7 Tips For Growing Basil Indoors - Backyard Boss
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7 Tips For Growing Basil Indoors

Nothing can compare to homegrown basil’s freshness, fragrance, and flavor. Besides being a culinary MVP, the vibrant green herb incorporates refreshing aesthetics into your kitchen counter. Fortunately, it is also probably the easiest, fuss-free herb to grow indoors

Basil plant has small, shiny, aromatic green leaves that grow in bunches. You can start the plant any time of the year indoors to keep your kitchen well-stocked. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey of growing basil indoors

1. Start with the Right Pot

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Basil is one of the many herbs that are suitable for container gardening. However, you need to be aware of the material you select for your plant. 

Terracotta or clay pots are great for growing herbs, including basil. While these pots dry out the soil faster, especially during winter, you can fix the issue by watering more often and keeping an eye on the soil. Contrarily, soil in a plastic pot stay wet for far longer, which could cause overwatering for your delicate herb plant. No matter what you choose, keep an eye on the soil and make sure to water when the top few inches are dry. 

Look for a pot 4 to 6 inches in diameter, as basil does not require a lot of space to produce its foliage. A smaller vessel is also easier to manage since you can keep it anywhere around your house. Finally, ensure your container has drainage holes to allow excess water to seep out. 

2. Choose the Best Soil

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Fill a pot with well-draining, rich soil to plant basil. Supplement the nutrients by mixing in compost, coffee grounds, or green tea. Add perlite or peat moss to improve drainage and aeration and keep the pH between 6 to 7.5 for a happier plant.   

Pro tip: You can also use a soft, spongy, well-draining, soilless potting mix for herbs, which a fast grower like basil will appreciate. 

3. Determine Your Growing Method

basil plant growing in vase
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Depending on how much effort and time you want to put into growing this herb, you can grow basil from seed or a small basil stem.

To grow from seeds, take a pot filled with seed compost and sow your seeds. Moisten the soil, provide a temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and allow the seeds to germinate. The other option is to purchase a small plant from your local nursery. But, before bringing it home, check that the plant is healthy and disease and pests free.  

You can also grow it from stem cuttings. Remove a piece of stem, with three to four leaves, from an existing plant and place it in a vase of water. Once roots appear, you can plant your newly grown basil in soil. 

4. Pick the Perfect Spot

basil in sunlight
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Once your seedling or small plant is safely nestled in the soil, you need to relocate it to a spot with abundant sunshine. Basil thrives on a sunny windowsill with at least six hours of direct sun daily. 

It will also benefit from good airflow and ventilation to keep fungal infections at bay. If there is a lack of air circulation in your room, turn on a regular fan at its lowest speed, and direct it towards the plant. Keep the fan on for one to two hours every day.   

5. Water the Plant

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Basil prefers moist soil to grow and thrive. Generally, watering your basil plant twice a week will suffice, but use the soil dryness as a cue for better guidance. Environmental conditions, such as the amount of light, humidity, and temperature, can affect how quickly the soil dries out. 

The best way to determine that your plant is ready for watering is to check the top 1 inch of the soil and irrigate the plant if it feels dry. Aim the watering can’s spout at the base of the plant to soak the roots and prevent the leaves from getting wet. 

6. Prune for Success

pruning shears with flowers
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Snip your basil plant routinely for a healthier plant laden with flavorful foliage. The herb tends to get leggy, which is the last thing you want, so prune it to encourage more prolific growth. Additionally, remove any yellowing, weak leaves to allow the plant to direct all its energy toward growing new, healthy leaves.  

The plant also occasionally produces flowers that do more harm than good. Once the flowers appear, the foliage stops proliferating. So, it is best to snip off the flowers just below the bud as soon as they make an appearance so the plant can direct its energy towards supplying you with flavorful leaves. 

7. Harvest Your Herb

woman pruning basil
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You can start harvesting basil leaves as soon as the plant is at least 6 inches tall or has two sets of six leaves. It is one of those plants that benefit from regular harvesting, as snipping the leaves encourages the plant to grow more So, take as you please! 

Use a sharp knife or scissors to make a clean cut just above the leaf node early in the morning when the flavor is most potent. Finally, leave behind at least two leaves to allow the plant to continue to grow and last longer.    

 It’s Basil Time!

There are numerous benefits of growing basil at home. You get fresh herb supplies for your salad, pizza, and pesto. It looks stunning as an ornamental plant gracing your kitchen. Most importantly, you never have to compromise on the taste again!

So, when are your starting your basil plant? Share below in the comments!