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Potted basil for terraces, balconies, decks and indoors, too

Basil growing in a container pot.

Growing basil in pots is easy, and it is even a great idea to start growing potted basil in spring.

Basic Potted Basil facts

NameOcimum basilicum
Family – Lamiaceae
Type – herbs and spices

Height – 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – light, well-drained

Harvest – May to October

Forget about purchasing freeze-dried or packaged basil, go for fresh harvests straight from the windowsill to discover the true taste of basil.

Planting potted basil

Potted basil kept outdoors

If you’ve purchased your basil in a container, it’s preferable to re-pot it quickly because it grows fast.

You can also leave it in its original pot for a while for easy picking indoors or on a balcony.
What is best, though, for growing potted basil, is to repot immediately after purchasing in a larger pot. You can also pair it with other herbs in a summer planter.

Potted basil kept indoors

This plant is perfectly suited to indoor growing, or on a balcony, in pots or garden boxes.

Take care to water regularly so that the soil mix never dries up.

Sowing potted basil

Sow seeds directly in the final pot, starting in April in Southern regions and in May for other regions.

  • Prepare your soil mix to prevent damping off.
  • Sprinkle seeds around the pot and cover them with a thin layer of soil mix.
  • Put your seeds in a well-lit place, but avoid direct sunlight, especially during the hottest moments of the day.
  • Water regularly with a fine drizzle to sustain moisture in the soil mix.

Collecting and harvesting potted basil

Pot-grown basil leaves ready for the harvestYou can harvest basil leaves all spring and summer long.

Select larger leaves, and snip the entire stem off, so that new shoots can appear.

  • Make sure each plant still has at least one leafy stem left. If you cut them all back to a stump, it might not recover.

Growing potted basil

It is very easy to grow your basil inside your house, on a balcony or terrace.

What is the best season to plant basil in pots?

There isn’t any “better” season to grow basil indoors, even though it is more difficult get lush growth in winter. That’s when herb growing kits come in handy, especially those with supplemental lighting.

Usually it is added to summer meals. It is mostly grown from April to September-October, both indoors and outdoors.

Choose a sunny, well-lit space like a windowsill for instance.

  • Water as soon as the soil is dry.
  • Fertilize the soil for better productivity.

Growing basil from seedlings in a pot.

Excellent companion plants for potted basil

Potted basil does great with other herbs and plants, too. As long as its neighbors don’t overshadow it, that is. Good companion plants for potted basil include chives, oregano, parsley, for instance.

Learn more about basil

Native to India, basil spread to the Mediterranean region where it became a typical ingredient in most types of dishes, salads and sauces, owing to its unique taste.

Growing it is rather easy as long as basic rules are followed.

  • Choose a location that is sunny but not scorching.
  • Consistently moist soil, but not soggy.
  • Add fertilizer from May to August with special herb fertilizer.

Read also on herbs and spices:

Smart tip about potted basil

Basil can be frozen and its taste will virtually stay as delicious, even after several weeks.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Basil container (also on social media) by Monika under Pixabay license
Potted basil sprouts by GartenGoere under Pixabay license
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