Basil: A Flavorful Herb That Looks Great in Containers

Grow from seeds in a sunny spot by themselves or in combination with other edible plants.
From: DK Books - Grow Plants in Pots
Basil Mixes Well with Veggies and Flowers

Basil Mixes Well with Veggies and Flowers

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

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.

Next Up

Rx for Unhappy Herbs: How to Help Your Basil Bounce Back

Even the most tenacious, drought-tolerant herbs have their limit.

How to Plant an Herb Container Garden

Herbs have been grown all over the world for centuries for their flavor and healthful benefits. Learn how to plant an herb container garden.

Grow Guide: Reviving Basil

Without a warm greenhouse, your best choice for growing this sun- and warmth-loving summer annual during the winter is in a sunny window.

The Best Herbs for Container Gardening

Most common herbs adapt easily to life in containers, so if you have room for a few potted plants outside, try a small herb garden.

An Herb Garden for Birds and Bees

Herbs are naturally aromatic and many are highly favored by honeybees and other insects. Learn how you can have your own garden perfect for birds and bees.

Potager Herb Garden

Groups of symmetrically arranged raised beds provide an easy and attractive way to cultivate a wide range of herbs without having to set foot on the soil. Learn how to grow your own potager herb garden.

Planting an Herb Pot

A single pot can provide a home for an exciting range of aromatic herbs for your kitchen or patio.

Start a Mason Jar Herb Garden

Move your herb garden indoors using recycled canning jars.

How to Plant an Herb Bed

Forget your spice cabinet, and grow your very own herbs with this step-by-step planting guide.

5 Types of Garden Containers

Learn about a few basic types of containers that you can use to make the most of your growing efforts.