Indoor gardening is currently one of the hottest trends. It fits with the lifestyle of busy people, inculcating productivity, ease, and nature into a refreshing activity. Of the many plants that are adaptable to indoor gardening, one of the most preferred is basil. Not only does the herb add a distinct stylistic element to your home, but its many benefits are an added plus. Here, we’ll tell you the A to Z of how to grow basil indoors. And if you want to know more about herbs, check out our other article – How to Grow Herbs Indoors? (In The Comfort Of Your Home).
Basil – The Basics
Basil is a globally renowned culinary herb that packs in a flavourful punch. It’s a favorite amongst indoor gardeners, owing partly to its qualities and the ease of growing it.
Also known as Saint Joseph’s Wort, the basil is known for its medicinal properties. To name a few, the plant holds anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antibacterial properties. It also helps with digestion and is known to clear up skin from the inside out by removing impurities. Basil is also an excellent supplement for those with diabetes or liver problems.
Apart from its health benefits, the basil herb is familiar in Italian cuisine. It’s used in sauces or as garnishing on savory dishes. Other cuisines, such as Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese, also make use of basil in their meals; it’s a versatile plant! Oh, and it also keeps the mosquitoes away! What a great choice in your indoor plant collection!
How To Grow Your Own Basil Indoors – The Essentials
Ensure that your basil plant is provided with the best possible care to let it flourish. If you’re new to indoor gardening, then it’s essential to follow the recommended method. Although basil is pretty easy to grow, it does need a certain degree of care and dedication.
Here’s how to grow basil indoors in a pot:
- Basil grows best when placed in pots measuring four to six inches (about 10 to 15 cm). Start by packing nutrient-rich soil or potting mix with a neutral pH into such a container and mist with water. Seeds should then be spread on the surface layer and covered with a thin coating of soil. Press down to compact the soil and water a little bit.
- You should then place the plant in a warm area that is clear from draft or sudden temperature changes. You should rotate the pot to ensure similar growth conditions on all sides. If leaves have white spots, that means they need less sunlight than they are currently receiving.
- Basil is happiest when kept moist, but not wet. If the plant appears to be short on space, snip away some sprigs and use them in your daily cooking. Both the plant and your tummy will delight!
- Usually, basil starts to sprout after one month, and after two, there is enough in quantity to be cut and used in cooking. If your plant looks wilting or pale, then spruce it up with some fertilizer.
- When it comes to harvesting, basil doesn’t have any exact harvesting time. It does well both with random or periodic clippings; it depends on your personal needs and preferences. Although, it’s still a good idea to cut away any flowers that grow on the plant as they tend to take away nutrition from the leaves.
Growing Basil Indoors – The Specifics
So, you know how to sow and take care of your basil plant. But, these are only the basics. Your plant also needs specific growth conditions for it to flourish at its best.
Here’s the rundown:
1. Let It Shine!
Basil grows best in abundant sunlight. If they get access to the sun through placement near a south-facing window, then you should ensure that they soak up its rays at least four hours a day. Or, if you choose to grow your basil plant under a fluorescent grow light, then the time should be twelve hours a day. You should place the light at a distance of two to four inches (about 5 to 10 cm) and ensure that there is no contact to prevent burning. Whatever lighting option you select, it should conduce a temperature of around 70°F (about 21°C) degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Don’t Hold Back On Moisture!
Basil stays happy when you keep it moist. They should be watered near the base with care being taken not to drench the leaves. Regular misting is also a good idea as this will keep the plant fresh and full of life. Despite their love towards the water, it’s possible to overwater this plant, which usually means those white spots.
Basil is a simple plant, which is why it does best without much additives. Apart from a watered-down liquid fertilizer, it’s advisable to keep the soil or potting mix as close to its natural state as possible. Too fertile soil often results in basil losing the intensity of its flavor.
Additionally, basil grows best when spaced twelve to sixteen inches (about 30 to 40 cm) apart from each other. This, in turn, gives them ample surface area to expand and flourish.
Indoor Basil – The Types
The basil is a plant that grows in many different varieties, and all of them have separate, distinct features.
