ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Grow Sweet Basil in the Tropics

Updated on June 27, 2011

I am fortunate enough to grow Basil at home as it is an easy herb to grow in sub tropics to tropical areas. You should be able to get away with buying seedlings from your local nursery or supermarket once and then never having to buy the plants again.

Plant the seedlings at approximately 30cm (6 inches) apart, preferably in a raised garden bed or large tub. Water them in and fertilize them with Blood and Bone. Don’t let the plants flower by pinching the flowers off when they appear at the centre of new leaf growth.

My Basil plants sometimes have caterpillars eating the leaves. Don’t spray these (as you eat the leaves as well) but simply pull the leaves off that they are on and throw them in the bin. I have not had grass hoppers eating the leaves yet, but I am guessing that because of the strong flavor in the leaves that they are somewhat protected. My pet parrot, which usually eats anything, won’t even touch the leaves.

I also get some black spots on the older leaves, which looks like the leaf dying off rather than scale or mite damage. I don’t worry about this and usually use these leaves as well. You should only see this on older plants and if you fertilize with Blood and Bone you should see dark green, robust growth.

Example of old growth
Example of old growth

When the plant gets older, it usually goes “yellowy”, has less leaves looks woody or scraggily, let it flower. Do not take any more leaves or stalks of the plant. When the flower heads are brown and dry then cut the flowers off. From here you can either spread these flower heads over the top of another pot and water them or store them for next season. In the tropics we don’t have much of a winter so we spread them over another pot and water them in.

Harvest the leaves by cutting stalks to the desired length or you can pick a few leaves off as you need them to add to your cooking. I usually cut off two stalks that are 30cm (6 inches) long and are covered in leaves with small branches to make Basil Pesto.

With the cut stalks, leave a few leaves at the top of the cutting. Put these cuttings into a jar or container of water, like you would with cut flowers. I leave this on a windowsill where the cut stalks will get some morning sunlight. Replace the water every couple of days and you should get roots forming after a couple of weeks. Stalks may rot at the base and you can cut these parts off. When the roots are at least 2.5cm (1”) long they are ready for planting. Plant these cuttings in your garden as you would with the seedlings (see above) and ensure you water them in and water them daily for the first week. This is the main way that I get more Basil plants to grow in my herb garden.

Hope you enjoy growing Basil!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LeonJane profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      @Waren E - Thanks

      @Hi-Jinks - I'll have to look out for disease resistant basil at my next nursery trip, Thanks!

    • Hi-Jinks profile image


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      I love basil. You might have black leg. There are varieties that maybe disease resistant.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 

      9 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      Nice gardening tips!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)