How to Plant and Care for Basil – Step by step guide-line

Are you thinking of how to plant and care for Basil or expanding your garden with some useful herbal plants? Then you cant count basil plants in as they are pretty easy to grow from seed and cuttings. If you have limited space in your home, growing basil in pots will be a great idea to use that space.

Basil is a popular herb to add to your garden salads, curries, and several culinary dishes. Though adding basils in dishes enhances the aroma and taste, basil plants are a good source of healthy nutrients. This plant is packed with Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, and several beneficial minerals to your health.

This tender, yet low-maintenance plant will be a great addition to your home garden from where you can get an abundance supply of fresh basil whenever you want.

Benefits of eating basil leaves daily :

Growing basil plants is beneficial to your garden as they help other plants by repelling harmful insects like flies and asparagus beetles. Moreover, keeping basil plants indoors will reduce the number of stubborn mosquitoes in your house. Do you know that basil leaves have some great health benefits too?

Benefits of Basil Leaves


Basil is an amazing herb that is packed with anti-inflammatory properties which will lower the inflammatory rate of your body if taken regularly. Chronic inflammation is one of the root causes of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, irritated bowel,  and several allergic conditions in the human body.

Try to incorporate fresh basil or powdered spice in your curries, stews, soups, stirred fries, or pasta which will increase the flavor of the dishes while lowering the inflammation rate of your body.

Cold Remedies:

Try to use basil in your soups while you catch a cold as consuming basil will help soothe your sore throat, cough, and symptoms of flu. you can also add basil to your herbal tea to make a natural home remedy that does not have any side effects.

Digestive Issues:

For living an active and healthy lifestyle we need to maintain our gut health. Acid reflux and other gut issues remind us to take care of our sensitive gut. 

To soothe gut inflammation and reduce stomach irritability, you can make herbal tea by boiling fresh basil leaves with ginger. Regular consumption of a moderate amount of basil will improve your gut health.

Reducing Stress:

The anti-inflammatory properties of basil also work well for people who are dealing with regular stress. Using basil essential oil in your bath or consuming basil regularly in foods can lower your stress level.

If you are feeling stressed after a busy day, try mixing a few drops of basil essential oil in warm water before taking bath. It will relax your body and boost your mood.

Detoxifying  Body:

Consumption of basil spice in different dishes helps our liver to detoxify the body from toxin materials while reducing fat. The more your body will be free from toxins, the more your skin will be improved. Thus for getting youthful and glowing skin, try to consume basil regularly.

Sweet Basil:

Sweet basil is the most popular variety of basil plants that you can find in every local grocery shop. You can identify sweet basil from its round, flat and shiny leaves that are light green.

The plant can be 30 -60 centimeters tall with 3-7 centimeters long leaves. The leaves have a sweet yet strong taste which is similar to anise.

Sweet Basil
Sweet Basil Pant

Lemon Basil:

Lemon basil can be a great addition to enhance the aroma of fish as well as chicken curries or stews. The plant is 20-40 centimeters tall with white flowers and light green leaves.

You can identify this basil variety due to its strong scent that is similar to lemons.

Lemon Basil
Lemon Basil Plant

Cinnamon Basil:

Cinnamon basil, also known as ‘Mexican Basil’, is popularly used to make dessert items like shortbread, cookies, hot drinks, and smoothies. 

They grow best when the temperature stays between 27- 32 degrees Celcius. You can identify this basil variety with its light green, thin and serrated leaves with dark purple flowers.

Cinnamon Basil:
Cinnamon Basil Plant

Purple Basil:

Purple basil plants are a beauty to watch because of their dark purple leaves. They are really easy to identify because of their striking color and work great as a garnishing herb for garden salads.

It has a spicy flavor that is similar to cloves thus you can cook pesto sauce or pickled basil with it.

Purple Basil
Purple Basil Plant

Spicy Globe Basil:

This basil variety is also known as ‘dwarf bush’ basil due to its small busy structure that looks like a globe. This plant is perfect for growing in small pots as it grows 6-12 inches tall and has small light-green leaves.

The smell is similar to pepper and mint which goes well with spicy fish curries or salads.

Spicy Globe Basil
Spicy Globe Basil Plant

Thai Sweet Basil:

Thai sweet basil is popularly used in different South Asian dishes like soups, rice noodles, stir-fries, and salads. This basil variety tastes and smells better after cooking.

