How To Grow Basil

How to grow basil in the ground or in a pot. Growing basil from seed or cuttings.

Basil plant care is simple. Give it plenty of sun and moist soil. Top dress it with a handful of organic compost once in a while. Protect your basil plant from the cold and grey mold and it will enhance your meals all summer long.



Growing Basil From Seed

African Blue basil plant in flower.

  • Cinnamon basil
  • Genovese basil
  • Purple basil
  • Italian basil
  • Thai sweet basil
  • African blue basil
  • Greek mini basil
  • These are just a few of the basil varieties available. Most nurseries only carry one or two types. If you want to sample the myriad flavors of these aromatic plants, then growing basil from seed is the way to go.

    Basil seed is small but easy to handle. Start them in 4 inch pots of any good potting mix. Plant several seeds per pot. Keep them moist and warm. The seeds will sprout in a week or so. Now comes the tricky part.

    Be very careful about the moisture level once the seedlings emerge. Basil is highly susceptible to botrytis or grey mold. Commercial growers suppress the disease with fungicides. This is why we want to grow our own basil in the first place--to avoid eating herbs that have been sprayed.

    This is how to grow basil without chemical pesticides:

    1. Do not reuse anything. I plant the seeds in Styrofoam cups. Then I transplant the seedlings into new pots. This beats the heck out of trying to sterilize a used pot.

    2. Start a few extra pots. If the plants become infected you will know it because the stems will turn brown. You may even see mold growing on them.

      Barrel the whole thing. If you reuse that pot without sterilizing it, the next plant you put in it will become infected. Not all plants are vulnerable to grey mold but why take the chance. If none of your plants become infected, you can always give the extras as gifts.

    3. Don't disturb the basil plants while they are wet. Wait until they are dry to harvest or prune them. Moisture is a close companion of grey mold.
    4. Botrytis is common in garden soil.

      This is why I prefer to use potting mix when growing basil from seed. You can transplant the basil plants into the garden once they get big. Large plants are not as vulnerable as seedlings. If they do become infected, they may still survive until the end of the growing season. I prefer to transplant into 12 inch pots and set a pot of basil into the garden here and there.

      This is how to grow basil if you like to cook with it: It's nice to keep a pot of basil close to the kitchen door. Also, if the weather gets too rainy, you can move it to a protected spot.


      Buy Basil Seeds

      Buy Lime Basil 1 Pkt. (100 seeds)

      Buy Thai Basil, Siam Queen 1 Pkt. (50 seeds)

      Get a Complete Basil Kit



      How to Grow Basil Indoors

      Basil is a high light herb. In order to grow it indoors, you will need to place it beneath a grow light. Otherwise, it will become leggy and weaken.

      Weak basil plants attract bugs.

      How to Grow Basil Indoors Without Grow Lights:

      I like to cut a stem (about 6-7 inches long) from an outdoor plant and place it in a bud vase. I set the bud vase on my kitchen table, close to the window.

      Within a week the basil stem will root. The small plant will live and grow for several weeks allowing me to pick individual leaves to use when preparing meals.

      If you want a bigger harvest, cut a basil bouquet and treat it the same way.

      After a few weeks, you will have to decide whether to pot up the rooted cuttings or toss them.

      This is not really growing basil indoors but it gives me basil to use without having to go out in the rain to harvest it and no special lighting is required.

      How to Grow Basil From Cuttings

      "Basil, Cardinal 3 Plants"

      This is the easiest way to start new basil plants. Snip off about six inches from the tips of the branches. You want to do this around the middle of the growing season, before the plants have become woody. The entire stem of the cutting should be green with no brown on it. Pinch off any flower buds.

      Strip the lower leaves off and put the naked half of the stem into a glass of water. Leave the glass in filtered sunlight. Change the water every other day. In warm weather, you'll have roots in a week. When the roots are an inch long, plant the cuttings in sterile soil. Plant them three to a pot if you want a full pot faster.


      Basil Plant Care

      "Basil, Boxwood 1 Pkt. (100 seeds)"

      Basil plant care is easy. Site the plants in full sun, Keep their soil barely moist and top dress the planting with a handful of organic compost every few weeks.

      Protect your basil plant from the cold and grey mold and it will grow lushly all summer long.

      Buy Basil Plants

      "Basil Collection, Burpee's Best 3 Plants"

      Round Midnight basil is sure to be the darkest, most dramatic herb in your garden.

      Basil, Round Midnight 1 Plant

      San Remo basil tolerates cool weather.

      "Basil, San Remo 3 Plants"




      Buy Collection, Patio & Small Garden 6 Plants & 1 Pkt. (seed)



      Harvesting Basil

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