Basil Plant Leaves
organic basil
(Image credit: fotogal)

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is often referred to as the king of herbs. Basil plants are certainly one of the most popular herbs grown in the home garden. Growing basil outdoors or in a container is very easy to do if you follow these simple steps for how to grow basil.

Tips for Growing Basil

Choose a location with great drainage. Whether you're growing basil outdoors in the ground or in a container, the drainage needs to be excellent.

Choose a location with good sun. Another important thing to remember for basil plant care is to choose a spot where the basil plants will get plenty of good sunlight.

Choose growing basil seeds or plants. Will you start by growing basil seeds or basil plants? Either option is very easy to do when growing basil outdoors.

  • If you choose growing basil seeds, scatter the seeds over the location that you have chosen and lightly cover with dirt. Water thoroughly. Thin to 6 inches (15 cm.) apart once the seedling come up.
  • If you choose growing basil plants, dig a small hole, tease out the root ball some, and plant the basil plant in the ground. Water thoroughly.

Wait until the temperature is right. When growing basil outdoors, it is very important to remember that basil is very sensitive to cold and even a light frost will kill it. Do not plant seeds or basil plants until all danger of frost has passed.

Harvest often. The trick on how to grow basil that is large and abundant is to harvest often. The more you harvest basil, the more the plant will grow. When harvesting, pinch off the stem right above where a pair of leaves are growing. After you harvest, two more stems will start to grow, which means twice the leaves next time you harvest!

Remove flowers. Once a basil plant flowers, the leaves start to lose their good flavor. If you remove any flowers, the leaves will get their good flavor back in just a day or so. As you can see, proper basil plant care is easy. Knowing how to grow basil will provide you with large amounts of this tasty herb.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.