How Do I Grow Basil Seeds?

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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 11 January 2019
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Also known as ocimum basilicum, basil is a versatile herb that can be used in many dishes for extra flavor. Basil seeds are fairly easy to grow, provided they are planted in a rich soil and receive a good amount of sunshine. The seeds generally germinate in about one to two weeks and can be sewn indoors or outdoors. When harvested every couple of weeks, basil plants are able to provide a continuous supply of fresh basil throughout the summer months.

The risk of frost should be over when planting basil seeds outdoors. When starting the seeds indoors, however, they can be planted at any time and be transplanted into the garden when the risk of frost is over. They can also be kept in pots indoors on a windowsill or under an artificial lighting system. The seeds should be covered with a thin layer of soil or compost and kept moist until they germinate. After the basil seeds have come up and started growing, they can be thinned out to about 12 inches (30 centimeters) apart.

It is a good idea to gently break up the roots prior to transferring the basil plants from a pot into the garden. The garden soil should be pressed firmly around the plant but never packed because that will stunt the root system and plant growth. Even though basil seeds are easy to grow, there are several diseases to watch out for, such as black spot, botrytis, and fusarium wilt.


Basil seeds should be planted in an area of the garden that drains well in order to promote healthy root systems. If growing basil in pots, they should have at least one draining hole. You can also place a small layer of gravel or small stones on the bottom of the pot to prevent the roots from sitting in water. The plants should be watered on a regular basis; however, it is just as important not to over water. Compost and other fertilizers can be used in moderation to help the herb grow.

The harvesting of basil can begin as soon as the stems have grown several inches. To reduce the stress on the plant, only harvest a few stems at a time, and make sure to leave enough of the stem for it to develop new growth. Basil produces flowers that prevent the rest of the plant from growing at its maximum rate. Therefore, removing the flowers throughout the growing season will ensure a good crop. When harvest is over, the basil plants can be dug up and brought indoors for winter harvesting, or they can be allowed to go to seed in order to obtain enough basil seeds for future planting.



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