How To Grow And Care For Basil Outdoors

sweet basil, basil, suite mobile quality-4571219.jpg
Basil outdoors in the garden

Basil, a fragrant herb with lush, green leaves, is a staple in culinary gardens. Thriving outdoors in warm weather, it requires full sun, at least 6-8 hours daily, to develop its signature aroma and flavor. Plant basil in well-draining, fertile soil after the last frost, ensuring a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 for optimal growth. Regular watering, allowing the soil to dry slightly between, and mulching to retain moisture are key. Space plants 12-18 inches apart to ensure good air circulation, reducing disease risk. Pinch off flower heads to encourage bushier growth and prolonged leaf production, making your garden a basil haven.

What To Think About When Growing Basil Outdoors

When growing basil outdoors, consider sunlight, soil, and spacing. Basil needs 6-8 hours of direct sun daily. Plant in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil with a neutral pH. Space plants 12-18 inches apart for airflow, reducing disease risk. Water consistently, allowing soil to dry slightly between. Pinch off flower buds to promote leaf growth and prevent bolting, ensuring a bountiful harvest.

Growing Basil Outdoors In Pots

Growing basil in outdoor pots combines convenience with optimal growing conditions. Choose a pot with drainage holes and fill it with a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix. Place the pot in a sunny spot, ensuring basil receives 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry, and fertilize monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Regularly pruning the tips encourages bushy growth and prevents flowering, maximizing leaf production.

Growing Conditions For Basil Outdoors

For a thriving basil garden, outdoor growing conditions are paramount. This sun-loving herb demands a spot that basks in 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Optimal growth occurs in well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Regular watering, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged, and strategic spacing of 12-18 inches between plants promote healthy air circulation, deterring pests and diseases. Adhering to these conditions, basil will flourish, offering a bounty of aromatic leaves.

Growing Basil From Seed Outdoors

Embarking on the journey of growing basil from seed outdoors begins with choosing a sunny locale, as basil luxuriates in 6-8 hours of sunlight. Sow seeds post-frost, lightly covering them with soil, and maintaining a moist environment for germination. Thin seedlings to 12-18 inches apart, fostering ample space for growth. This method nurtures robust basil plants, ready to infuse your culinary creations with their fresh, aromatic essence, straight from the garden.

Basil growing outdoors

How To Care For Basil Plant

Caring for a basil plant is a rewarding endeavor. Ensure it receives 6-8 hours of sunlight daily and resides in well-draining soil. Water when the soil’s top inch feels dry, avoiding over-saturation. Regular pruning encourages bushy growth and delays flowering. Fertilize monthly with a balanced liquid feed. With these steps, your basil will flourish, providing aromatic leaves for your culinary delights.

Basil Plant Care – The Basics

Basil plant care revolves around sunlight, water, and soil. Position in a spot with 6-8 hours of sunlight, water when the topsoil dries out, and ensure well-draining, fertile soil. Regular pruning promotes bushiness and prolongs leaf production. These basic steps will keep your basil healthy and productive.

How Often To Water Basil

Watering basil hinges on maintaining moist, not waterlogged, soil. Typically, this means watering every 3-5 days, adjusting based on temperature and sunlight. In hotter weather or full sun, basil may need more frequent watering. Check the soil’s top inch; if dry, it’s time to water. Consistent, moderate watering supports deep root growth and vibrant foliage.

How To Harvest Basil The Best Way

To harvest basil effectively, snip leaves or branches in the morning when their oils are most concentrated. Cut above a leaf pair to encourage bushy growth. Regularly harvesting the top leaves keeps the plant from flowering, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh, aromatic basil for your culinary needs.


Does Basil Come Back Every Year

Basil is typically an annual, completing its life cycle in one season. However, in tropical climates where frost is absent, basil can grow as a perennial, returning each year. In temperate zones, it needs to be replanted annually.

Will Basil Grow Back After Cutting

Yes, basil will grow back after cutting if harvested correctly. Snipping leaves or stems just above leaf nodes encourages new growth, making the plant bushier. Regular pruning before flowering can prolong the plant’s productivity throughout the growing season.

