Sweet Basil is a flavorful herb that’s easy to grow both outdoors and indoors. Learn how to grow sweet basil indoors, along with more tips!
Hello, Ideas for the Home readers! I’m Pam from The Birch Cottage, and I’m back again this month sharing this super easy gardening idea on how to grow sweet basil indoors from seedlings.
Every year about this time, I start really looking forward to getting my vegetable garden started. Last year, we had a bumper crop! Thanks mostly to a lot of help that we had from our daughter Morgan watering the garden every day.
I know that having one good year, doesn’t automatically mean the next year will be just as good, but I’m hopeful!
In addition to my little salsa garden, I also enjoy growing herbs indoors. I’ve tried growing cilantro indoors, but haven’t been very successful. Maybe this year? A girl can dream, right?
Sweet Basil is One of the Easiest Herbs to Grow Indoors
However, there is one herb (amongst others) that I will be growing indoors this year. It just so happens that one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors is sweet basil. Basil is a staple herb in many homes. You’ll find it used in tomato sauces, pizza, pesto, with chicken and in just about every Italian dish and more!
Basil is also the perfect herb to grow indoors because it is cold intolerant. Unless you live where the temperatures are mild year-round, you’ll want to at least start your basil indoors or bring it indoors for the winter.
Although there are a number of varieties of basil, such as sweet, Thai, lemon and cinnamon, just one herb plant will produce about ½ cup’s worth of basil each week. All you need is a pot filled with well-draining soil, a sunny windowsill and regular watering to have fresh basil for months on end.
How To Grow Sweet Basil indoors: 3 things you need
There are three things that are important to growing basil indoors: light, climate and water.
Basil needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily in order to thrive. For best results, place your basil plant in the sunniest, warmest window you have. Then simply give the basil plant a quarter turn every three or four days. Rotating the plant will help ensure your plant grows evenly on all sides.
Basil plants are native to tropical Asia and, as such, grow best in household temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep your home cooler than 70, you’ll want to find a warmer room to grow your basil plant. You will also want to avoid vents, which can dry out your plants.
All plants need water to survive and basil is no exception. Initially, you’ll want to water your basil plant once a week. Water until you see the water run out the bottom of the pot. For this reason, you’ll want to be sure to have a saucer under your pot. If the soil feels very dry at the end of the week, you can try watering your plant every five or six days instead.
How to Plant Sweet Basil from Seedlings
Basil can be grown from seeds, seedlings or from cuttings. But, for today, I want to share with you probably the most popular way to grow basil and that is from seedlings. When you purchase your basil plant from a nursery or your local garden center, it should look healthy and have what appears to be at least three stems in each pot.
So, let’s take a look at what is needed to transplant sweet basil from seedling:
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- 1-gallon flower pot with drain holes
- 1 flower pot saucer
- 1 cup small stones or pebbles
- Good potting mix
- Watering can, optional
- Sweet basil seedling
- Plant fertilizer
- Garden gloves
- Knife or scissor to open the potting soil mix bag
Video tutorial – How to transplant sweet basil
I’ve provided written step-by-step instructions with photos below for how to transplant a basil seedling. However, if you learn better by watching, here’s a video to show you just how easy it is to transplant sweet basil from a seedling:
1. Choose the right pot
First, be sure to select a pot that is at least a 1-gallon container (or at least a 12” pot) and that contains bottom drain holes. You’ll also want a saucer for your flower pot, if one is not built-in to the pot.
2. Place pebbles on the bottom
Next, place a layer of small stones or pebbles in the bottom of the pot to aid with draining.
3. Fill the pot with potting mix
Then, fill the pot with good potting mix to within 1 inch of the top of the flower pot.
4. Plant the seedling in the middle
Dig a hole in the center of the soil and plant the sweet basil seedling at the same depth it was growing in the nursery pot.
Press the soil around the seedling stem.
5. Water the basil
After you have the basil plant transplanted, water the transplant thoroughly at the soil, being careful not to get the leaves or stem wet. In other words, water from the bottom of the plant. Alternatively, you can place the planter in a container of water and allow the moisture to wick up through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
6. Give it lots of sun
Place the potted basil plant in a sunny window. Remember, basil needs at least six hours of sunshine daily to grow indoors. So be sure to select a window that gets the required amount of sunshine.
Also, keep in mind that basil doesn’t like cold environments. It will do best in a room that is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rotate the pot ¼ turn every day to ensure each side of the plant gets an equal amount of sunlight.
Feeding Your Sweet Basil Plant
You can feed the sweet basil plant with water-soluble houseplant fertilizer every two weeks. Simply pour the solution gently onto the soil around the stem, being careful not to water the stem or leaves.
Harvest Your Sweet Basil Plant
Basil is one of those herbs that just keeps giving, if cared for properly. You can simply harvest only what you need – a few leaves at a time. You’ll want to snip the stem just above the point where two large leaves meet.
Keep in mind that regular clipping encourages a more rounded and healthier plant; however, you never want to harvest more than 2/3 of the entire plant at any time.
If your basil plant starts to flower, just pinch off the flowers. Although the flowers are edible, if you pinch them off, the plant will use its energy to grow leaves instead.
More Information on growing herbs indoors
If you’d like more information on growing herbs indoors, here are a link to a few trusty sources:
- The Ohio State University
- University of Illinois Extension
- Old Farmer’s Almanac
- Michigan State University Extension
- Bonnie Plants
If you enjoyed this tutorial on How to Grow Sweet Basil Indoors from Seedlings, be sure and check out these other ideas on The Birch Cottage blog:
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