How To Plant, Grow, And Harvest Basil? Useful Guide For You

Basil is a multi-purpose herb that grows yearly and is used in Thai curries, salads, pizza, and pasta sauces. Although sweet basil is frequently the only variety found on grocery store shelves, growing your own will give you access to a wide variety of intriguing varieties.

Basil grows easily in warm, sunny environments. It is also simple to grow indoors. The cultivation, maintenance, and harvest of basil will all be covered in this article.

What Is Basil?

Originally from South Asia and the South Pacific islands, basil is a well-liked herb. It’s simple to grow and a member of the mint family. Basil is frequently used in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine and is regarded as a delicate annual herb with fragrant leaves. Another well-liked Thai ingredient is basil seeds.

As an annual, basil expands very quickly. From seed to harvest, it really only takes 3 to 4 weeks. This fast-growing, simple-to-grow herb is ideal for beginners.

Varieties Of Basil

Due to its wide variety, basil alone could easily fill an entire herb garden. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Sweet basil

One of the most widely used basil varieties, available in most supermarkets. The leaves of this variety are slightly rounded and medium green in color.

  • Thai Sweet Basil

Like other types of basil, Thai basil has smaller, pointy leaves, but it turns out to be a little spicier and retains its flavor well for stir-frying. The lovely purple flowers are edible.

  • Violet Basil

Although this variable doesn’t have a strong flavor, it gives your dishes and gardens a stunning burgundy color.

  • Lemon Basil and Lime Basil

Both have tangy citrus flavors and can be added to a variety of marinades, sauces, desserts, and teas.

  • Green frill

Nothing about this variety resembles basil used in cooking. Mild, lovely ruffled leaves are excellent for salads.

  • Spicy ball

For confined areas and containers, this diminutive, raised variety of basil is ideal. The flavor of basil is strong despite the leaves being smaller than those of other varieties.


When To Plant Basil

  • Start seeds indoors six weeks prior to the last spring’s frost to shorten the planting season. (look up the local frost season.)
  • Wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) before starting to grow outdoors; for the best results, aim for 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). The minimum acceptable nighttime temperature is 50°F (10°C).

How To Plant Basil

  • Minimize your seed depth to 1/4 inch. One plant should be separated from another every 10 to 12 inches once the seedlings have two or three pairs of true leaves. Basil should reach a height of 12 to 24 inches.
  • Set plants farther apart (between 16 and 24 inches) for larger varieties.
  • Basil plants in the garden and on your plate get along well with tomatoes!

Where To Plant Basil

  • Best location: Basil needs six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day to grow. Light shade is acceptable for basil. In a sunny window, basil will grow without any trouble.
  • Soil preparation: Sandy soil that retains moisture well is ideal for growing basil. Too much organic matter or nitrogen in the soil will produce lush foliage but low oil content, which can weaken flavor and fragrance. Poor soil with good drainage will support the growth of basil. Basil does well in a raised or mounded bed. Basil likes soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5.


How To Grow Basil

  • A moist soil should be present. Hydration is good for basil plants.
  • Use mulch around your plants if you live in a hot climate; mulch helps plants retain moisture and controls weeds.
  • The plants can receive unlimited watering during the summer drought.
  • Prune past the second leaf after the seedlings have developed their first six leaves. As a result, the plant will branch out and produce more leaves for harvesting.
  • Repeat the process of cutting a branch back to its first set of leaves every time it has six to eight leaves.
  • Use a 5-10-5% fertilizer sparingly throughout the season.
  • Pinch off the center shoots after about 6 weeks to stop early blooms. Cut off any flowers that do develop.
  • Basil should be harvested in advance if it’s cold or if a sudden frost is expected because the cold temperatures can kill your plants.

Basil Plant Care Tips

Basil can be grown easily. With some caution, you might even discover that you have extra basil to freeze, dry, or share with friends. My preferred advice for taking care of basil includes:

  • Water regularly

About one inch of water per week is required by basil because it prefers to stay moist. To maintain deep root growth and moist soil, deep water plants at least once a week. Basil that is grown in containers needs to be watered more frequently. Basil is cultivated in containers to stop the soil from drying out. Basil should be watered at the beginning of the day.

  • Fertilize sparingly

Basil expands quickly and needs little to no fertilization. In fact, too much fertilizer can make basil taste bad. If you decide to use fertilizer, basil can be grown outdoors with just a small amount of liquid fertilizer applied twice a season. Only a very weak liquid solution every three to four weeks will be sufficient to make up for the nutrients lost through frequent watering if you intend to grow basil in a pot.

  • Pinch back the leaves

Pinch the basil’s leaves from the top once it has two sets of true leaves. Your basil will grow lush and chubby as a result of this.

  • Companion planting

Basil has a significant advantage in using this method. This may be an old gardener’s tale, but as many people have said, I firmly believe that growing basil in tomatoes enhances the flavors of both. Oregano, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers are some of my favorite foods to eat with basil.

  • Avoid bolted connections

By closely monitoring your plants, which is also referred to as “seeding,” you can prevent bolting. Once the summer weather continues, basil tends to disappear. By keeping the soil moist and offering shade during the hottest part of the day, you can avoid this. In order to keep the plant from setting seeds and developing a bitter taste, you can also pinch off the stem 1 inch below the flower.

Harvesting And Storage

How To Harvest Basil

  • When to harvest: Within 50 to 60 days of planting, basil is ready for harvest. When a branch has 6 to 8 leaves, harvest all but the first set of leaves. Pinch out leaves as needed. Regular harvesting will keep plants strong and prevent flowering. New growth will result from this. Before the first frost, completely harvest the plant.
  • How to harvest: Hand-pinching off leaves as needed will keep plants growing healthily and stop flowering. When harvesting leaves, avoid crushing or bruising them.

How To Store Basil

  • Refrigeration: Colder temperatures will turn the leaves of fresh basil black; 40°F is ideal for storage. Before chilling fresh basil leaves, wash and pat them dry or spin them dry in a lettuce spinner. Store leaves in the crisper after wrapping them in a wet paper towel.
  • Drying: Basil leaves can be dried. Leaves will dry in 3 to 4 days if you spread them out on a screen or in trays in a well-ventilated area away from the sun. It will lose some of its flavors.
  • Freezing: To maintain flavor, quickly freeze the leaves. Place chopped or whole leaves in airtight containers or bags, then freeze them. Use 3 cups of tightly packed basil leaves for every ½ cup of olive oil when freezing basil leaves and olive oil mixtures. Add 1 cup of freshly packed basil leaves to 1 quart of vinegar to preserve it in vinegar.
  • Storing: Crushed dry leaf material should be kept in an airtight container.

How To Propagate Basil?

  • Seed: Plant seeds in the late spring because they germinate quickly at temperatures above 60°F.
  • Cuttings: Basil can be grown from stem cuttings that have been rooted in water or damp vermiculite.

Use of Basil

Fresh basil should be added to dishes in the last five to ten minutes of cooking for the richest flavor. In tomato-based dishes, soups, salads, sauces, and pasta, use fresh basil. Its flavors go well with sage, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.


Basil is a delicious and adaptable herb, and it’s simple to grow. Learn how to grow basil in your backyard garden from the pros.

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