Related Topics

Does Basil Need Full Sun

basil, herb, ingredient-2919560.jpg
Home » basil plant
Basil plant outdoors

Basil indeed requires full sun to reach its full potential, necessitating 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This exposure is crucial for the plant to conduct photosynthesis effectively, leading to vigorous growth, robust health, and the development of its distinctive aromatic leaves. While basil can survive in partial shade, its growth may be stunted, and the leaves may lack their full flavor. To cultivate a thriving basil plant, ensure it is planted in a location that receives ample sunlight throughout the day.

Does Basil Need Full Sun

Basil thrives best in full sun, requiring 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Adequate sunlight is essential for its growth, health, and the development of its rich, aromatic flavor. Limited sun may result in less vigorous plants.

Will Basil Grow In Shade

Basil can grow in shade but with limitations. Shaded conditions result in less vigorous growth and milder flavor. While it prefers full sun, basil can adapt to partial shade, especially in hot climates where some relief from intense afternoon sun is beneficial. For optimal growth and flavor, ensure basil receives some direct sunlight daily, even in shaded environments.

Does Thai Basil Need Full Sun

Yes, Thai basil thrives in full sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and flavor development. While it can tolerate partial shade, insufficient sunlight may result in leggy growth and diminished flavor. Plant Thai basil in a sunny spot in the garden or ensure adequate light exposure when growing indoors for the best results.

Does Purple Basil Need Full Sun

Purple basil also benefits from full sun exposure, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. While it can tolerate partial shade, insufficient sunlight may result in leggy growth and less vibrant coloration. Plant purple basil in a sunny location in the garden or ensure adequate light exposure when growing indoors for optimal growth and color development.

Does Holy Basil Need Full Sun

Holy basil thrives in full sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and flavor development. While it can tolerate partial shade, insufficient sunlight may result in leggy growth and reduced flavor potency. Plant Holy basil in a sunny spot in the garden or ensure adequate light exposure when growing indoors for best results.

Basil in the sunlight

Basil Growth Requirements

Basil thrives in warm temperatures and requires well-draining soil with moderate moisture levels. It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Regular pruning encourages bushier growth. Ensure adequate airflow to prevent diseases.

Basil Season

Basil is typically grown as an annual herb, thriving in warm weather. It is planted in spring after the last frost and harvested throughout the summer until the first frost of fall. In regions with mild winters, basil may continue to grow year-round. However, it’s generally treated as a seasonal plant, with the peak season for fresh basil occurring during the warmer months of spring and summer.

Best Basil Location

Choose a sunny spot with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal basil growth. Ensure well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging. Plant basil away from areas with strong winds or drafts to avoid stress on the plants.

Basil Soil

Basil thrives in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level, ideally between 6.0 and 7.5. Amend heavy clay soils with organic matter to improve drainage. Avoid waterlogged or compacted soil, as it can lead to root rot. Ensure soil is loose and fertile to support healthy basil growth.

Mulch And Moisture

Mulching around basil plants helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and maintains consistent soil temperature. Use organic mulches like straw or compost, applying a 2-3 inch layer around the plants. However, avoid mulching directly against the stems to prevent rot. Water basil deeply and regularly, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Pinching Basil For Growth

Pinching basil involves removing the top set of leaves to encourage branching and fuller growth. This process stimulates lateral growth, resulting in bushier plants with increased leaf production. Pinch basil when it has about six to eight sets of leaves, and continue as needed throughout the growing season for optimal results.


Can Basil Get Too Much Sun

Yes, basil can suffer from sunburn and heat stress if exposed to too much sunlight, especially during hot summer days. While it requires ample sunlight for optimal growth, prolonged exposure to intense sunlight without adequate moisture can cause wilting, leaf discoloration, and reduced vigor. Providing shade during the hottest part of the day can help mitigate sun damage.

Can Basil Survive Without Direct Sunlight

While basil prefers full sun for optimal growth, it can survive in partial shade. However, insufficient sunlight may result in leggy growth and reduced flavor intensity. Ensure basil receives at least six hours of indirect sunlight daily for adequate photosynthesis and healthy development.

Related Topics

How To Fix A Wilting Basil Plant

basil, herbs, green-320736.jpg
Basil plant in the sun

If you’re a basil lover, you know there’s nothing worse than a wilting plant. But don’t despair! In this blog post, we’ll show you how to revive your basil and get it back to its healthy self.

