How to Grow Basil Indoors

It's super easy to grow this zesty herb indoors!

On the coldest darkest days of winter, there is nothing like the smell of fresh basil to bring back the memory of summer in the garden. Enjoy basil right from your kitchen year-round with these simple steps!

Basil seedsBasil Seeds

Materials Needed for Growing Basil Indoors

Super seeds: Start with a bag of high-quality organic soil and a packet of seeds. I love our Organic Seed Starting Mix because it is so rich in nutrients that you won't need to add fertilizer for at least six weeks. One packet of genovese basil seeds will be enough to keep you well-stocked in basil plants, with plenty to share.

Perfect pots: You can use ordinary 4-6" pots for growing. However, if you use self-watering containers, such as our Pop-Out Pots, the soil will stay consistently moist and your plants will be happier, healthier and will grow faster. Check out the Seed Starting Buying Guide to find the right seed starting pots for you!

Bright lights: Basil thrives in a warm, bright location, such as a south-facing window that is sunny for most of the day. If you don't have a suitable window, use a grow light. There are lots of options. My favorite is our full-spectrum Bamboo Mini LED Grow Light Garden. The sleek, furniture-quality design allows me to grow robust, healthy plants anywhere in your home or office.

How To Grow Basil Indoors

Planting Basil Seeds Indoors

  1. Lightly moisten fresh potting mix and pack firmly into 4-6" pots. Pour some seeds into your palm, and sprinkle the soil surface with a few seeds. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and press gently to firm the soil. Water gently or use a mister.
  2. Place in a warm window with a southern exposure. Avoid drafty windows, or places where temperatures drop considerably at night. As the plants grow, rotate the pots to keep them from leaning in one direction, toward the light. If you are using grow lights, set a timer so that they are on for 14 hours a day. Place the lights a few inches above the seedlings.
    Thinning out basil seedlings with a scissorsUse scissors to thin crowded seedlings.

Caring For Basil Indoors

  1. Keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet.
  2. If the plants start to look crowded as they grow, use scissors to thin them out. Snip the extra seedlings at the soil line and enjoy them in a salad.
  3. Raise grow lights as the plants grow. If the plants look leggy, move the lights closer. If you see white spots on the leaves, the lights are too close.
  4. A month after planting, you can enjoy the aroma of basil by running your hands over the small leaves. Two months after planting, you may have enough basil leaves to make fresh pesto and impress your friends! If the leaves start looking pale green in color, start using liquid fertilizer, mixing at the rate recommended on the package. For continuous harvests, plant a batch of seeds every few weeks.

Last updated: 03/21/2024