How to Grow Basil Herb


Basil, native to southern Asia, is featured in culinary traditions of India, Italy, Thailand and many western cuisines. This easy to grow herb thrives in containers or the garden and can be harvested throughout the growing season. Start your basil from seed in a window container for easy access in the kitchen. Add fresh basil leaves to homemade pesto, Italian dishes, salads and meat dishes for fresh flavor.

Step 1

Chose a spot in your garden that receives full sun for your basil plants or locate a sunny window for container-grown basil. Basil requires six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day.

Step 2

Fill the bottom inch of your container with small stones or pot shards. Basil thrives in well-drained soil and this layer will ensure adequate drainage. If planting basil directly in your garden, consider a raised bed if your soil has a tendency to get waterlogged.

Step 3

Mix equal parts potting soil, compost and peat moss and fill your container three-quarters full with the mix. Incorporate compost and peat moss into your garden's topsoil for outdoor planting.

Step 4

Sprinkle basil seeds evenly over the surface of the soil in your container or garden bed. Cover the seeds with a quarter-inch of soil and moisten with the finest setting on a spray bottle. Keep the seed bed moist during germination.

Step 5

Thin basil seedlings to 6-inch spacing once they develop two sets of true leaves or transplant seedlings to their own 6-inch containers.

Step 6

Water your garden basil deeply once per week. This will encourage deep root growth and make your basil plants more drought-resistant. Containers tend to dry out more quickly and should be watered as the soil begins to dry out.

Step 7

Apply a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength to your container basil plants once per month. Over-fertilizing your basil will compromise its flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Small stones or pot shards
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Basil seeds
  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid fertilizer


  • Colorado State University: Growing Basil
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Basil
Keywords: growing basil, planting basil, basil care

About this Author

Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, and various other Web sites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.