Basil is a delicate plant, and it doesn’t take much for it to start wilting. The first step is to identify the signs that your basil is wilting. These include yellowing leaves, dry soil, and drooping stems. Once you’ve determined that your plant is indeed wilting, the next step is to figure out why. There are three main reasons for a wilting basil plant: overwatering, not enough light, and poor drainage.

Why Does Basil Wilt

When a basil plant begins to wilt, it’s sending a distress signal that something is amiss in its environment. Common culprits include inconsistent watering—either too much or too little—leading to root distress. Overwatering can suffocate roots and cause root rot, while underwatering leaves the plant dehydrated. Additionally, excessive heat or insufficient sunlight can stress the plant, as can a lack of essential nutrients if the soil is depleted. Pest infestations or diseases might also be weakening your basil. Addressing these factors with careful observation and adjustment can help rejuvenate your wilting basil, restoring its lush vitality.

Root Rot

Drooping basil plants often fall victim to root rot, a disease predominantly triggered by water-related issues such as overwatering or soil with inadequate drainage. To combat this, allow the soil to dry modestly between waterings, avoiding both waterlogged and parched conditions. For potted basil, it’s crucial to ensure complete drainage post-watering, and prevent the pot from sitting in stagnant water, as these practices help safeguard the roots from decay and restore plant vigor.

Fusarium Wilt

A sudden onset of droopiness in young basil plants can often be traced back to fusarium wilt, a formidable fungal adversary. This disease stymies growth, leaving plants with a wilted demeanor, and can prompt leaves to turn yellow or adopt a peculiar cupped shape before falling off. Navigating fusarium wilt is challenging, as it can linger in the soil for up to a decade. In cases of suspected infection, it might be necessary to begin anew with healthy plants in a new spot. Preventative measures are paramount; opt for disease-resistant varieties and ensure any basil seeds are certified as fusarium tested.

Leaf Spots

When your basil plant exhibits wilting alongside brown, soggy patches on its foliage, it’s likely grappling with leaf spot, a condition caused by fungal invaders. At the earliest hint of this ailment, it’s wise to excise the compromised leaves. For disease deterrence, direct your watering efforts to the plant’s base, steering clear of sprinklers or sprays that moisten the leaves. In cases where the infection is mild, applying a fungicidal solution can be an effective remedy to restore your basil’s health.


Pests like aphids and spider mites pose a threat to basil by draining its vital sap, leading to limp foliage. Combat these invaders effectively with an insecticidal soap spray, adhering closely to the usage instructions. It’s crucial to avoid applying the spray during peak sunlight or in extreme heat above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C), as this can harm the plant further. Timely and proper application can help safeguard your basil, ensuring it remains vibrant and healthy.

How To Prevent Wilting Basil

Understanding why your basil leaves wilt is crucial, and addressing this requires both corrective and preventative measures. Begin by assessing soil moisture; if the top inch is dry, water your basil, ensuring water drains freely from the pot, but avoid wetting the leaves. Aim for soil that’s consistently moist, not soggy. Adjust your watering routine to the plant’s needs, which might vary seasonally—more frequent in summer, less in winter. Consider mulching in summer to retain moisture. If the pot is cramped, lacks proper drainage, or is made from heat-retentive materials like metal or plastic, consider repotting into a spacious ceramic or clay pot with adequate drainage holes. Regular pruning, sunlight exposure, and vigilant pest and disease monitoring are also key to maintaining a healthy, vibrant basil plant.

Wilting basil plant

Why Is My Indoor Basil Wilting

Indoor basil wilting can be attributed to several factors. Insufficient light often leads to weak, leggy plants, while over or under-watering disrupts root health, causing droopiness. Poor drainage or compacted soil may also contribute, as roots require air circulation. Pest infestations or temperature stress in indoor environments can further stress the plant. Addressing these issues by adjusting care routines and ensuring optimal growing conditions can help revive and maintain the health of your indoor basil plant.

Why Is My New Basil Plant Wilting

A newly planted basil’s wilt often signals distress, potentially from transplant shock—a common occurrence as it adjusts to its new environment. Overzealous watering or inadequate hydration could also be at play, alongside the possibility of root confinement or damage during planting. Ensuring gentle acclimation, consistent soil moisture, and ample space for roots to thrive can often turn the tide, revitalizing your basil to its sprightly self.

