requires either less water or less or more fertilizer.

It is possible to reliably propagate basil from cuttings by suspending the stems of shorter cuttings in water for two weeks, or until roots develop, whichever comes first.

close up of sweet basil

Tips for growing basil:

Growing basil does not require much effort on your part. If you take the necessary precautions, you might even find that you have extra basil that you can dry, freeze, or give away to your friends. The following are some of my favorite basil care tips that will ensure a bountiful harvest:

Water regularly

Basil prefers to have a consistently moist environment and needs approximately 1 inch of water once every 7 days.

If you want your roots to grow down into the soil and keep the soil moist, you should water deeply at least once a week.

The basil that is grown in containers will require additional watering more frequently. When growing basil in a container, your primary objective should be to prevent the soil from drying out. The first thing in the morning is the ideal time to water basil because it is still relatively cool.

Lightly fertilize the soil

The basil plant is a vigorous grower that needs very little fertilization if any at all. In point of fact, if you fertilize your basil plant too heavily, the flavor will be lost.

If you decide to fertilize your basil plants, all that is required is a thin layer of liquid fertilizer applied twice per growing season if you are growing your basil outside.

If you are going to grow basil in a container and you want to fertilize it, all your plants will need is a very dilute liquid solution once every three to four weeks. This is to make up for the nutrients that will be lost because the basil will be watered so frequently.

Making basil bushy 

As soon as your basil plant has two sets of true leaves, you should pinch off the leaves at the very tip of the plant. Your basil will become more bushy and full as a result of this.

Companion planting

The use of this method provides basil with a significant competitive advantage. It could be an old wives’ tale, but many people, including myself, believe that if you plant basil alongside your tomatoes, it will improve the flavor of both of those vegetables.

Oregano, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers are some of my favorite companion plants for basil, but it also goes well with lettuce.

Keep plant under control

Keeping a close eye on your plant will allow you to avoid the phenomenon known as “bolting,” which is another name for “going to seed.”

Once the summer days become consistently hot, basil has a tendency to bolt. You can avoid this by maintaining an adequate moisture level in the soil and by providing some light shade during the hottest parts of the day.

You can also prevent the plant from producing seeds and turning bitter by snipping the flowering stems off of the plant about an inch below the flower.

Trimming, fertilizing, and planting seeds

Once a stem has produced flowers, subsequent growth of foliage on that stem ceases, the stem turns woody, and the amount of essential oil produced by the plant decreases.

Growers of basil may choose to remove any flower stems before they reach full maturity in order to avoid this problem.

Because this condition affects only the stem that is blooming, some stems can be pinched to encourage leaf production, while others can be allowed to bloom for the purpose of decoration or seed production.

The plant responds to the removal of leaves by developing new stems from the pairs of leaflets that are adjacent to the topmost leaves. This is one of the reasons why leaf removal can stimulate plant growth.

After the plant has been allowed to bloom, it may produce seed pods that contain tiny black seeds the following year, which can be collected, stored, and planted again. A basil plant will grow back the following year even if it is allowed to go to seed and die.

Varieties of basil

Because there are so many different kinds of basil to choose from, you could easily devote your entire herb garden to growing nothing but basil if you wanted to. The following are some of my personal favorites:

Sweet basil

One of the most popular kinds of basil is the kind that can be found in most grocery stores. This variety has leaves that are a medium green color and have a shape that is slightly rounded.

Thai basil

The Thai variety of basil, which has leaves that are more pointed and smaller, grows the same as any other kind.

However, the finished product is spicier basil that keeps its flavor well enough to be used in stir fries. The violet flowers are not only stunning but also edible.

Purple basil

Even though this variety doesn’t have a particularly robust flavor, it lends a stunning burgundy hue to both your garden and the food you prepare with it.

Green ruffles

This variety bears no resemblance to the common basil in appearance. The ruffled leaves have a delicate flavor that is a nice complement to salads.

Spicy globe

This dwarf, clump-forming variety of basil is ideal for growing in containers and other confined spaces. The flavor of the leaves is intense, despite the fact that they are smaller than the leaves of other varieties of basil.

Basil diseases

Basil is susceptible to a number of plant pathogens, any one of which has the potential to destroy the crop and reduce the yield.

It doesn’t take long for younger basil plants to succumb to the soil-borne fungal disease known as fusarium wilt.

Pythium damping-off has the potential to be fatal to seedlings. Gray mold, which is caused by Botrytis cinerea, is a common foliar disease of basil. This mold can cause infections after the plant has been harvested and has the potential to kill the entire plant.

The fungi belonging to the genus Colletotrichum are responsible for the black spots that appear on the basil foliage.

The downy mildew disease, which is caused by Peronospora belbahrii and was first reported in Italy in 2004, is a significant disease. 2007 and 2008 were the years that saw reports of it in the United States

Bacteria such as Novosphingobium species can be found on basil, but they are not harmful.

Basil oil deep-cleanse

Basil is an excellent oily skin cleanser. It removes pore-clogging dirt and contaminants. Make a basil, sandalwood, and rose water paste. Apply the paste and wait 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Basil’s potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities could help prevent acne.

Basil oil may reduce depression and anxiety. The herb is thought to activate neurons that regulate hormones that promote happiness and vitality.

Diabetes management

Basil slows blood sugar release, which is important for diabetics. It has a low glycemic index. Basil’s essential oil reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels, a diabetes risk factor.

Healthy gut

Basil helps restore pH levels and feeds intestinal microorganisms. Gut flora boosts immunity and digestion.

gloved hands holding potted basil

Calms stomach

Basil’s volatile oil is used to alleviate indigestion and other stomach issues. Basil reduces bloating and water retention. It can heal acid reflux and stimulate appetite.

Other gardening articles:

  1. How to Grow Carrots
  2. Dark Colored Vegetables For The Garden
  3. Benefits of a Community Garden
  4. How To Grow Green Onion
  5. Winterizing Raised Garden Beds
  6. Easy Fruits And Vegetables To Grow

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