How to Grow Basil – A Beginner’s Guide

basil plant growing in garden
Basil, which are known botanically as  Ocimum Basilicum, are a type of herbs that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing basil as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Basil

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the basil seeds  2 weeks after the last spring frost. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when basil are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Basil the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing basil in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your basil grow. Generally, your soil should be rich, moist, but well-drained soil. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 7.5.

 roughly 10″ apart. 10″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about  .25″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your basil seedlings  thin or transplant plants to 10 inches apart when they are 2 inches tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Basil

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your basil. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your basil should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Basil

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your basil do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your basil begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Basil to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your basil grow.

It takes approximately 5-10 days to germinate, and a total of 85 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Basil

The best time to harvest your basil is as soon as the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. 

Basil can grow up to about 12 to 24 inches in height. .

What Can Basil Be Used For?

Food Use: The rich and pungent flavor of this herb makes it perfect for pesto!

Flavor Profile:  Sweet with a spicy aroma and flavor; less likely to become bitter when slow cooking.

Can Basil Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you will ideally need a 12″+ containerfor each plant. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your basil around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Basil Safe for Bees?

Yes, basil are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing basil is bee-friendly.

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