How to Plant Basil in Pot – All you Need to Know

In this article, you will find in detail all the necessary information so that you can plant basil in pot and we will guide you step by step so that you do not fail in the attempt. Learn all about how to plant Basil in pot.

Main Characteristics of Basil

Basil is a plant that comes from the tropical regions of Central Africa and Southeast Asia. It is an annual crop and belongs to the Lamiaceae family.

This plant grows to be about 12” to 24” (30 to 60 cm) tall.

It is characterized by its intense green color and its numerous medicinal and culinary properties. In addition, its intense aroma serves to protect other plants of our crop from different pests.

Basil seeds are very small in size, smaller than a peppercorn. They are black and come from the flowers that the plant produces.

When to Plant Basil in Pot

The best time of the year to plant it is in the spring. Between August and October in the southern hemisphere and in the northern hemisphere between February and April.

Once sown, Basil usually takes between 5 and 8 days to germinate depending on the temperatures at the time of the year it was sown.

when to plant basil in pot
Oregano and Basil in the same pot.

What Kind of Substrate Does Basil Need?

It requires a substrate for seedlings, which is composed of fertile, deep, and aerated soil.

The substrate for seedlings is composed of 3 components. The first one is sphagnum peat moss, another alternative to peat is coconut fiber. This component is going to be used in 70% of the total of the mixture. Its main function will be to retain water and provide moisture to the soil.

The second ingredient is the perlite, an alternative if we do not get perlite can be the vermiculite. The proportion that we are going to use in this case is 15% of the total of the mixture, this is going to be in charge of aerating the soil.

The last component that we are going to be using is the worm humus, which is going to be composed of the remaining 15% of the mixture. The humus will be the fertilizer in charge of providing the necessary nutrients.

What Are the Ideal Temperatures for Plant Basil in Pot?

Basil likes warm environments and does not tolerate extreme cold or frost. Its ideal temperature is between 59 and 77°F (15 and 25°C), the cold from 28.4°F (-2°C) stops its development.

How Much Light Does Basil Need?

When talking about how much light Basil needs, it is necessary to be aware of the time of the year in which we are. In summer it is advisable to put it in an area where it is in semi-shade, especially at midday, since they suffer a lot from the direct sun of these hours.

Outdoors we must provide at least 6 to 8 hours of direct or indirect sunlight taking into account the above mentioned and in case we want to have them indoors under artificial light, they must have at least 10 to 12 hours of cold light (4200° kelvin).

how much light does basil need
Basil on our balcony.

How Much Watering Does Basil in Pot Need?

Watering should be moderate, every 2 or 3 days depending on the time of the year. In summer watering should be more frequent than in winter. It needs humid soils but is not waterlogged since its roots do not support soils with excess humidity.

We recommend watering directly on the soil without wetting the leaves, otherwise, we can cause them to rot or fungus and always do it in the late afternoon or evening.

What Pot Does Basil Need?

To know how to plant Basil in pot, the choice of pot is very important. Basil is a plant that does not need a large pot size, it can even share a pot with other plants. It is advisable to have a pot that allows it to untangle the roots correctly so that it can have abundant foliage.

The minimum pot size that we recommend is 6” (15 cm) in-depth and diameter, while the ideal size would be about 8” (20 cm) in height and diameter.

Now, once we know what size we need, the next thing we have to know is what kind of material is available and what things we have to take into account when we go to buy a pot for Basil. The most common materials for pots are plastic, clay, cement, and wood. Whatever material you choose for your pot, the important thing is that they have at least 5 drainage holes.

potted basil our garden

How to Plant Basil in Pot Step by Step

The ideal way to plant it is in seedbeds, although we can also do it directly in the soil of the garden or its definitive pot.

To sow Basil correctly and be successful, the first thing we are going to do is to place our seedbed substrate previously moistened with water in the seedbed, leaving 0.4” (1 cm) before reaching the edge of the seedbed.

The second step is to take a handful of seeds (approximately 5 to 10 seeds) and spread them gently over the seedbed separated from each other, to avoid that once they grow roots and stems touch each other.

Then we are going to cover them with a thin layer of a substrate. We recommend that to do this, you take a little of the moistened substrate with your two hands and stick them together, and rub gently so that it falls in an irregular and dispersed form in the seedbed.

Once this is done, we must water the seedbed, for this, we recommend that you use a sprinkler, since it will avoid that the seeds move and end up going to the bottom of the seedbed and causing them not to germinate.

Once the plant develops the first 4 leaves, which will be approximately when it is 2” to 3” (5 to 7 cm) high, it should be repotted to its definitive place, either in a pot or in the garden. For repotting as with watering we recommend doing it after the sun goes down in the late afternoon. Once in its new place we must water it, let it grow, and prune it to a height of 10” (25 cm) approximately.

how to plant basil in pot
Basil and Oregano in the same pot.

How to Care for Basil in Pot

Basil requires some essential care like most plants, i.e. fertile soil, adequate watering, and light. The greatest care must be taken to protect them from cold, frost, and wind. Excess water can also be a problem, so it is advisable to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Therefore, it is best to ensure good drainage.

When they are in seedbed, we can protect them from low temperatures by placing a transparent bag. This should cover the seedbed well to create a greenhouse effect.

About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgan family, Henry, and Morgan, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.