How to Plant Basil in Containers


Basil is a delightful and useful annual herb many gardeners and cooks enjoy growing. With large leaves which come in a variety of colors, basil is an easy to grow herb which doesn't require much care other than basic light and water. To plant basil in containers you can either start with a seed or purchase a seedling from your local garden center. Either way, you can be enjoying the fragrance of fresh basil in no time.

Step 1

Place your container either in a sunny window for an indoor plant or outside in an area where the basil will see full sun and the threat of frost has passed. Set the saucer under the container if your container doesn't come with one already attached.

Step 2

Cover over the drainage holes by adding an inch of stones, gravel or terra cotta pieces. You can add 2 inches of rocks if your container is taller than 6 inches. Fill the remainder of the pot with potting soil.

Step 3

Dig an area in the center to plant a purchased seedling and place the plant into the container so the level of soil in the pot and the root ball are even. If planting seeds, place two or three seeds in the center of the pot an eighth of an inch deep and cover over lightly without pressing down.

Step 4

Water the pot from the top with a light spray or rain-like flow enough to moisten the soil thoroughly. Don't soak the soil or leave the pot in standing water.

Step 5

Keep the seeds and seedlings damp, not saturated, like this for the first month. By then, your seeds should have germinated and started growing well, and you should be seeing new growth on your transplanted seedling.

Step 6

Water the plant deeply once or twice a week after the first month. Allow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings to encourage the roots to extend downward through the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the saucer fills with water after heavy watering, allow the container to sit for up to an hour, but dump out any remaining water after an hour to avoid the roots "drowning" from lack of oxygen in the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Saucer, if needed
  • Small stones, terra cotta pieces, or gravel
  • Potting soil
  • Hand trowel
  • Basil seeds or seedling


  • "The Edible Herb Garden"; Rosalind Creasy; 1999
Keywords: planting basil in containers, how to plant basil in containers, growing basil in containers

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.