You can identify the plant by its purple-colored stem,  shiny green, and slender leaves which smell like anise and sweet licorice.

Thai Sweet Basil Plant
Thai Sweet Basil Plant


The leaves of Genovese basil plants are popularly used for making pesto sauce that goes well with Italian cuisine. The leaves are broad and shiny green and have a very sweet fragrance.

It gives a mixed flavor of sweet and spice which enhances the taste of dishes more.

Genovese Basil Plant
Genovese Basil Plant

Green Ruffles:

The green ruffles basil plant is easy to identify as it looks similar to lettuce leaves with deep green color and ruffled edges.

Unlike other basil varieties, it has got a very complex yet mild flavor that will remind you of anise, lemon, and cinnamon at once. You can make great sauces and salads with this variety.

Green Ruffles Basil Plant

How to Grow Basil in Pot from Seeds?

Time needed: 45 days

Start preparing to plant basil seeds as soon as the cold winter ends and the soil temperature start to rise. If you start sooner, then you will be able to harvest from the beginning of the summer season. Basil takes 45 days to grow seeds to harvest. If you want to grow basil from seeds, follow these simple steps-

  1. Pot Preparation :

    To plant the basil seeds, take a smaller pot and fill it with potting mix keeping 1- ½ inch space from the top. Spray some water to keep the mix moist and plant 4-5 seeds in the pot.

  2. Spray water on seeds

    Spread some dirt or soil to cover the seeds. Spray some water with a spray bottle. Remember to not overwater the seeds. 

  3. Over the pot

    Cover the pot with a clear plastic sheet or bag to prevent the seeds from getting cold.

  4. Wait 7-10 days

    For 7-10 days, keep the covered pot in a warmer place indoors. To provide warmth, you can use a germinating tray with LED lights over it.

  5. Take care of baby basil

    After the germination of basil seeds, you need to remove the cover and place the pot beside a window where sunlight reaches. Keep your seedlings wet by spraying the soil regularly with water.

  6. Keep only healthy plants

    After the seedlings start to grow leaves, you can keep only the one that looks healthier to plant in a bigger pot or soil bed.

  7. Give sunlight to plants

    Put the container outside during the day to feed it with full sun and bring the pot indoors when the temperature starts to get cold before evening. This method is important to strengthen your little basil seedling so it can cope well with the outside environment after fully grown.

  8. Transfer to indoor or outdoor

    Once the temperature is warm enough and reaches 10-21 degrees Celcius, you need to transfer your young basil plant to your indoor or outdoor garden.

  9. Plating in the pot

    If you want to grow your basil plant in pots, select a larger pot that has a minimum of 8 inches in depth. Larger containers are beneficial to the healthy growth of basil as it preserves the moisture of the soil. It will save you time from watering the plant frequently on hot summer days.

  10. Basil in Outdoor

    If you want to plant your basil outdoor in a soil bed, keep at least 12-18 inches between the two plants. It will give enough space to flow air and help your basil grow healthily. 

  11. Fertilizer on Basil Plants

    Cover the 1 and 2 inches of the soil with light fertilizer or mulch to feed it with proper nutrients and your planting is done.

How to Grow Basil from Cuttings?

If you want to grow basil plant from a cutting or root propagation, you may follow these simple steps-

  • Snip a small part of the basil plant that is a  minimum of 4 inches in length and hasn’t grown any flower yet.
  • Take a clear glass and fill it with water
  • Put the selected part of the basil plant in the water and place the glass in a spot where adequate sunlight reaches. You can put the glass beside your window or balcony.
  • You should change the water in the glass daily. It will take at least 7 days to grow roots. Plant it in a pot or soil bed when the root is 2 inches long.

How to Care for Basil Plant Indoors and Outdoors?

Your tender basil plants need proper care to thrive and produce more leaves throughout the season. If you can maintain these basic and regular tips, you will be amazed by the outcome.

Regular Exposure to Full Sun:

Basil loves the warm climate and grows best when it gets the daily dose of full sun. To feed your basil plant with 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight regularly, the placement of the plant is important.

If you are growing basil plants indoors, place the pot in the sunny spot of your balcony or beside a window where sunlight reaches.

