How to Grow Basil in New York City

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Keeping a quality herb garden in New York City is very challenging. With the smog, the neighbors and the lack of outdoor space, there are very few herbs and flowers that will grow well in Manhattan, especially those plants that prefer an outdoor climate. Basil, an herb that has beautiful foliage, smells fantastic and is also very tasty, is a great plant to start up your New York City garden. The ideal climate would be outdoors, but if you don't have access to any outdoor space, a windowsill will work.


Step 1

Decide where your basil pot will grow in both the summer and winter months. If you have access to a fire escape, roof or balcony, your basil can be placed outside until the first frost. It will probably thrive and grow the most during these summer months. After the first frost, bring your basil plant inside, preferably to the windowsill of a closed window in a heated room. If you do not have access to a windowsill, place your plant on the floor in an area that gets some light from the window.

Step 2

Fill your pot with fertilized soil. Because you will not be growing your basil in a garden that is already full of nutrients, it's helpful to have pre-fertilized soil to give your basil seeds a head start. Fertilized soils will need to be fertilized again after three to five months.

Step 3

Poke your finger halfway into the soil (about 1 1/2 inches deep). Place more holes around the pot, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Sprinkle basil seeds inside the holes and fill them in with more fertilized soil.

Step 4

Water thoroughly. Basil needs to be watered frequently to maintain its green, soft leaves. Do not add a fertilizer to the water until three to five months after you have used a pre-fertilized soil.

Step 5

Place the draining dish under the basil pot and make sure the pot has significant draining holes. Because the basil is contained in the pot, it is important to fully drain the excess water from the soil.

Step 6

As your basil grows, pinch leaves from the top so the plant will become more bushy. In New York City, it's difficult to have a very large plant, so continue to pinch leaves from the top regularly to control the height of the basil plant.

Things You'll Need

Medium-sized pot with drain holes, Draining dish, Basil seeds, Fertilized soil, Water

About this Author

Megan Smith has been a freelance writer and editor since 2006. She writes about health, fitness, travel, beauty and grooming topics for print and Internet publications, including LIVESTRONG.COM and the website for "USA Today." Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from New York University.

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