How to Sow and Grow: Basil

Every gardener worth their salt has a few basil plants growing, but not everyone knows how to get them to reach their full potential. That’s because basil is truly loved by all – including damaging diseases, fungi and predators. Dying to know how to grow a big bad basil plant in your garden? 

Choose you variety
Sweet basil is the most common garden variety, offering the classic earthy sweetness we all know and love. Thai basil gives you a sweetly-spicy flavour kick, tasting vaguely like black licorice. Alternatively, you could track down aromatic purple basil for something less sweet and more refined. Keep an eye out for other varieties and cultivars to experiment with as well – there are plenty out there! Basil plants have naturally grown and been selectively bred to have larger or finer leaves, stronger or mellower flavours, and unique fragrances. 

Know your growing season
Like other Mediterranean herbs, basil likes the weather to be hot – but not too hot. Check your region/season and the best time to grow basil where you live at our website under the ‘Grow’ tab.

How to sow basil
If you have never started your garden plants from seeds before, basil is a fantastic beginner’s plant. It is reasonably simple to germinate and establish basil in your garden. Simply sow your basil seeds in an indoor starter tray filled with a sterile, nutrient-rich seed starter soil. Keep the soil temperature consistently around 21-24 degrees. This can be achieved by placing the tray in a sunshiny window, as well as covering the tray top with plastic wrap or glass. Lightly water the soil daily to keep it moist, but not soaking wet. Our Herb in a Bag is designed exactly for this reason however you don't need a cover as the lining of the bag reflects sunshine in the bag and keeps your seeds evenly warm.

If your outdoor garden soil is warm, you can also choose to plant your basil seeds directly. Either way, the seeds should show the first signs of sprouting within 1-2 weeks. 

Once the basil sprouts have reached a height of 5-7 cm, they are ready to transplant. Allow plenty of space (about 20-30 cm) between plants if planted in the garden, or an individual container for each plant if planted indoors. Keep them in full sunlight during daytime hours. 

How to grow basil 
To grow spectacular basil plants, there are a few main steps you need to take:
Grow in your region’s warmest possible basil growing season, as indicated above. 
Ensure that its indoor growing container or garden growing area is very well-drained. 
Water basil generously and regularly – as much as every other day in the hottest months.
Fertilise. Supplement soil with compost monthly.
Stay on top of pruning. Once your plants reach a height of 15-20 cm, regularly inspect your plants, prune the top leaves, and pop off any flower buds that appear.
By growing basil in warm weather and with plenty of space between plants, you should avoid the bulk of common diseases and fungi that are known to attack basil. Even so, keep an eye on your plants and treat them for pests or maladies early – at the first traces of observable symptoms.

If you grow basil following the suggestions listed above, you are on the right track to producing plants yielding plenty of scrumptious and healthy leaves!