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How to Grow Basil at Home?

Posted by Vivek Maudgalya at

Growing basil indoors is easy. Container grown basil should be planted in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Sweet basil is a bushy annual, 1 to 2 feet high, with glossy opposite leaves and spikes of white flowers. Basil leaves are used in cooking, imparting their anise (licorice) flavor to dishes.

Basil plant

  1. Basil seeds are back in colour. The seedlings are fragile and damage easily during the transplanting process, so many gardeners prefer to start the plant from seed.
  2. Choose a terra cotta pot with proper drainage. Fill 3/4 of the container with soil. Allow the soil to remain loose; do not pack it into the container tightly. Tightly packed soil will make it difficult for your basil to take root. Basil likes rich, moist, but well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 7.
  3. Sow a few seeds an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cms) apart if using a round container. Scatter seeds along the length of the container if using a long window box.
  4. Cover the seeds with 1/4 inch (6 1/3 mm) of fine soil or compost. Do not pack the soil down. Germination will happen within a week. Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C.
  5. The plant should be 6 to 12 inches apart to ensure adequate room for growth. Remove unwanted seedlings. If you cannot provide enough natural sunlight for your basil, use fluorescent grow lights or specially designed high-intensity lights instead.
  6. Harvest leaves by pinching them from the stems any time after the young plants have reached a height of 6 to 8 inches.

Begin using the leaves as soon as the plant is large enough to spare some. Collect from the tops of the branches, cutting off several inches. Handle basil delicately so as not to bruise and blacken the leaves. 

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