How to Grow Basil from Seed: 10 Simple Tips

Have you ever been interested in learning How to Grow Basil from Seed?

Do you think it’s too hard?

Or are you unsure of how to start?

Or where to go for the best information?


Well, I have great news!

I have created 10 SIMPLE Tips on How to Grow Basil from Seed so that you can enjoy this tasteful herb all year, no matter where you live.

Choose These 5 Basil Types (Tips #1)

Are you interested in basil for a garnish? How about pesto? Or maybe for its herbal remedies.

There are more ways to use basil than you can count. But in order to have the most success with the uses of basil, you have to identify the correct type to grow.

I am recommending five general types of Basil Plants when learning how to grow basil from seed. 

These are the easiest basil to grow from seed and plant. Also, these five provide the most uses.

1. Sweet Basil

sweet basil
Buy on Amazon

Sweet Basil is the most common basil in the entire world. This is typically what you see in your average grocery store.

This type of basil is great in pestos, salads, and marinades.

Sweet Basil is an annual herb that grows 12 to 18 inches and is ready 60-90 days after planting your seeds.

Best of all is that you can grow this basil in a pot, raised garden bed, and traditional garden.

2. Genovese Basil

genovese basil
Buy on Amazon

Genovese Basil is also known as classic Italian basil. This is another popular basil among chefs and gardeners.

Genovese basil has a stronger flavor that is bolder and sweeter than most basil.

This basil can be used with olive oil, pesto, and on salads.

This type of basil is an annual herb that grows 18 to 24 inches. It also is ready to pick 60-90 days after you plant your seeds.

3. Thai Sweet Basil

thai basil
Buy on Amazon

Thai Sweet Basil is famous for its spicy, licorice flavor it adds to Asian dishes.

One of the biggest advantages of sweet Thai basil is that it retains its flavor in high temperatures.

This type of basil is an annual herb that grows to be 14 inches high. It takes 60-90 days to mature and is perfect for small pots and gardens.

4. Purple Basil

purple basil
Buy on Amazon

“Purple” Basil has a beautiful, dark burgundy color.

This type of basil is not as sweet as other basil types, but it has a stronger clove.

The leaves of this herb are perfect to be added to vinegar and dishes.

This type of purple basil is an annual herb that grows to 10-12 high. Like the other basil on this list, it can be picked 60-90 after seeds have been planted.

5. Lemon Basil

lemon basil
Buy on Amazon

Lemon Basil is another popular type that is used in numerous restaurants across the world.

You will typically find this in big box stores and nurseries.

Lemon Basil tastes like sweet basil, but with a slight lemon taste.

Most gardeners use this type of basil with fish, salads, and garnishes.

This type of basil is an annual herb that grows 12-18 inches tall. It also can be picked 60-90 days after seeds have been sowed.

Purchase the BEST Garden Supplies (Tips #2-5)

2. Purchase the Right Seed

When learning how to grow basil from seed the seed itself is the most important supply.

While vegetables typically have numerous types of seeds like organic, heirloom, GMO, etc. basil plants typically grow from your traditional seed or organic.

Whether you purchase organic seeds or traditional seeds you will have the same results. There is no benefit to your health and your harvest will be no different.

What is important is where you purchase your basil seeds from.

If you want seeds that come from reputable companies at a reasonable price and with quick delivery then you want to purchase them from Amazon.

3. Buy 2 Types of Containers

Once you purchase your seeds you will need at least 1 type of pot to start your basil and two types of pots if you want to garden all year.

I typically don’t recommend planting your seeds directly into the soil because disease, pests, and mother nature will damage or destroy too many of them.

Instead, I recommend starting off your seed in 3-inch pots. My suggestion is GrowKo Peat Pots.

Next, you’ll want a much larger pot if you do not plan on transplanting your basil into a garden.

The reason for this is that 3 inch pots are great for seeds and starting small plants, but cannot sustain the root growth needed for basil leaf growth.

