Basil Garden Guide

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Basil Care At A Glance

  • Reliable warm-season annual herb for full sun in pots or in-ground.
  • Start seeds indoors with controlled conditions.
  • Prefers well-drained, organically rich soil with regular moisture.
  • Harvest basil frequently to prevent flowering and plants from going to seed.

Seed Starting Indoors

  • Use pre-moistened, seed starting mix free from fertilizer in trays.
  • Sow seeds 1/2-inch deep with a light cover of mix or vermiculite.
  • Provide consistent bottom heat of 70°-75°F and cover the tray with a plastic dome or wrap.
  • Maintain consistent moisture.
  • After emergence, uncover, remove from bottom heat, and reduce moisture.
  • Place seedlings in bright direct sun or under grow lights.

NOTE: Basil is prone to damping off, so maintain proper sanitation and avoid over-watering, while promoting good air circulation.

  • As seedlings develop sets of true leaves, transplant them into individual 3-4-inch peat pots with clean, fresh pre-moistened potting soil.
  • Keep watered as needed.
  • Once mature, harden off for 7-10 days prior to planting out.


Genovese - Ocimum basilicum, common name Sweet or Sweet Italian Basil.

  • Most common with many varieties available with green or purple foliage.
  • Tender, heat-loving annuals.
  • Used for making into pesto, to enhance other sauces, or as a fresh topping.

Greek - Ocimum basilicum v. minimum, common name Bush Basil.

  • Compact, bushy plants to 8 in. tall and wide.
  • Heat loving annual with smaller, thicker leaves.
  • Used in salads and sauces, often paired with other herbs or vegetables.


  • Prefers well-drained soil in a sunny location.
  • Maintain consistent soil moisture.
  • Pinch and harvest leaves often to prevent plants from forming flowers and going to seed, which expends plants.
  • Use a liquid fertilizer such as 6-6-6 all-purpose ALGOPlus at 1/2 recommended dilution rate, every two weeks once plants are set out.