Basil is one of the easiest and most popular plants to grow. Not only does it serve as a delicious addition to meals, but it also makes a great houseplant, ingredient for lotions, and bragging right to friends.
For gardeners who do not have access to outdoor space, prefer the comfort of their own home, or are beginners, this is a great plant to start with.
How to Grow Basil Indoors: Environment
As long as they are exposed to enough light, basils will thrive in their environment. For optimum results, make sure that your basil has:
- Light: Expose your basil plant to four or more hours of sunlight each day. If you are using fluorescent bulbs, keep them on 12 hours and 2-4″ away from the plant. To prevent burning, do not let the leaves touch the bulbs.
- Soil: Use a loose, well-drained potting mix.
- Water: Keep your basil plant regularly moist, misting often and watering at the first sign of wilting.
- Fertilization: During its growth period, apply weak liquid fertilizer weekly.
How to Grow Basil Indoors: Germination
Basil seeds germinate readily, with most types propagating in approximately 5 days at 80 degrees (temperatures lower than this will increase propagation time). After two weeks of growing your seedlings, move them into a 4-inch pot.
Varieties of Basil
The kind of basil most familiar to gardeners is the Genovese Basil, which has small white flowers and bright green leaves. However, there are more than a dozen varieties of this plant, including Thai basil, lemon basil, lime basil, Greek basil, and lettuce basil. Explore with different varieties to bring diversity to your garden.
Tips for Growing Basil as a Houseplant
As mentioned previously, basil is an easy plant to grow. As a bonus, it also remains mostly disease and pest-free. However, there are ways to optimize your herbs development.
- Do not Hesitate to Prune: Basil plants respond well to pruning and topping, so do not hesitate to cut a few off the top as you see the plant establish and branch out.
- Snip Its Flowers: As the plant flowers, its taste may become stronger. If you notice flower buds (usually 75 days after planting), cut them away to prolong your basil's vegetative state. If it does flower, it will still be edible, but taste bitter.