A small basil plant with green leaves growing in soil.

How to grow Basil

How to grow Basil | Growing Guides
Growing Guides Vegetables and herbs
Basil has to be one of the most popular and versatile herbs in the UK. Often bought as plants in the supermarket, it's easy to grow at home with a little bit of knowledge and care.
Growing calendar
Sow indoors Mar - mid May
Plant out/transplant End May - Jun
Harvest Jun - Sep

How to grow basil

Sow basil seed 0.1cm deep in pots. Keep seedlings well ventilated and not too wet. Transplant 30cm apart when 5-10cm tall. Choose fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered site.

Keep your basil well watered. Basil can be grown in greenhouses or on a windowsill all year round.

Harvesting and using basil

Pick young basil leaves for use fresh or store by freezing, drying or infusing flavour by submerging leaves in olive oil. Purple leaved varieties have less intense flavour.

Tips on growing basil

  • Regularly pinch out growing tips to encourage bushy plants and delay flowering.
  • Supermarkets often pack lots of basil plants into a small pot, try separating them and potting them on to get more basil for your money. Read more money saving tips
Growing notes
Difficulty Moderate
Germination time 5-10 days
Average time to harvest From 12 weeks
Equipment needed None
Average plant size 45cm tall, 30cm wide
Family group to grow with Lamiaceae: lemon balm, sage
Seed saving notes Annual, self-pollinating
Key nutritional content Vitamins A and C, calcium and iron (when eaten fresh)