Are You a Herb Enthusiast? We Have Tips on Growing Basil Indoors

Growing Basil Indoors
For a herb enthusiast, growing basil at home can be a very interesting proposition. Read this article to know how you can go about this task.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Basil is the oldest used herb, belonging to the mint family of Lamiaceae, and can be grown quite easily. It is a popular herb, as it is endowed with many anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. When fresh basil leaves are added to tea, soups, and other meals, it enhances the healing value of the food. But what does one do when there are space constraints, or if they have bad climatic and soil issues? Well, then there's always the option of growing the plant indoors, of course. This does not require plenty of space, but just a couple of pots and little bit of care and maintenance.

Tips to Grow Basil Indoors

Of all plants, basil is one of the easiest to grow indoors. Whether one is growing it in the winter or summer season, basil needs only a little bit of care. Following are a few tips on making sure it stays healthy round the year.

Seeds
Basil can be propagated from seeds as well as cuttings. Growing it indoors from seeds is easy. One can either buy the seeds, or collect them from the previous flowering basil. Collection of seeds should be done when your basil's flower has matured and dried on the plant itself. Cut the sprig, and very lightly jerk it on a sheet of paper. Collect the seeds. One sprig can give you over a hundred seeds, so some can also be stored for later use. Since the basil is a perennial herb, one healthy plant will last you for a long time. Sow the seeds in about ΒΌ inch well drained soil, and water very lightly. Cover with a sheet of newspaper. The basil seeds will germinate in less than a week. Once it reaches the six leaf stage, your basil sapling is ready for transplantation to a bigger pot.

Cuttings
Cutting ensures that no crossing takes place. This is useful for preserving properties of unusual and rare varieties. To grow basil from cuttings, cut a 6-inch portion of a healthy stem that has yet not borne any flowers. Clear the lower section of all leaves and place the stem in a small cup of water. Place the cup on a windowsill and change the water daily until roots begin to form. Once the roots seem well established, move it to the potting soil mix.

Soil
The advantage of growing basil plants indoors is that one can keep a check on the quality of the soil, and add adequate nutrients to deal with any deficiencies. In a container; clay or plastic, fill soil that has part sand, part peat, and part organic fertilizer. Vermi-compost is believed to be very good for basil plants as it is rich in nutrients. Also, keep in mind that water should not stagnate in the soil, as it will spread rot in the roots and onto the stems. Plus, the pH of the soil should be between 6.0 and 7.5. This can be checked with a pH balance tester every few weeks.

Light and Air
Basil is a tropical plant, and so it requires plenty of heat and light. While growing it indoors, make sure you place it near a south facing widow. Minimum six hours of light is essential for optimum growth of the plant. This lighting need becomes difficult to be met during winter, so in such scenarios, grow the basil plant under fluorescent lights. Experienced growers suggest the use of placing mylar or aluminum foil over the light source to increase light reflection. One can even alternate between a few hours of sunlight and artificial lighting. Air circulation is also important to ward off stem damage, especially for the lower ones. As basil belongs to the mint family, it is invasive in nature, so don't allow it to crowd too much.

Basil Care
Plant the basil sapling in the soil mix mentioned above. Water it well. Plant it in spring, as the sun will help it grow well. The basil sapling is very delicate, so avoid moving the container too much before the plant establishes itself. After a few weeks, pinch off the stem of the main growth. This will promote the growth of lateral shoots. Basil needs nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate, so liquid fertilizers that have all these nutrients should be fed to the plant every three weeks during its growing period. Basil grows and spreads very quickly, so annual repotting is also essential to keep it healthy.

One can choose from a variety of basil; sweet basil, purple basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil, etc. Grow them indoors, and you will always have this curative herb handy.
Fresh Basil in a Pot
Basil in the window
Vermicompost for agriculture
small growing basil plant
Basil seeds