How to grow Basil indoors?
Growing your own herbs indoors is a great way to maximize limited resources without sacrificing your culinary needs. And of all the herbs to try your hand at, basil is the perfect place to start.
From potting soil mix to pot size, there’s so much to learn about the simple pleasures of indoor basil cultivation. So get your green thumbs ready — this is the definitive go-getter’s guide to growing basil at its herbaceous best.
Sick of paying for overpriced supermarket basil? Wish you could grow your own, year-round, without having to dive head-first into the deep end of an organic garden? Gardyn’s Home Kit 3.0 makes indoor gardens easy for city and suburban dwellers.
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Table of Contents
Why Grow Basil Indoors?
Basil is the herb of choice for some of the yummiest Italian seasonal dishes: from verdant, earthy pesto to delectable Caprese salads and even toasted bruschetta — it’s easy to see why it’s such a pantry staple. But why grow basil indoors?
Store-bought herbs can be expensive, and rather than getting maximum use out of your purchase, they can spoil rather quickly, sometimes even before you get to use them. Growing your own herbs like basil is a great way to save money, and ensures you always have access to flavorful aromatics, ready for any meal. Just pinch off a few sprigs whenever a recipe calls for extra flavor or a pretty garnish.
Easy To Maintain
Basil doesn’t require much effort to keep alive and well; it simply needs a sunny spot in your home — on your windowsill, a kitchen countertop, or even outside on a porch or balcony (or anywhere else with a Gardyn Home Kit). It’s also an ideal herb for novice gardeners due to its speedy growth cycle, as well as the fact that it’s relatively pest- and disease-free.
Growing your own basil at home offers a great sense of security. Not only do you know exactly where your produce is sourced from, but you’ll also rest easy knowing that no nasty chemicals or pesticides have been used in its growth.
It’s So Much Fun
Cultivating your own produce at home is always fun — and a great learning experience for kids and adults alike. Seeing your crop grow from a tiny sprout to a full, luscious plant feeds into a greater appreciation of nature and understanding of sustainable food sources. And, more importantly, nothing beats the joy and pride that comes following a harvest!
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What Do You Need To Grow Basil Indoors?
Basil grows very well, with plenty of harvestable foliage. And it’s easy to grow, too — under the right conditions.
Basil thrives under plenty of natural, direct sunlight. If possible, get your plant in front of a south-facing window, with at least 6 hours of light per day.
Grow Lights (Or Any Other Artificial Light
If you’re using grow lights or fluorescent bulbs, you’ll want to position them around 2-4 inches from the top of your plant, ensuring that the leaves and the bulbs don’t touch. For more mature plants, make sure to set the lights a little higher to ensure that your basil will grow optimally. Aim for a light exposure of at least 10 hours a day. An alternating schedule between sun and artificial lighting can also work wonders for basil grown indoors.
Pots And Containers
Your container of choice should allow for good air circulation and ample drainage (water stress can kill basil). Plastic or clay pots are both great options. Note that while clay pots do add a nice aesthetic, they may also leave permanent markings against surfaces, so that’s something to keep in mind. You can also upcycle things like food containers or metal cans to use as planters; just don’t forget to poke holes in the bottom to help with drainage.
Basil grows best in well-drained, moist conditions. If you’re growing indoors, then a nutrient-dense potting mix is the best choice. Remember that the medium should be kept damp, but never waterlogged so you don’t get root rot.
If you’re looking for an even easier way to grow and care for your basil indoors, try Gardyn’s Home Kit 3.0 — a smart, self-sustaining indoor garden that automatically circulates water and nutrients right up to your plants. No dirt; no mess; no hassle. All you need is a power outlet and a Wi-Fi connection. How’s that for easy gardening?
How To Plant Basil Indoors
Basil can be grown indoors in a container or a hydroponic setup, either from seed or from an existing stem cutting.
Growing Basil From Seeds
To grow indoor basil from seeds, follow the same steps as you would for most other small seeds:
- Clear a warm, sunny spot for your basil plant.
- Prepare your growing medium in a container (a seed starting tray is a good choice), then pre-moisten it.
- Place the basil seedlings an inch apart (or 5-6 inches if you’re using a hydroponic system). Then, lightly cover the seeds with a sprinkling of dry soil.
