How to grow basil

Close up of the leaves of sweet basil

Learn how to grow the aromatic herb basil in the ground, in a pot, or from a seed, whether you are a novice gardener or have many years of experience. Learning how to grow this herb from seeds, in a container, such as an EarthBox, or in the ground, is simple, cheap, and easy, as long as you have the correct conditions.

There are many different types and varieties that you can add to your garden, from sweet, used frequently in Italian cuisines, to more exotic varieties such as purple, with its dark purple leaves.

Choosing A Type

There is no right or wrong type of basil for you to choose. Certain varieties do develop better in some conditions. Fortunately, the plant is simple enough to care for and easily adapts to different soil types and water conditions. The best advice for choosing a variety is to first taste as many types as you can and then pick the best tasting one that you would also enjoy to cook with.

Read More about various types


Basil thrives when using a high quality, pH balanced, potting soil or rich organic soil with a perlite and peat mixture. You can also make your own potting soil by mixing regular potting soil with a cup of perlite and two cups of peat. The soil will remain moist and soft by using a high quality potting soil, which will ensure proper root growth. As always, the soil needs to be weed free before planting. Fertilizer can be added once a month or you can use potting soil with a time released fertilizer to encourage healthy growth.

It can be grown from seedlings or from seeds. A seedling is a young plant that has already started growing and can be purchased from a local nursery or home improvement store. Growing from seed is not difficult, but if you are a novice gardener, starting with a seedling might be the better choice. If you are growing from seeds, you can first start the seeds indoors in late winter, then transplant to your garden outside in the spring after the last frost.

Basil can be grown in a pot or directly in the ground. When growing in a pot, ensure that there is adequate drainage at the bottom of the pot. Lining the bottom of the pot with coarse gravel or small rocks will ensure adequate drainage and allow the roots to expand freely. If growing outside directly in the ground, ensure the soil is weed free and moist before planting.

Read more about planting


When watering the plant, do not water the leaves but only the base of the plant as the leaves are easy to damage and do not need water themselves. Water as needed, everyday or every other day, to ensure the soil is moist but not damp.

Read more about watering