How to Plant Thai Basil


Thai basil (bai horopa) is sweeter than its Mediterranean counterparts and sports dark purple stems with purple shading on the leaves. Also known as Asian basil, this aromatic herb thrives in soil with pH levels of 5.5 to 8 and reaches up to 24 inches in height with a 24-inch spread. Thai basil is favored in Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian cuisine, with whole or roughly torn leaves being added to stir frys, soups and stews.

Step 1

Choose a location that offers full sunlight and well-draining, loose soil.

Step 2

Plant seeds directly in the garden in late spring when the soil temperature reaches at least 60 degrees F.

Step 3

Amend the planting location with equal amounts of organic compost and coarse sand to create well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Spread sand and compost over the site and work it into the soil with a pitchfork and rake until it is thoroughly incorporated.

Step 4

Sow seeds directly on top of the soil, allowing 12 to 18 inches between seeds, then lightly cover with 1/8 inch of soil.

Step 5

Water sown seeds lightly to set. Keep soil moist during germination but not saturated.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not harvest basil until it has grown at least six mature sets of leaves. The Basil Gardening website recommends avoiding the use of artificial or fast-release fertilizers, as these will cause undesirable growth that eliminates flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Thai basil seeds
  • Organic compost
  • Coarse sand
  • Pitchfork
  • Rake
  • Water


  • Basil Gardening: Growth and Care of Basil
  • Gourmet Sleuth: Thai Basil
  • Wai Yee Hong: Introduction to Oriental Herbs
  • Hume Seeds: Thai Basil
Keywords: Thai basil plants, growing asian basil, planting Asian basil

About this Author

Deborah Waltenburg has been a freelance writer since 2002. In addition to her work for Demand Studios, Waltenburg has written for websites such as Freelance Writerville and Constant Content, and has worked as a ghostwriter for travel/tourism websites and numerous financial/debt reduction blogs.