Here are some of the most loved varieties:
1. Sweet Basil
Amongst the most common type of basils, sweet basil is common in sauces and salads. Recognizable from its green color and rounded leaves, this basil variety is also apt at warding off mosquitoes.
2. Genovese Basil
Genovese basil has a stronger taste and aroma and is commonly used to make pesto. It has large, flat, and pointed leaves that are in a dark green shade.
3. Thai Sweet Basil
With its spicy flavor, Thai sweet basil is a favorite amongst Asian dishes such as Thai basil chicken or spicy sesame noodles. This plant grows with purple flowers, adding an aesthetic element to your home.
4. Purple Basil
The purple basil has a magnificent burgundy shade that brings some variation to the regular basil color – green. It inhibits a more aromatic clove flavor that is wonderful when added to kinds of vinegar or oils. It also lends striking color to your culinary creations. Recognizable because of its color, the purple basil has large leaves that grow to an inch and a half (about 4 cm).
5. Lemon Basil
This basil variety is gaining popularity. A tall plant, the lemon basil usually grows to a height of a foot and a half (about 46 cm). It has a strong citrusy, lemony scent that pairs well with cold drinks, teas, grilled vegetables, desserts, and poultry marinades.
6. Lettuce Basil
The lettuce basil has a unique appearance amongst the basil family with its large, wrinkled, and floppy leaves. It contains a mild flavor that pairs well with salads and fresh dishes such as lettuce wraps.
Growing Basil Indoors – The Products That Come To Rescue
So, you know how to care for your basil plant, but there are also certain products that you can invest in to enhance that care. Not only will these help you get a healthier plant, but they will also make the gardening process easier. Here are some of the best:
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, in conclusion, it means that if you click on the link and buy the product, we’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links are one of the ways that keep Ryhom.com alive.
1. This Indoor Herb Garden By Hoctor
The Hoctor Indoor Herb Garden is the perfect home for your basil plant. Fitted with eight-Watt LED grow lights, the environment is conducive to sustain basil growth without the need for natural sunlight. Not only does this speed up photosynthesis, making your plant grow faster, but it also means that you are able to grow plants all year round, regardless of the season.
The Hoctor Indoor Herb Garden houses automatic watering and fertilizing functions, taking away all the hassle that the gardening process holds. The only things you are required to do is fill up the container with water and switch it on, that’s a perfect feature for both busy people and holiday-makers. The herb garden also has a built-in alert system that signals when water levels are low.
The Hoctor Indoor Herb Garden is a hydroponics-based growth system. This means that it removes the mess that comes with soil-based gardening. All you need are seeds, water, and fertilizer, and you’re ready to start the basil growing process.
Get it from Amazon.
2. Then There Is This Indoor Gardening Kit By iDeer Life
The iDeer Life Indoor Gardening Kit is a complete indoor gardening solution. This hydroponics-based system is a high efficiency, and smart control grow center that produces high-quality herbs, making it a perfect choice for your basil plant. Its soilless nature safeguards your plants against soil and metal contamination as well as an infestation.
The indoor gardening system can accommodate up to twelve plants at once, allowing you to add diversity to your plant collection. Fitted with customized 24-Watt LED grow lights that have a lifespan of over 30,000 hours, the system enhances photosynthesis and leads to faster plant growth. Housed in an all-natural bamboo frame, the system not only has an elegant look, but it is also a great alternative to plastic.
iDeer Life’s indoor gardening kit has water and light settings that are self-regulated automatically according to pre-entered instructions. It also sends out alerts when water levels are low. And the best part? The system comes complete with twelve planting sponges and baskets as well as a three-month supply of A+B plant nutrients.
Get it from Amazon.
3. This Hydroponics Growing System By VegeBox
The VegeBox Hydroponics Growing System is one of the best indoor gardening options out there. The dual 21-Watt LED grow lights use new light technology to heighten photosynthesis and stimulate plant growth at a rate that is 1.5 times faster than the usual. This new technology makes use of tri-colored lights to enhance growth in plants.