Regular Watering:

The watering of basil depends on the size of your soil bed, planter box, or container. During scorching heat, you should water your basil plant weekly for 3 or 4 days so it doesn’t dry out.

If you are growing basil plants indoors in a pot, make sure that the pot has a well-drainage system. For outdoor basil, make sure to plant in well-drained soil to prevent water clogging.


As basil is a culinary herb, it does not require regular fertilizing. Using compost or mulch on a full-grown plant will reduce the flavor and aroma when use in dishes. 

If your basil plant is growing outdoor, you may spray liquid fertilizer 1 or two times. Depending on the attack of bugs or diseases, you can spray light liquid fertilizers on your potted indoor basil plant every month.


Regular pruning of your basil plant is encouraged to enhance its leaf production. It is advised to prune the basil plant whenever the stem produces 7-8 sets of leaves.  Keep one true leaf and pinch another one to promote fast production and harvest a great number of healthy leaves. 

You should also remove the flowers if you do not want to store the seeds for the next season. Flowers reduce the strong flavor and aroma of basil leaves. Thus, pinch down the growing flowers if you want to use the leaves for culinary purposes.

Pests and Diseases:

Though basil is a tough plant, pests like beetles, aphids, or slugs can be harmful to their healthy growth. If you notice these insects on your plant leaves or stem, spray soap solution on the leaves. To make the solution, take 2 spoons of common dishwashing liquid and mix it well with water before spraying it.

Basil leaves can also get affected with ‘Powdery Mildew’ if they do not have enough space between each other for proper air circulation. To reduce the fungal spread, remove the affected leaves and create more space between the plants.

How to Harvest Basil Correctly:

Once your basil plant is 6-8 inches tall, you can start harvesting the leaves whenever you need. Regular harvesting boosts growth and provides a neat structure to your plant. 

Thus, do not stop harvesting even if you are not using basil in your dishes. You can collect and store the basil leaves by sun-drying them or keeping them in the fridge to use later.

FAQs about how to plant and care for basil

Is it better to grow basil indoors or outdoors?

It does not matter where you put your basil plant. If you can ensure basil proper watering and full sunlight, your plant will thrive well both indoors and outdoor.

How long does potted basil last?

Basil needs full exposure to sunlight and warm temperatures to live. If you can take proper care of your potted basil plant, it will survive well for more than two years.

They do not cope well with the cold weather. Thus, keep them indoors in warm places to stay alive.

Why do my basil plants keep dying?

Balancing the level of moisture is one of the most important conditions for growing basil. If your basil plants are dying even if you keep them in the full sun, check the soil.

Too dry or too moist soil is harmful to their health. Thus, maintaining a proper drainage system for balancing the water in the soil is a must for growing basils. 

Where do you pinch basil?

Pinching is needed to increase the growth of healthy leaves of your basil plant. The proper method is to pinch from the main stem of the plant when it gets 6 to 8 inches tall.

Pinch the main stem in half which should be ¼  inches up from the nodes of the leaves.

When should a basil plant be pruned?

Yes. To promote the production and healthy growth of leaves, you should start pruning your basil plants regularly once they are 6 to 8 inches tall.

Can I revive a dead basil plant?

If you notice in the early stage that your basil plant is dying, you need to give them constant care with patience. You should consistently feed your wilted plant with the full sun while keeping the soil wet. 

Pay attention to not keeping the plant in a windy place too. It will take some time but with proper care, they will survive.

How do you winterize basil?

If you want to use basil in your culinary dishes throughout the winter, take the stems with leaves and wash them properly. Then dry the leaves well using kitchen tissue or paper towel. 

Wrap the branches and leave them on your balcony or patio where full sunlight reaches. After one or two weeks, the basil leaves will be sun-dried enough to collect and store in an air-tight box.

Can you plant mint and basil together?

Yes, mint plants are a great insect repellant. So if you put mints and basils beside each other in separate pots, your basil plant will be safe from harmful pests like beetles. 

How much takes time to grow a basil plant?

Basil takes 45 days or 6-7 weeks from seed to plant.

Growing and taking care of basil is easy and fun if you can follow some basic tips. It doesn’t matter if you are growing basil plants indoors or outdoors as long as you provide them with proper care.

If you love to cook healthy dishes, you will surely love to grow and use fresh basil that comes straight from your small garden. This nutrient-packed culinary herb is a much-needed addition to the chefs out there!

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