I recommend: Viagrow 5 Gallon Nursery Pot

4. Buy These Garden Tools!

While containers and seeds are the only two essential tools you need when learning how to grow basil from seed there are other garden tools that will make your life easy.

Of the most basic, but handiest garden supplies to have is a good sprayer.

You want to use a good sprayer because hoses and cups will flood your seed rendering it useless.

I recommend: Tolco Spray Bottle 8 oz.

In addition, it is also great to have good garden utensils to help minimize dirt and disorganization.

If you want one of the best gardening tool sets then I recommend:

Vremi 9 piece tool set

And finally, you can’t grow basil seeds inside without a good grow light. If you have access to a warm sunny area for at least 8 hours a day you won’t need a grow light.

Most of us don’t have access to that much sunlight during the winter. And sometimes even if we do a grow light is just more effective for the best results.

I specifically recommend: Hydrofarm Grow Light

5. Buy Soil & Fertilizer

Just because you have the best seeds and a pot to start your basil doesn’t mean you’ll have success.

You want to make sure you have the correct soil and good fertilizer.

If you do not have the proper soil your seed will not fully grow and bare leaves. And while you can survive without fertilizer, a good mixture will help you get the most out of your basil plant.

While there are lots of soil you can buy, we will want to focus on the only one you need, potting mix.

Very simply, this soil will contain the right mixture of soil, sand, and nutrients needed for your Lavender seeds to grow healthy.

I am highly recommendingMiracle-Gro Potting Mix.

I am recommending this type of soil for a couple of reasons.

Everything you need to start seeds and provide your basil with the correct nutrients can be found in this soil.

And if you decide you want to transplant your basil plant to another pot you will not need to purchase a different type of soil.

In addition, you want to make sure you have a good fertilizer to help your basil grow as large and fruitful as possible.

I use and recommend: Miracle-Gro Plant Food

Why I like this type of fertilizer is that it provides everything your basil plant needs. And you won’t have to worry about the type of mixture to use or how to use it.

Best of all is that this type of fertilizer can be used on all your vegetable and herb plants!

How to Start Seeds Indoors (Tip #6)

When learning how to grow basil from seed you should almost always start your process indoors.

Step 1

You will want to start your basil seeds inside approximately 12 weeks before you plan on moving your basil into your garden or moving your larger container.

You want to first start by filling your 3 inches pot 80% full with your potting mix.

Next, you will want to spray the soil immediately after 5-10 times. You want the soil to be damp, but not soaked. You will know the soil is damp when it turns a dark brown color.

Step 2

Next, use the tip of a pencil and make a circular motion to form a tiny hole. This will be approximately 1/8 inch deep.

Then place 2 to 3 seeds into the hole and brush the soil over the seeds.

You will then spray the soil again 5 to 8 times. Moisten, but do not dampen the soil.

Step 3

After planting your seeds place your pots in direct sunlight or under your grow light. Your seeds will need approximately 8 hours of sunlight.

If you put your seeds under the grow light keep it approximately 4 inches from the bulb. Anything closer will burn the seeds. Anything further away with not provides enough heat and light.

You will also need to make sure the room temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the air temperature does not stay around this temperature then your seeds will not germinate or pop through the soil.

If you don’t have an area that will stay consistently around 70 degrees, I would recommend investing in a Plant Heating Mat.

A Plant Heating Mat is the perfect way to keep your pots and seeds at a consistent temperature that we may not otherwise be able to. The best part about a heat mat is you just plug it in and you are all set.

Step 4

After your initial planting, you will need to spray the soil once to twice a day. You will know it’s time to spray if the soil looks a light brown color or feels dry to the touch.

It will take approximately 10 days for your seeds to germinate or pop through the soil. Do not worry if it takes a few days later as each growing situation is different.

Step 5

Continue spraying your basil (as referred to step 4) over the next 4-8 weeks.

Once your basil reaches 3 inches tall you will either want to move them into your larger containers or move them outside.

If you move your basil plants into a larger container you can continue to water them twice a day until they are ready to be harvested.

You should only move your basil plants outside if the temperature is above freezing.

