Basil: A Flavorful Herb That Looks Great in Containers
Start these half-hardy annuals off from seed sown in late winter or early spring. Fill a 3 in (7.5cm) pot with seed compost, firm down, and sow a few basil seeds of your favorite variety over the top.
Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite, water carefully, and pop it into a propagator. If you don’t have one, cover the pot with a small, clear plastic bag and secure with a rubber band.
After germination, remove from the propagator or plastic bag. Keep the compost moist, and when the seedlings have four or five leaves, transfer to 3in (7.5cm) pots, placing two or three basil seedlings in each. Move to larger pots when roots show through the drainage holes at the bottom. Wait until the temperature warms to 50°F (10°C) before moving plants outside.
Varieties to Try
Consider 'Aristotle', 'Genovese', 'Lime', 'Neapolitan', 'Purple Ruffles', 'Sweet Green' and 'Siam Queen'.
Keeping Plants Productive
Basil will continue to produce fresh leaves until the end of the summer if you transfer plants into larger containers when you see roots through the holes at the bottom of their current pot.
Keep plants bushy and productive by pinching off the stem tips regularly, and remove flowers. Feed plants once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer, and water in the morning.