How to Grow Basil from Seed
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How to Grow Basil from Seed

Do you love fresh basil and want to know how to grow basil from seed?  Basil germinates easily and can be grown both in pots and out in the garden during the warmer months.

Basil is frost sensitive but can be grown during the winter in pots in a warm, light place inside your home such as a windowsill.  During the summer a sunny porch or patio is perfect for basil.

When choosing a site outside take into account that basil likes full sun and dislikes being hit by heavy rain.  The leaves can get bruised with dark blotches on the leaves.  A covered position that gets at least half a day of sun is ideal.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Pot and Saucer – Try this top rated terracotta pot from Amazon. (Paid link)
  • Potting Mix
  • Seed Raising Mix
  • Liquid Fertiliser
  • Basil Seeds (Sweet Basil is the most common variety) – Try these organic seeds from Amazon. (Paid link)
  • Compost or Aged Manure (For outside planting)


How to Grow Basil from Seed

  1. Prepare the Pot

    First fill the pot with the potting mix leaving 1.5 to 2 cm (1/2 inch) gap at the top.

  2. Plant the Basil Seed

    Sprinkle the basil seeds over the top then gently cover with a thin layer of seed raising mix so the seeds are covered.  This is just finer soil and can be made by sifting some of the potting mix.

  3. Best Temperature for Germination

    Water well with a mist spray then keep moist until seedlings emerge.  Place in a warm spot inside as there is less temperature fluctuation.  The best temperature for the germination of basil seeds is 15 to 20°C (60 to 68°F).

  4. Basil Seedlings

    Seedlings will emerge in 10 to 14 days.  Wait until plants are 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) tall before setting out in the garden.

    Basil seedlings that have germinated after ten days.

Planting Basil in the Garden

Basil can be successfully grown in garden beds but prefers a sunny sheltered spot.

Add compost or aged manure to the soil prior to planting out the seedlings.

Mulch well then keep seedlings moist for the first two weeks until established.

Caring for Basil Plants

Basil plants are easy to look after.  Make sure you give your plants regular watering and apply liquid fertiliser every two weeks.

Picking Basil Leaves

Picking basil leaves regularly will encourage new growth and produce a bushier plant.

Always pick the tips of the plant.  You will see new growth sprouting underneath so pinch the leaves off just above this new growth.

Picking Basil Leaves
Pick the tips of basil plants leaving the new growth.

There is nothing better than having a pot of fresh basil to pick from.  It can be added to salads, pizzas or just as a garnish.  Try Creamy Black Bean Salad or adding it to Bacon and Mushroom Pizza.

Saving seeds for the next season is a great way to complete the growing cycle and save money. See this guide to Saving Basil Seeds for more information.

To Save or Print this guide on how to grow basil from seed, click the button below for the PDF file.

Do you love growing herbs? See these guides for Growing Garden Cress, Growing Rocket from Seed or Growing and Using Mint.

If you love growing and preserving food at home, you might like this free Homesteading guide.

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