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How To Grow Your Own Potted Herbs - Growing Basil

Updated on February 3, 2016
Basil
Basil

Enjoy Home Grown Basil In Pots On Your Windowsill And In The Garden


Growing herbs in pots is an excellent way to grow your own. If space is tight in the garden, you only have a small outdoor space, or you live in a flat or apartment with no outdoor space at all, herbs can be one type of edible you are still able to easily grow. Herbs are ideally suited to growing in pots, especially in limited spaces, as only a small amount of the plant is used at a time, so one small plant can be enough.


Basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow at home, one of the most common varieties being the Italian basil called Genovese. You can buy plants from the supermarket, but these have been grown rapidly which means they have an inadequate root growth. This is why the seldom last as long as home grown plants. One packet of seeds, at a similar price to what you would pay for a plant in supermarkets, will provide you with plants for several years, as well as enough plants to give to your friends, family and neighbours.


Just one pot can provide enough leaves for most families needs, unless you have a tendency to use it very frequently in your cooking, in which case a couple or more may be required. It is popular herb, used extensively in Italian and Asian cooking. To use, snip off the leaves as required and remove any flower heads to encourage healthy leaf growth. Basil doesn't just compliment tomatoes in cooking. If you grow tomatoes, basil make a great companion plant to grow alongside as it deters white fly and other pests.


Basil seedlings
Basil seedlings

Watering

Basil prefers moist, but not waterlogged compost. Water in the mornings rather than allowing the plant to sit in wet compost in the cooler dark of night. Growing the plants in or near the kitchen means regular checks on watering requirements can easily be made.

How to grow basil


Basil seeds like warm conditions to germinate. Either grow them indoors on a windowsill or start them off indoors and transfer to the garden to harden off when they are established and thee is no risk of frosts or cold weather. To get the seeds off to a good start and help germination, cover the pots with cling film. This will increase the warmth of the compost. Alternatively, place the pots in a propagator.


Basil is actually a perennial but as it is a tender plant it is usually grown as an annual herb which will require replanting each year in springtime. Use fresh potting compost as basil likes a rich growing medium. Make sure that the pot drains well if outside as the plant will not appreciate being waterlogged. It likes warm sunny conditions, so place the pots either on a sun facing windowsill or position in the garden where they will catch the sun. Basil will tolerate partial shade but will thrive with at least five hours being exposed to the sun.


Growing potted herbs is an ideal way to have some grow-your-own edibles if space is limited. Basil is ideally suited to growing in potswhich makes it easy to hand grown in or near the kitchen. It require minimal care, ideal for the novice herb grower, and is a valued ingredient in many popular meals. Growing your own will also save money compared to buying it from stores.


Basil in pots
Basil in pots
Basil in the kitchen
Basil in the kitchen

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    • jasmith1 profile image
      Author

      Adrian Smith 4 years ago from UK

      I directly sow into pots and find the amount that germinate is usually sufficient, just removing any weaker looking seedlings. And because I grow in pots with limited space, I grow them quite close together, about an inch or two between them. The trick, when doing it this way, is to make sure they are reguarly fed, as the nutrients in the limited amount of growing medium will quickly be taking up by all the plants. I would suggest a bit of trial and error, depending on where you are transplanting them too. If you do have too many growing in one space, you can always use the thinings in your cooking. Hope that helps.

    • profile image

      ezfamily4 4 years ago

      Curious...may seem silly, but growing basil currently in tp rolls, covered in cling wrap....looking very good...do i thin before i transfer, and if so, how many doi HAVE to snip...

    • jasmith1 profile image
      Author

      Adrian Smith 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks so much for the feedback - it is really good to know it is useful and that you enjoyed the pictures! Many thanks and for the vote up etc

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I very much like the simplicity of this article. It contains just the right amount of information and instruction to let the reader be successful growing basil in pots. The pictures are lovely! Up, useful, and interesting.

    • jasmith1 profile image
      Author

      Adrian Smith 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks unknownspy - I am glad you liked it and thanks for the vote up etc - much appreciated. :)

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      This is one great hub about Basil! Voted up and all.

    • jasmith1 profile image
      Author

      Adrian Smith 4 years ago from UK

      It is a great feeling to pick produce you have grown, I love it! Such great smells and tastes. I agree - growing herbs like basil is a great intro to growing your own!

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 4 years ago

      There is nothing better than growing your own produce. Potted herbs like basil, are a great introduction to this fun and healthy activity.

      Very useful hub.

    • jasmith1 profile image
      Author

      Adrian Smith 5 years ago from UK

      Hi Joe, yeh it is a perennial but as it is a tender plant it is usually grown as an annual unless as you say, the climate is tropical.

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 5 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks for the timely response. After a bit of research, it's no wonder that I've never heard of basil as a perennial! Only a select few varieties grow well as perennials, and the climate must be tropical to do so. Otherwise, basil will act as a perennial by reseeding itself each year with dropped seed from the autumn flower. Thanks for sharing!

    • jasmith1 profile image
      Author

      Adrian Smith 5 years ago from UK

      Hi Joe, perennial in this sense means it will grow for more than one year. However, in colder countries it is grown as an annual so you would need to sow new seeds yourself.

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 5 years ago from Colorado

      Great hub on gardening basil in containers. I saw that you mentioned basil as a perennial hub. Is it a perennial in the sense that it reseeds its every year?

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