How to grow Basil indoors

Growing basil indoors at home is an easy and convenient way to have fresh herbs on hand for cooking.

Grow Basil indoors

Growing basil at home has several benefits that make it a worthwhile endeavor. Firstly, it’s a low-maintenance herb that’s easy to grow, even for novice gardeners. Basil plants thrive in warm, sunny locations and require well-draining soil and regular watering. With some attention, you can grow a healthy basil plant that will provide fresh herbs for months.

Secondly, having a supply of fresh basil on hand is a great way to enhance your cooking. Whether you’re making Italian dishes like pesto or Caprese salad or want to add flavor to soups, stews, or stir-fries, fresh basil can elevate any dish. Plus, it’s much more convenient and cost-effective than buying fresh herbs at the grocery store whenever you need them.

By growing your basil, you’ll always have a new supply of this flavorful herb for cooking.

What is basil

Basil is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to tropical regions of central Africa and Southeast Asia but is now widely cultivated worldwide. Basil plants have green, fragrant leaves that are oval-shaped and pointed and can grow up to 3 feet tall.

Basil is a popular herb used in cooking, particularly in Italian, Thai, and Mediterranean cuisines. It has a sweet and slightly spicy flavor and is often used fresh in salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes or as a key ingredient in pesto. Basil is also used in herbal and traditional medicine due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Botanical nameOcimum basilicum.
Name (Common)Basil
Native totropical regions of central Africa and southeast Asia.
Sun levels6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day
USDA zones 4-11
SoilSoil that has a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5, as basil prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil
Plant sizeHeight of 12-18 inches

How to grow basil indoors

Basil is a popular herb that is easy to grow indoors due to its minimal requirements for sunlight and water. It prefers a warm and sunny location but can thrive in partial shade or under grow lights.

It requires well-draining moist but not waterlogged soil and should be watered regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Basil plants can also be grown in containers or pots, making them a perfect herb for indoor gardening.

With proper care and attention, indoor basil plants can produce a steady supply of fresh herbs for cooking, adding flavor to any dish.

Sure, here’s a step-by-step guide on growing basil indoors at home:

  1. Choose the suitable variety of basil: There are many different varieties of basil, so choose one suited for indoor growing. Sweet basil, Genovese basil, and Thai basil are popular choices for indoor growing.
  2. Select a suitable container: Select a container with drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom, which can cause root rot. A 6-8 inch pot is suitable for growing one basil plant.
  3. Add potting soil: Fill the container with a well-draining potting soil mix high in organic matter.
  4. Plant the basil seeds: Plant 2-3 basil seeds in the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
  5. Water the soil: Water the soil until it’s evenly moist but not waterlogged.
  6. Place the container in a sunny location: Basil plants require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, so place the container in a bright spot, such as a south-facing window.
  7. Water regularly: Basil plants require regular watering, so check the soil moisture level daily and water when the soil feels dry to the touch.
  8. Fertilize the plant: Fertilize the basil plant every 2-3 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer, following the package instructions.
  9. Prune the plant: Prune the basil plant regularly to encourage bushy growth and prevent it from getting too leggy.
  10. Harvest the leaves: Once the basil plant reaches a height of 6-8 inches, you can start harvesting the leaves. Pinch off the leaves at the stem, careful not to damage the plant. Harvest regularly to encourage the growth of new leaves.

How to Citrus Basil


The best soil for growing basil indoors is a well-draining potting mix rich in organic matter. A blend of peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, compost, or aged manure can work well for basil.

Avoid using heavy or clay soils, as they can retain too much moisture and lead to root rot. It’s also essential to ensure the soil has a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, as basil prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil.

You can test the soil pH with a soil testing kit, which can be purchased at most garden centers or online. If the pH level is too low or too high, you can adjust it by adding lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower the pH.


Basil on table

When growing basil indoors at home, keeping the soil evenly moist is essential, but not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and the plant to become stressed.