While basil plants are cold hardy plants, consistent frost will kill them.

You can view your hardy zone below to determine your first and last frost date of the year.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

When transplanting your basil plant into a garden you will want to dig a hole that is the size of your basil plant root ball (where the roots meet the soil). Next, cover it with soil and water it for 30 seconds.

It should also be noted that you will not need to thin your basil plant like you would with vegetables or herbs. Typically, 2-3 basil plants can grow in one pot without any problems. This will also give you the fullest harvest.

If you learn better watching a video then I recommend watching the below youtube tutorial:

How to Care for Basil (Tip #7)

Below are tips for caring for your Basil throughout the summer:

  • Healthy Soil & Fertilizer – Inspect your soil for fungus, pests, and weeds before you plant and throughout the summer.  Remove as needed.
  • Insects.  Specifically Japanese Beetles. They will destroy your basil in one day!!! If you don’t want beetles ruining all your hard work I recommend purchasing Sevin Bug Killer.
  • Water. Water once a week when planted outside. Too much water will not kill your basil but will stunt its growth.
  • Harvest Often & Early: One of the best ways to care for your basil is to harvest it often and early. This will help your basil to continue to grow and become healthier

How to Harvest Basil (Tip #8)

For every basil plant on this list, you can begin harvesting the leaves 60 to 90 days after your basil seeds pop through the soil.

Below are critical tips to remember when harvesting basil:

  • Harvest your basil plants under the leaves. Only harvest it when there are 2 to 3 leaves. This will allow more leaves to grow.
  • I highly recommend only harvesting 20% of your basil at a time. This will allow more leaves to grow at a faster rate.
  • After you harvest your basil leaves you will want to wash them, place them in a plastic bag, and store them in your fridge.

How to Store Basil (Tip #9)

There is nothing better than fresh basil. And the best part is that you can harvest your basil only when needing it, giving you the freshest basil!

But what happens if you have too much basil?

How do you store it?

The place way to store your basil leaves is to wash them, place them in a plastic bag where you remove all oxygen (by pressing on the bag after the leaves are inside), and storing them in your fridge.

If you plan on using the basil leaves within the next 24 hours you can also repeat the same process as above and leave them in a cool dark space in your house.

If you want to use your basil leaves in the future (1 week or longer after harvesting) then you can repeat the same process as above and store them in your freezer.

When storing basil leaves in your freezer than please use them within 6 months for the best taste.

BEST Basil Use Ideas (Tip #10)

So planting, caring, and harvesting basil plants is fun, but using basil is the best part!

Below, are a few of the uses of basil that are both easy and most enjoyable:

  • Creating essential oil: Basil oil can be used to reduce stress, is great for your skin, and can help repel mosquitoes.
  • Health: If you are interested in learning more about health remedies that basil can be used for, I highly recommend reviewing WebMD
  • Food: There are so many different uses, but if you want to learn my favorite ways to use fresh basil then check out: Food Network


After reading this article you should now have a much better idea on How to Grow Basil from seeds and how to have the greatest chance for success.

If you want to have the most success, I recommend these 10 SIMPLE Tips:

  1. Use one of the 5 recommended types of Basil for the best chance of success
  2. Buy the Correct Seeds. Organic or traditional doesn’t matter as much as where you purchase them from
  3. Buy two different types of containers to help allow your basil to grow to its fullest potential
  4. Garden tools aren’t essential, but they will make gardening easier!
  5. The correct soil and fertilizer can turn your basil from good to great
  6. There are only 5 simple steps for starting your seed in a pot and this should take less than 15 minutes
  7. Proper care for your basil will allow you to get the most harvest
  8. Harvesting basil leaves is an art and science. Never over-harvest
  9. Basil leaves can be stored in cool, dark places, the fridge, or even the freezer
  10. There are many great uses for basil leaves. Don’t be afraid to try different recipes

If you enjoyed this article then please read my other articles:

How to Grow Peppers from Seed

How to Grow Lavender from Seed

How to Grow Tomatoes from Seed

About the author