If you are looking for some easy plants to grow, then you can choose basil. You can easily have some fresh herbs like basil direct from their own plant. But now you may say that you don’t have outdoor space to grow fresh basil. So, how’s that possible to have a basil plant without having outdoor space?
Can you grow basil indoors?
Yes, you can grow basil indoors. If you can provide plenty of sunshine, a good growing medium, and adequate moisture, your basil will grow well indoors. On the other hand, you can plant basil under an artificial lighting system also. With a regular compact fluorescent bulb, you can get enough harvestable leaves to keep your kitchen stocked.
If you are new to indoor gardening, you can easily choose to grow basil. Besides this, this fragrant herb will give a fresh feel to your food and kitchen. Right after my sharing some valuable information on growing basil indoors, you will find it easier. So let’s dig in deeper.
The perfect environment for growing basil
Though basil is an easy-growing plant, it needs some extra attention too. You just need to make sure that your basil is getting the right environment for growth. Here I have attached a chart of the requirements and next will explain them briefly. So let’s move forward.
4 hours of sunlight minimum or 12 hours of artificial light
Around 72-85 Degree F
Loose and well-drained
Weak liquid fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks
Adequate light for your sun-loving basil
Basil is a sun-loving plant. It needs sunlight for about 6 hours but 4 hours will do too. While choosing a spot, try to pick the south or west-facing sunny windowsill or room for getting the best sun exposure.
South-facing windows will give maximum sunlight with light streaming through them all day long. Besides this, the west-facing location will receive direct sunlight for a long period but miss the hottest, most intense sunlight of the day.
However, if you don’t get have a sunny spot, you can use grow light for providing light to your plant. Buy a simple fluorescent light or high-intensity discharge growing light to supplement the natural sunlight. Put your plant under the artificial source for providing at least 12 hours of light per day. Also, make sure the light is 2 to 4 inches up from the plant and the light mustn’t touch the leaves as the leaves can get burnt.
Keep the soil moist
Basil likes to stay moist. You can mist the plants on a regular basis to maintain the moisture of the soil. You can also water the plant if you notice wilting.
Basil needs almost about 1 inch of water every week. You should water deeply at least once per week. This will keep the soil moist as well as the roots will grow deeper. As you are growing basil indoors, it is more important to water them frequently to prevent the soil from drying out. So, water the plant whenever you notice dry soil. Morning is the best time to water your basil.
High temperature is appropriate for basil
Basil is very sensitive to cold temperatures. The temperature must need to be kept between 72-85°F for better and healthy growth. During winter months keep them away from the drafty window, frequently opened doors or any open space that lets in cold air. Research shows that the basil gets a 106% increase in fresh weight along with a marked increase in the flavor when it is grown at 28°C instead of growing at 18°C.
Perfect soil type for your basil plant
Well, no matter what growing media you can choose, either garden soil or potting mix, it has to be loose and well-drained. But as you are growing basil indoors in the container it is better to choose potting mix rather than soil. If you use garden soil, you may need to use soil amendments for improving the soil quality.
You can choose commercial potting mixes as well as coconut coir as growing media. As you know potting soil is a mixture of peat moss or coconut coir, pine bark, perlite, and vermiculite. On the other hand, coconut coir is a sustainable product made from brown and white fibers that are known as the outer coating of a coconut seed. Both potting mixes and coir have loose and light textures and perfect water drainage capacity.
Fertilizer for providing nutrition
It is important to provide nutrition to your plants to have a healthy plant, right? Basil may not need a lot of fertilizers but you can use liquid fertilizer for your basil.
You can use a liquid fertilizer at a certain portion that is mentioned on the seed packages. As basil is a fast-growing herb, it will use the nutrients of the soil too quickly. So you need to refill the nutrients of the soil again by providing fertilizer. You can use any weak fertilizer on your plants with a regular interval of 4 to 6 weeks with consistency.
