How to Take Care of an Indoor Basil Plant With Water & Sun

Overview

Basil is a warmth-loving, tender annual herb that grows 8 to 36 inches tall, depending on the species or cultivated variety. Basil is one of the easiest and most popular herbs grown in home gardens and indoors. The herb's aromatic leaves are harvested and used fresh, dried or frozen, added to flavor a wide variety of cuisine. Basil plants are extremely cold-tender, so they must be grown indoors in most regions during the fall, winter and early spring.

Step 1

Place your basil plant in a warm, sunny window during the spring, summer and early autumn. Ensure that the basil receives six to eight hours of full light each day, and ideally set it in or beside a southern-facing window.

Step 2

Hang fluorescent grow lights about 6 inches above the basil plants to supplement light during the darker winter months. Keep the grow lights turned on for 10 to 12 hours each day.

Step 3

Keep air temperatures around your basil plant warm, generally above 70 degrees F. Avoid exposing your basil plant to drafts or placing it near heating and air conditioning vents.

Step 4

Water your basil plant two or three times per week to keep the potting soil evenly moistened. Don't allow the soil to become waterlogged, but instead water until the soil becomes slightly soggy. Discard any water that drains from the bottom of the pot.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid allowing the basil plant to develop flowers and seeds, because it will grow woody and develop a slightly bitter flavor. Harvest the basil leaves by snipping them off or cutting the stems just above a pair of leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Fluorescent grow lights
  • Liquid 5-10-5 NPK fertilizer
  • Scissors

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Basil
  • Basil Guide: Growing Basil Indoors

Who Can Help

  • National Gardening Association: Plant Care Guides -- Basil
Keywords: grow basil indoors, basil plant care, kitchen basil herbs

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.