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How to grow basil in a container garden

Basil is not only a tasty and widely used herb it is also very easy to grow indoors.  Let take a look at how to grow basil in a container garden.

how to grow basil in container

Growing Basil from seed in a container garden

Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow from seeds.  It would be a great first seed to try in your kitchen garden.

It will only take about 7 days for your new basil plants to sprout.  The basil will be ready for your favorite recipes in as little as 3 weeks.


To start your basil from seed:

  • use a good, light weight potting soil.
  • plant the seeds 1/2 deep
  • keep the soil lightly moist using a spray bottle
  • as soon as the plant sprouts they will need light.  Place a grow light close to the plants moving it up as the plant grows.
  • If you don’t have a grow light then place in a sunny spot.  Rotate the pot often to help prevent the plant from getting “leggy”.


Starting Basil from cuttings

Starting basil from cuttings is an easy and quick way to grow basil.  Take a fresh basil cutting and place the stem into a bottle of water.  Make sure that the stem has a clean fresh cut just before you place it in the water.

basil garden

Within about 4 days you will see roots starting to form.  The best time to transplant the basil into soil is when the roots are about 1 inch long.

You can continue to grow basil in water however there are important things to know.  Please read Kratky method of growing to understand how to keep your plants happy when growing in water.


How to grow basil in a container garden

Regardless of whether you start from seed, cuttings or buy a plant there are some thing that you need to do to keep your basil growing for months.

Its Spring!  Time to start your seeds in the perfect seed starter

sow good naturally

Basil does best in morning sun.

Place your containers in a sunny spot but try to avoid a spot that will get too warm with afternoon sun.  Basil doesn’t mind a bit of shade.  6 hours of sun is a good amount.

Grow lights are a good option since they allow lots of light without the heat.

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Temperature to grow basil

Basil does best in temperatures of around 75-80 degrees.  This makes it a great container plant for a kitchen garden.  Basil will bolt if it gets too warm so avoid putting it anywhere that the temp goes above 85 degree for any long period.

Soil for container basil

A good light weight potting soil will work well for basil.  There is no need to add fertilize if you use a potting soil with a good compost mix.

Havesting Basil

Harvesting your basil is very important for the health and long life of your plant.


Basil will bolt, or go to flower, if you don’t harvest it regularly.  Don’t be afraid to take 20% of the plant every couple of weeks.  The more you cut it back the fuller it will grow.

how to grow basil in containers

Basil can grow usable leaves for months if you continue to harvest.

You can use some of the basil as cuttings to grow new plants.  The clones, or new plants, will be as productive as the first plant.  So given that you can grow basil for years from an initial plant!

Types of Basil

There are so many new varieties of basils available.  I like the classic the best but there are flavors to satisfy any tastes.


Sweet Basil.

This is the most common type.  Sweet basil is used in pesto, on pizza and hundreds of other recipes.

Genovese Basil.

Classic Italian basil with a bit stronger flavor than sweet basil.  Used in all the traditional Italian recipes.

Thai Basil.

Used in many Asian recipes.  This has a spicy flavor.

Purple Basil.

These plants have extra large dark purple leaves.  They give a nice contrast for your container garden with the addition bonus of being very fragrant.


Lemon Basil.

This type is becoming very popular because of its wonderful lemon scent and light flavor.  Great in fish recipes or teas.

Cinnamon Basil.

This is another spicy basil.  A bit milder that Thai Basil but still can add a nice spice to your recipes.

Greek Basil.

This type of basil has small pointed leaves and a spicy flavor.


If you have being think of starting a container garden then basil is a must grow.  It is easy to grow, your get lots of leaves to harvest and it comes in many vanities.  I think that makes basil the perfect container garden herb.

For more ideas please read “Indoor planting”

how to grow basil


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