Basil – Sweet

Basil, Sweet Basil

Recipe for Basil Pesto

Selecting a Container

Basil plants need a container with a volume and depth to support the mature size of the plant without crowding the roots. Plant basil in a container with a depth of at least 4 to 6 inches. A container that holds at least 1 gallon of soil is adequate, but a container with a capacity of 2 to 3 gallons is better. Select a container with a drainage hole, as basil, like most herbs, may rot in soggy soil.


Basil growing in a container thrives in a lightweight, well-drained potting media. A general purpose, peat- based commercial potting soil is best. Mix the potting soil with up to one-third compost to get your basil off to a good start. A handful of perlite or sand improves drainage. Never use garden soil, which becomes compacted and dense, preventing adequate moisture absorption and air circulation to the roots.

Watering and Fertilizer

Water the plant until water runs through the drainage hole whenever the top 1 inch of the soil feels dry to the touch, then let the pot drain. Although basil does best in soil that is allowed to dry slightly between waterings, the soil should never become either bone dry or soggy. Fertilize your outdoor basil plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every three to four weeks. If your basil is grown indoors, fertilizing every month to six weeks is adequate. Use a weak fertilizer solution according to the directions on the package label, as a strong fertilizer solution may burn the roots.


Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)

Genus: Ocimum (OSS-ih-mum) (Info)

Species: basilicum (bass-IL-ee-kum) (Info)


Category: Annuals, Herbs


Height: 12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


Spacing: 9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


Hardiness: Not Applicable


Sun Exposure: Full Sun


Danger: N/A


Bloom Color: White/Near White


Bloom Time: Mid Summer, Late Summer/Early Fall


Foliage: Aromatic


Other details: This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater


Soil pH requirements: 5.1 to 8.5 full range


Patent Information: Non-patented


Propagation Methods: From herbaceous stem cuttings, From seed; sow indoors before last frost, From seed; direct sow after last frost


Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds, Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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