The VegeBox growth system operates under a smart control technology that enables automatic functioning for water and light options. This makes matters more comfortable for the grower, but it also ensures that your plants don’t miss out on vital requirements in case of any interruptions. The growth kit will help you in every way, with the water container measuring at 1.2 liters requiring a refill only once every two weeks. The VegeBox system supports nine plants at once, which you can grow in three steps due to its water-based growth mechanism. Sow, germinate, and transplant to grow a healthy basil plant in only 25 days!
The best part is that the VegeBox hydroponics growing system comes as a complete indoor gardening set. It includes a measuring cup, sponges, tweezers, seedbox, nutrient water, and a plant hole cover. These are all the equipment you need to grow and tend your basil plant.
Get it from Amazon.
4. What Do You Think About This Hydroponic Indoor Gardening Pot By Botanium?
The Botanium gardening pot is the perfect fit for folks who don’t know the basics of gardening but want to grow a plant. It creates an environment that is right for basil to grow with its self-watering feature. Additionally, its self-watering ability also serves to make things easier for busy people. They no longer have to fear for their plant dying due to inadequate water levels because the Botanium pot will take care of all of that. Because it waters every third hour, this product keeps your basil plant well saturated.
The Botanium gardening pot features hydroponics-based growth that results in healthier plants. It also takes away all the mess related to soil-based planting. The capacity of the water container requires refilling only once every couple of weeks, adding further ease to the growth process. The water is reused more than once, making a point for water conservation in the dire time of today. The Botanium pot comes complete with fertilizer and growing medium, acting as an all-in-one package. The container comes in three colors; white smoke, laurel green, and ash grey, all will look great with basil leaves. Its minimalistic and sleek design has a fashionable touch that is sure to liven up any living space.
Get it from Amazon.
5. The LED Indoor Grow Light By Duomishu
For your basil plant to flourish, it must be placed in an environment that mirrors the natural world. With the Melophy LED grow light, you are one step closer to making this happen. With ten brightness options, the light is adaptable to the growing environment of many different plants. The flexibility of the Melophy Grow Light means that you can use it for several other plants.
With its 15 LEDs per light, the resultant spectrum is one that covers a 120-degree angle. Not only do these bulbs save on energy costs and emissions, but they are also a radiation-free light source that does not heat up with use. It uses a mix of red, blue, and red-blue light to create an environment that is supportive to a variety of plants, including basil.
The grow light features three different automatic timer settings that ease the indoor plant growing process and help conduce an environment that is appropriate to your plant’s stage of growth. The 360-degree rotatable expandable neck means that you can use the light to provide light for three separate plant arrangements at the same time, maximizing efficiency and reach. The product is certified under FCC, ROHS, CE, and PSE, adding a mark of guarantee and credibility to your selection. To ensure safety while operating the LED grow light, Melophy provides professional-grade gloves to safeguard against shock and burns.
Get it from Amazon.
6. This Simple Self Watering Indoor Planter By House Of Aster
The House of Asher Self Watering Indoor Planter is designed to grow basil, although it does support other plant varieties as well. Its constructed from recycled plant material, the planter prevents excessive heat damage reaching your plants. It comes complete with a set potting mix that consists of coconut coir, nutritious plant material that surrounds coconuts. Coconut coir is good at helping your plant maintain an adequate moisture level and lending its support to the growing process.
The House of Asher basil planter makes use of the cotton wicking mechanism to prevent overwatering by its self-watering system. Available in shades of green and blue, the planter is durable, sure to last for years. It rests on a solid iron base and measures about 7.5 inches tall (about 20 cm) when assembled. The basil planter comes complete with high-quality non-GMO basil seeds and hydroponic plant supplements. And the best part? The entire packaging is 100% compostable!
Get it from Amazon.
7. “Start From The Scratch” – Get These Basil Seeds By Gaea’s Blessing Seeds
Gaea’s Blessing basil seeds are both organic and non-GMO certified, making them a nutritious and safe fit for regular consumption. They hold a germination rate of 87%, so these seeds give great value for your money, time, and work. These particular basil seeds are of the tulsi, sacred, and holy basil variety, which grow to produce a sweet flavor, ideal for use in home cooking, and as a tea additive. This variety of basil carries a range of medicinal benefits such as improving the immune system, increasing oxygen supply to the brain, and treating conditions such as acne, eczema, ringworm, and insect bites.
