How to Grow Basil Indoors [8 Steps for Year-Round Basil]

To grow indoor basil, first, fill a small container with potting soil. Then, sprinkle basil seeds on the soil surface and cover them. Add water and provide plenty of light so your basil seeds sprout. Once the sprouts appear, keep the strongest two sprouts. Then, water your basil once per week. Feed your basil with gentle fertilizer once each month to continue its growth. After two months, you’ll be able to harvest fresh basil for your kitchen. As your basil continues to increase in size, repot it to a larger container.

Can You Grow Basil Indoors All Year?

Basil can survive year-round indoors. In fact, if you grow basil in your home, it will stay alive longer than outdoor basil. This means you’ll get more fresh herbs for longer if you choose to grow basil plants in your home.

  • Most varieties of basil survive longer indoors than outdoors.
  • Basil is killed by temperatures under 50℉ (10℃), so warm rooms are great for basil.
  • The biggest challenge for indoor basil is providing enough light.

Even mild cold snaps kill outdoor basil. So, the controlled environment of your home provides the perfect way to protect your plants from temperature changes. However, it’s important to keep in mind that hours of sunlight change with the seasons. During the colder months, you’ll need to make sure your basil gets enough light to survive.

What is the Best Way to Provide Light for Indoor Basil?

The most reliable way to give indoor basil enough light is to grow it in an indoor garden. The best indoor gardens feature built-in grow lights that simulate the many hours of sun that basil requires. Without an indoor garden or a grow light setup, most basil will struggle indoors. Even a sunny south-facing window may not get enough sunlight during fall and winter to keep your basil alive.

  • This Click and Grow indoor garden is our favorite way to provide indoor basil with proper light.
  • The built-in LED grow lights and automated watering system provide everything your basil needs.
  • Click and Grow starter gardens come with complimentary basil pods, so you can start growing basil indoors right away.

If you do not use an indoor garden, it’s best to use a grow light to provide supplemental light to your basil. In a poorly lit room, basil requires 12 to 14 hours of exposure to grow lights daily. In well-lit spaces, basil benefits from four to six hours of grow light exposure.

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8 Steps to Grow Basil Indoors

Basil plants are one of the best herbs to grow indoors. Because basil is so sensitive to temperature changes, it can easily be killed outdoors. To get the most out of your basil, grow it indoors with this process:

Prepare a Small Pot with Soil

Begin by filling a pot that is 4 inches wide and 6 inches deep (10 by 15 cm) with potting soil. This potting soil designed for leafy herbs is the best choice. It provides the proper nutrient balance for basil leaf production. Plus, it will drain quickly to prevent root rot. Just make sure your basil pot has drainage holes in the bottom. A pot that can’t drain will kill your herbs.

Add Your Basil Seeds

Sprinkle five to 10 basil seeds on top of your potting soil. Then cover them with ⅛ of additional potting soil (3 mm). Provide just enough water to keep the top ¼ of soil moist (6 mm). Place the pot on a warm windowsill that receives plenty of light. Basil seeds sprout best when the temperature is between 75 and 85℉ (24–29℃). So, choose the warmest room in your home. As long as the soil is kept moist and warm, the seeds will sprout in one week.

Thin the Basil

Once your basil sprouts grow to one inch tall (25 mm), it’s time to thin them out. Usually, basil is ready for this process two weeks after planting, or about one week after you see the first sprouts emerge. At this time, remove all but the two strongest sprouts. You can plant the weaker ones in additional pots, or use them as sweet basil microgreens.

Provide Water

Once your basil has started to establish itself, gradually reduce the watering frequency. While basil seeds need water every few days to keep the soil moist, more mature basil typically needs water once per week. However, basil may need more frequent water in hot or dry conditions. So, it’s best to feel the soil surface. If it is dry to the touch, water until excess water begins to trickle from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. For more advanced watering tricks, read our guide on basil water requirements.

Give Your Basil Enough Light

In order to provide full basil sun exposure, you’ll need to make sure your basil gets six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. This is extremely hard to provide naturally when growing indoor basil. So, it’s best to supplement natural light with this grow light designed for potted plants. In addition to sunlight, expose your basil to four hours from the grow light in summer. In winter, double or triple the grow light exposure so your basil remains healthy through all seasons.

Feed Your Basil

In order to support continued growth, basil needs additional nutrients. The best way to provide these nutrients is by feeding basil with this liquid fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer once each month to keep your basil at its best. This will help your basil grow large enough that you can harvest fresh leaves for your kitchen whenever you wish.

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Harvest Your Basil

Once your basil is two months old or 8 inches tall (20 cm), you can begin to harvest the leaves. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off leaves where they meet the main stem. Then, trim off any portions of bare stem. It’s essential to remove top leaves—not bottom leaves—during harvest. Taking leaves from the top stimulates more growth. Harvesting lower leaves will cause the plant to become thin and sickly. Take only what you need and allow your basil to bounce back after each harvest.

Repot Growing Basil

As your basil matures, it needs to be moved to progressively larger containers. Once you see white roots growing out from the drainage holes in the bottom of your pot, it’s time to repot your basil. Also, if the soil in the pot dries out quickly between waterings, your basil needs repotting. Choose a pot one inch (25 mm) larger in diameter than the new pot. Over time, your basil may need to be repotted more than once.

How Do You Keep Basil Alive Indoors?

To keep basil alive and healthy indoors, follow these steps:

  • Fill a 4-inch-wide by 6-inch-deep pot (10 by 15 cm) with potting soil.
  • Sprinkle basil seeds into the pot and cover them.
  • 2 weeks after planting, remove all but the 2 strongest sprouts.
  • Water your basil once weekly.
  • Provide your basil with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Add organic fertilizer monthly to keep your basil growing strong.
  • Begin harvesting fresh basil leaves after 2 months of growth.
  • Once your basil’s roots begin to grow out of the pot’s drainage holes, repot it in a larger container.

With this method, you can keep indoor basil alive for over a year. Indoor growing keeps basil healthy and productive for much longer. So, it’s definitely worth cultivating this delicious herb in your home.

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