A good rule of thumb is to water the basil plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. Then, water deeply, allowing the water to drain out of the bottom of the container, and discard any excess water that accumulates in the saucer.

The watering frequency can vary depending on the growing conditions and the size of the container. Generally, basil plants grown in smaller containers may require more frequent watering than larger ones.

Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor the soil moisture level regularly and adjust the watering frequency as needed to ensure the basil plant gets the right amount of water.


Basil requires plenty of light to grow well indoors. Ideally, it needs at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, so placing the plant in a location that gets adequate sunlight is essential. South-facing windows are a good option, as they get the most sunlight throughout the day.

If you don’t have a sunny location or live in an area with short daylight hours during the winter, you can supplement the natural light with artificial grow lights.

LED grow lights are a popular choice for indoor basil growing, as they’re energy-efficient and can provide the full spectrum of light that plants need to succeed. Position the grow light about 6-12 inches above the basil plant and leave it on for 12-16 hours daily.

Monitoring the light levels regularly is essential, as too little light can cause the plant to become leggy and weak, while too much light can cause the leaves to wilt or burn.

If the leaves appear yellow or brown, or if the plant starts to wilt, it may be a sign that it’s not getting enough or too much light. Adjust the light levels accordingly to ensure the plant receives the right light for optimal growth.


To harvest leaves from a basil plant properly, follow these steps:

  • Wait until the plant has 6-8 leaves and is 6 inches tall before harvesting.
  • Select a stem with 2-4 pairs of leaves and cut it just above the second set, leaving the remaining leaves on the plant. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut, as jagged cuts can damage the plant.
  • Avoid removing more than one-third of the plant’s leaves at a time, as this can stress the plant and reduce its overall growth.
  • Harvest leaves regularly to encourage bushy growth and prevent the plant from going to seed. Pinch off the tips of the stems every few weeks to promote branching and fuller growth.


Fresh basil leaves can be stored in several ways to keep them fresh for longer:

In water: Trim the stems of the basil leaves and place them in a jar or vase of water, like cut flowers. Keep the jar in a cool, bright location, changing the water every few days. This will keep the leaves fresh for up to a week.

In the refrigerator: Wrap the basil leaves loosely in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag or container. Store them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer, where the temperature and humidity are slightly cooler. This method can keep the leaves fresh for up to a week.

Freeze: Place the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer them to a freezer bag or container. This method can keep the leaves fresh for up to 6 months.

Pesto: Make a batch of pesto by blending fresh basil leaves with garlic, nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Store the pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Learn more Gardening and growing

How to grow thyme

How to grow Thyme

Learn how to grow thyme in your garden or indoor herb collection with these easy tips and tricks! Start enjoying the aromatic and flavorful herb today. If you want to …
How to grow watercress

How to grow Watercress

Watercress is a leafy green vegetable that can be grown in moist soil or water. It prefers a pH of 6.5-7.5 and partial shade. Keep it well-watered. IN THIS GUIDE …
How to grow swiss chard

How to grow Swiss Chard

To grow Swiss chard at home, choose a sunny location with well-draining soil, plant seeds 1″ deep and 3″ apart, water regularly, and harvest when leaves are 6-8″ long. IN …
How to grow cabbage

How to grow Cabbage

Want to grow cabbage at home? Discover the best soil, planting times, and care techniques with our expert tips for a successful harvest. Start growing cabbage today! IN THIS GUIDE …
How to grow leeks

How to grow Leeks

Learn how to grow leeks at home with our simple guide. From selecting a spot in your garden to harvesting, we’ll help you grow healthy leeks. IN THIS GUIDE Growing …
How to grow Lingonberry

How to grow Lingonberries

Growing lingonberry plants is a rewarding experience that can provide a bountiful crop of delicious berries and add a beautiful and unique element to your garden. IN THIS GUIDE Lingonberries …

Leave a Comment