How To Grow Basil

How To Grow Basil

Everyone loves a good bit of basil! Basil can be used for a variety of different foods, but mainly it's used in tomato sauces and pesto. It can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatos, either chopped or whole.

This annual herb is easy to grow from seed sown indoors in spring, or even from young plants, and gives repeated harvests throughout the summer....very nice! 


The seeds are best started off indoors in late February to around mid-summer. Simply fill a 7.5cm pot with seed compost, firm it down and sow a few seeds over the top. A lot of these seeds will germinate, so only sow a few more than you need to. Cover these in a thin layer of Vermiculite, water them gently and then cover the pot with a clear plastic bag - secure it with an elastic band.

After germination, remove the plastic bag, and place it on a sunny windowsill. Water this regularly to keep the compost moist. When the seedlings are large enough to handle and have their first leaves, put them into their own 7.5cm (3inch) pot filled with multi-purpose compost.


Generally it's best to keep basil plants indoors until the danger of frost has passed, and then you can gradually acclimatise them to the outdoors. Choose a warm, sunny, sheltered planting site with well-drained soil, or a container filled with multi-purpose compost. You can keep a plant in a pot going all summer long by moving it into a slightly bigger container every time roots show through the drainage holes – plants could end up in a 20cm (8in) container. Alternatively, you can keep basil in your greenhouse, for those lucky enough to own one!

Generally, basil hates having wet roots overnight, so it's generally best to water them in the morning.


You should try to harvest the shoot tips regularly, and remove any flowers that start developing. The plants will die off at the end of summer once the temperatures start to fall, so be ready for ths.

As a lot of leaves are required to make pesto or tomato sauce, you may want to harvest the entire plant in one go. However, if only a few leaves are required, removing the tops of the plants only, can encourage bushy growth.


Why not try Hydro Herb's Basil Kit? A hydroponic herb kit made from a recycled green wine bottle. Click here to view...