The best part is that Gaea’s Blessing ensures safe and natural seeds, giving a sense of guarantee that people will consume natural produce. Bound under the Safe Seed Pledge, they have vowed to only supply seeds that are free from all sorts of genetic modification.
Get it from Amazon.
8. If The Times Get Tough, Get Yourself This Insect And Disease Control Solution By Mom’s Garden Secret
The Mom’s Garden solution is a unique formula designed to keep your plants free of insect infestations, fungal infections, and other diseases. The two in one method is ideal for indoor plants, including basil, and ensures that your plant grows up to be healthy and sturdy. The solution is safe for all, including children, pets, and the environment.
The chemical-free solution is versatile in that you can use it on a wide variety of plants, including organic indoor gardens. It also accommodates ease of use; spray it on to your plant, and it will work its wonder. Available in four-ounce bottles, the solution is likely to last a good two or so months.
Get it from Amazon.
Will Basil Grow Indoors And Can I Grow It Indoors All Year Round?
You can grow basil indoors all year round (even in winter), but it’s not that easy. The reason for this is because basil is a demanding plant that needs a lot of sunlight, a warm growing environment, and nutritious soil to grow well.
But when you grow indoors, it’s pretty easy to “tick all these boxes.”
- Temperature – To give your plants a warm growing environment, you need to ensure that you’re room temperature is optimal for growing. Basil needs AT LEAST 50°F (about 10°C), which is pretty easy to do because no one wants to have an indoor temperature this cold. But most professional growers have noticed that the optimal growing temp for basil is somewhere between 72 and 83°F (about 22 and 28°C).
- Nutritious Soil – Basil needs well-drained soil, which means that you should add a little bit of compost to the soil at the beginning of the growth to ensure that it gets the nutrients it needs to grow into a flavorful herb. But remember that giving too much nutritious compost or other fertilizer means that basil might lose a bit of its flavor.
Our source for our “nutritious soil” section above was this “Kitchn” article.
And The Last One…
- Sunlight – In the winter, it’s impossible to grow plants outside because everything is frozen, but when you’re growing inside – it’s possible. The only downside is that you can’t create more sunlight inside. Or can you? Because basil needs at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day, it might be hard to do this in some regions in winter. But, there are grow lights if you’re worried that your basil plant doesn’t receive enough sunlight.
Why Does My Basil Plants Keep Dying?
If you want to bring wilted basil back to life, you need to make sure that from now on, you give it the type of care it requires. Let’s have a closer look at the most common issues and how to prevent them:
- Right Type Of Watering! – As a grower, you need to make sure that you water the right way. Basil is a plant that has particular watering needs, and moist soil is what it needs. Water once a week, but if that’s not enough (if the soil seems too dry at the end of the week), water twice a week. Keep in mind, though, that basil doesn’t like to sit in puddles!
But as we’ve talked before here in Ryhom, the best way to determine if your plant needs watering – TEST IT WITH YOUR FINGER!
- Remember To Prune! – If you notice that your basil plant starts to produce flowers, start pruning! Because once it starts to flower, the plant will lose its excellent flavor, which is the whole reason for growing it. Pruning the plant is also a great way to prevent the basil from wilting and the best part – you can use the cut parts in cooking!
What was our source for this answer? Well, of course, this great article by SFGate that contains more great info that you’ll want to read if your basil has a wilting issue.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Basil Indoors?
I know that we humans are a bit impatient, but as always, patience is rewarded. The first number that is useful to remember is that basil seeds need about eight to 14 days to germinate. The second and the most important thing to remember is this – it usually takes between 50 to 75 days to get fresh harvest-ready basil. Wanna know more? Take a look at this article at SFGate!
There you have it; the complete comprehensive guide on how to grow basil indoors within the comfort of your own home! So, what are you waiting for? Break out the tools and get gardening, and in no time at all, you’ll be able to enjoy grown basil with your meals.
Featured image credit – © marcin jucha – stock.adobe.com