Some planting tips for your basil planting
I know basil is easy to grow but it doesn’t mean that you can just put your basil plant in the soil and it will grow. There are various ways to grow basil plants such as you can grow it from seeds, seedlings, or even stem cuttings. So here I am telling you about those planting methods and some extra tips for growing plants from different planting methods.
Suggestions for growing basil from seed
- So for growing basil indoors, the first thing you need is a container full of growing media that you select for your plant. You can also add some seed starter mix into it.
- Next, sprinkle some seeds on the top of the soil and cover it with a thin layer of about 1/4 inch soil or mixer.
- After that, you need to make sure the growing media is moist enough but not too soggy as too much water can block the oxygen in the soil.
- Then place the container in a warm place where the plant can receive enough sunlight and proper temperature for its germination. Make sure the temperature is at least 70 degrees for optimal growth.
- Within 7 to 10 days the seedlings will start to appear and you can thin the plants when they are at least 2 or 3 inches tall.
- As for basil seedlings you can directly purchase them from a nearby garden center and plant them in the container. You can put a single seedling in an 8-inch container or else you can plant 3 seedlings at once in a 12-inch container marinating some distance.
Suggestions for growing basil cutting (the stem cutting)
- For growing basil from cuttings, you need to take a 4-inch long stem that is just cut from under a node and remove all the leaves from the bottom of the stem. Make sure there are no leaves left for about 2 inches at the downside of the stem.
- Now put the cutting stem into the water in a jar or glass. Wait until there are roots coming out from the stem and the roots should be at least 2 or 3 inches long.
- Next, you just have to fill up the container with your selected potting mix or soil and cautiously plant the cutting stem removing the substrate.
- Like seedlings, you can plant one stem per 8 inches container and 3 stems per 12 inches container.
How to care for a basil plant indoor
Though basil is an easy plant to grow, it still needs your attention. I mean to say you have to take care of your basil plant after planting it. So let me tell you what you can do for taking care of your basil plant.
Water your basil plant regularly
As we said earlier, you need to keep your basil moist and mist it regularly. But be careful about not watering your plant too much. Try not to water the leaves and put water directly on the soil.
Don't put too much fertilizer
Basil is already a fast-growing herb, so you don’t need to put too much fertilizer in your plant. Too much fertilizer can ruin the taste of your basil leaves. You just need to add fertilizer for refilling the nutrients that might be washed by your frequent watering or might be used by plants for growth.
Pinch back the leaves and flowers
If you pinch the leaves from the top of your basil at the time of having 2 sets of true leaves, you can force your plant to grow. By pinching back the leaves, you can have a thick and bushy plant. In the same way, you can pinch back or clipping off the flowers from the plant as allowing flowers on your basil plant can harm the plant. Allowing the flowers means your plant will die soon and your leaves will turn bitter.
Combine your basil with other companion plants
When you combine basil with other plants for companion planting, both of the harvests become tastier! According to some gardeners, if you combine basil with tomato plants, pepper plants, oregano, or lettuce, both the basil will grow tasty leaves and other plants will have a good harvest too. You may think that it is an old gardener’s tale but try once you will know it.
Try to avoid bolting during summer
During hot summer days, basils tend to bolt. With proper heat, the basil started to bloom which also indicates that it is going to produce seeds. Once the basil started bolting means it is in the last stage of its life cycle. So, for stopping the basil from bolting, keep the soil moist and use shade during high-temperature days. You can also pinch back the blooming stem from under the flowers to prevent the plants from generating seeds.
Few last words for you
I hope this information will help you a lot with your basil plant. Now that you can plant this popular herb indoors, so what are you waiting for? There are wide varieties of basil, so choose your one out of the option. Bring the seeds, seedlings, and cutting stems, prepare the growing media, fulfill the required conditions for basil planting and start growing basil. Take care of your basil plant. So, now it’s time to say goodbye. Happy gardening!