- Keep the soil moist but never oversaturate it.
- For successful germination, maintain a temperature of 70-85°F (21-29°C) — a seedling heating mat might come in handy in this case.
- The seedlings should sprout within 5 to 10 days.
Growing Basil From Stem Cuttings
A simple and effective way to cultivate basil is to use stem cuttings from an existing basil plant:
- Start with a 4-inch stem with a few sets of leaves intact.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom two inches of the stem.
- Place the stem in water (cut-end first), and set it somewhere with plenty of sun.
- Once the roots are several inches in length (they should form within a week or two), transplant your newly rooted cuttings into a container or hydroponic system.
If you’re looking to ease your way into indoor basil planting, Gardyn’s yCubes are a great place to start. Each yCube contains non-GMO, pesticide-free seeds for a particular plant of your choice. Simply pop them in, sit back, and see them sprout within days. Choose from 50+ herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers — from cherry tomatoes to strawberries and romaine — all designed for easy, bountiful indoor harvests.
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How To Care For Your Basil
Basil isn’t difficult to care for. In fact, it’s one of the easiest herbs to grow and enjoy. Get comfortable with the basics of basil care and maintenance, and you’ll soon be able to enjoy a year-round supply for your favorite recipes. And with careful tending, you might even end up with extra basil to dry, freeze, or share.
First — and this is important — pinch off the leaves from the tip of your basil as soon as the first two sets of leaves appear. Keep up with this process as more branch stems emerge (prioritize any unhealthy or stunted leaves). Doing this regularly helps your basil grow thick and lush, with plenty more stems for picking and harvesting later.
Important basil plants tips! When pinching or pruning your basil, be careful not to remove more than one fourth of its leaves. Doing so could hinder its natural growth process.
Basil requires about an inch of water per week. But be careful! Overwatering is a common issue among novice indoor herb growers. A good way to tell if it’s time to water your basil: stick your finger an inch into the soil. If the soil is damp, wait a day or two. If it’s dry, your plant is ready to be replenished with a drink.
Basil is a hearty plant that doesn’t require much fertilization. In fact, too much fertilizer could actually ruin its flavor and aroma. Overfertilizing can also lead to diseases and pest infestations. A light dosing of liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks is recommended if one wishes to fertilize.
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Harvesting And Using Your Basil
Harvesting basil is a simple affair — best done by simply pinching off its leaves (essentially pruning). Don’t worry about damaging the plant; if it’s healthy, it’ll regrow what you take. Want to collect more than just a few leaves at once? Simply grab a pair of scissors and strip stems from the top down.
How To Use Your Basil
Now that you have your haul, it’s time to put it to good use. Some of our favorite ideas:
- Fresh basil leaves can be used to make salads and sandwiches. These can be chopped, sliced, or whole, depending on the recipe;
- Combine basil, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and create a pesto;
- Try infusing a simple syrup with basil, then incorporate the syrup into lemonade or sweet tea;
- Muddle a few basil leaves in a cocktail shaker with simple syrup, lime juice, and rum for a delicious mojito;
- Add a few leaves of fresh basil to grilled vegetables or proteins for an added burst of flavor;
- Steep the leaves in hot water to make antioxidant-packed basil tea.
Put Together Your Own Basil Heaven
Growing basil indoors can be a fun and rewarding project, with delicious results. To ensure it flourishes, supply it with the basics: fresh air, sunlight, rich soil, and regular watering. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. A south-facing window will get your basil plenty of light, but if you don’t have one, you can use grow lights. Regular pruning will promote growth and keep your basil plant from getting leggy.
Grow Basil Indoors, Easier Than Ever With Gardyn
Reap all the benefits of a regular garden, but with the added convenience and year-round harvesting capacity — all from the comfort of your own personal space. Gardyn’s hydroponic indoor grow kit automatically gives your plants the perfect amount of LED lighting, air and water circulation, and precise nutrient measurement throughout their life cycles. Your AI gardening assistant, Kelby, monitors the plants around the clock, allowing you to get the best harvests every time.
Gardyn is simply the smarter, better way to grow at home, and our Gardyners feel the same way too. Try your hand at gardening made simple by Gardyn today.