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Why Grow It

Basil is one of the most popular plants to grow at home. This compact herb can grow from seed to harvest on a windowsill indoors, making it ideal for any urban GIYer. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love some fresh basil to add to a summer tomato dish or some homemade pesto – the smell alone can brighten up any kitchen.

  • Sow seeds anytime from April to June.
  • Sow one seed in a module tray or small pot.
  • Basil likes a Mediterranean climate, so either grow it indoors in a pot, in a glasshouse or a polytunnel, or on a sunny windowsill.
  • Basil will germinate in about two weeks.
  • Transplant into a larger pot or the ground when it is about 7–10cm high.
  • If planting in the garden, allow 30cm between plants.
  • If growing indoors, fertilise compost once a month with a liquid feed.
  • Basil plants can be killed by frost, so don’t put outside until June.
  • Make sure to water often in hot weather.
  • Start picking the leaves of basil as soon as the plants are around 25cm high.
  • Cut off the growing tip of the plant with a scissors. This encourages the plant to get bushy rather than tall and straggly.
  • Keep harvesting by cutting off the tips above a node (where the leaves join the stem), so new shoots will grow out of the node.
  • For best results harvest in the early morning, when leaves are at their juiciest.
  • Slugs love basil, so keep the area around the plants slug free. You can view all our slug prevention tips here.
  • Basil likes to grow in a sunny, wind-free location, but it also likes ventilation – if growing inside, place beside a window that opens.
  • Over watering or lack of food is generally the reason people kill basil plants. Water only when the compost dries out, and give it a liquid feed if required.