How Much Sun Does Basil Need

Basil, akin to a sunbather, luxuriates in generous sunlight, craving 6-8 hours of golden rays daily to flourish. This herb’s zest for life blossoms under the sun’s embrace, fueling its verdant growth and aromatic leaves. Ensuring your basil basks in ample sunlight is akin to giving it a ticket to thrive, painting your garden with vibrant hues of green and infusing your culinary creations with the essence of summer.


How Do You Revive Wilted Basil

Reviving wilted basil is akin to nurturing a fading flame back to a vibrant blaze. Begin by providing consistent moisture—neither drenched nor parched—and relocating to a spot with gentle sunlight. Tender care and patience can breathe life back into its limp leaves.

What Does Overwatered Basil Look Like

Overwatered basil wears its distress like a heavy cloak, with leaves turning a sorrowful yellow, sagging as if bearing the weight of too many raindrops. Its once vibrant green vitality is drowned out by the excess, signaling a plea for moderation.

Related Topics

How To Grow Basil At Home

basil, herb, spice-2395060.jpg
Home » basil plant
Sweet basil in the garden

Basil is a favored herb in many gardens, renowned for its simplicity in cultivation. Sweet basil, known scientifically as Ocimum basilicum, belongs to the mint family and is a staple in Italian cuisine, despite its Indian origins. Its leaves are highly fragrant, offering a spectrum of tastes from a hint of lemon-mint in sweet basil to notes of cinnamon and licorice. The foliage varies in hue from vibrant green to a deep, rich purple and can be either sleek or textured. While the blooms may be small, they are a hit among the bee population.

Basil varieties flourish in warm, sunlit conditions, making them versatile additions to any culinary garden. Not only are the leaves a staple in various dishes, but the edible flower buds add a unique touch as well. This rapid-growing herb adapts seamlessly to both garden beds and pots. Given the right warmth, basil plants can be primed for pruning, which promotes fuller growth, in just around six weeks.

Basil Varieties To Choose From

There are a lot of different basil varieties to choose from out there, we have compounded some of the most common ones, and some of our personal favorites as well. Keep in mind that each variety has its own characteristics and they differ a little bit in how you should go about growing them. However, overall, basil varieties are grown in a very similar way so don’t let the amount of choices scare you!

Holy Basil

Holy basil, revered for its medicinal properties and sacred significance in Ayurveda, boasts a spicy, clove-like aroma, making it a unique herb for both wellness practices and culinary exploration.

Thai Basil

Thai basil stands out with its robust flavor, blending anise and licorice notes, and sturdy purple stems. Essential in Southeast Asian cuisine, it adds a distinctive kick to culinary creations.

Sweet Basil

Sweet basil, with its aromatic, slightly lemony mint leaves, is celebrated for its versatility in culinary use, vibrant green foliage, and its indispensable role in enhancing Italian and global cuisines.

Lemon Basil

Lemon basil captivates with its citrus-infused aroma and flavor, setting it apart. Ideal for refreshing dishes and teas, its bright, lemony essence brings a zesty twist to culinary delights.

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon basil, with its unique spicy-sweet aroma reminiscent of cinnamon, enriches dishes and beverages. Its distinct flavor and attractive purple flowers make it a favorite for both gardeners and chefs.

Genovese Basil

Genovese basil, prized for its large, fragrant leaves, is the quintessential choice for authentic pesto. Its robust flavor and tender texture elevate Italian dishes, embodying the essence of Mediterranean cuisine.

African Blue Basil

African blue basil mesmerizes with its purplish veins and robust, camphor-scented leaves. This perennial hybrid, beloved by bees, offers a decorative and culinary twist to gardens and dishes alike.

How To Grow Basil

Basil, that warm-weather charmer, starts its journey either from sprightly nursery transplants or seeds cozied up indoors about six weeks pre-last frost. Find a sunny nook, as basil adores basking in 6-8 hours of sunlight. Remember, it likes its soil like a damp sponge—moist but not waterlogged. A little pinch here and there encourages a lush, bushy stature. Whether from seeds or transplants, you’ll be ready to harvest the aromatic leaves in 60-90 days, infusing your dishes with a dash of delight and your garden with verdant vibes.

Planting Basil

Fill 4-inch pots with moist, fresh potting mix and scatter a few basil seeds into each. Gently cover with a fine layer of soil, pressing down lightly. Mist the surface and then seal in moisture with plastic wrap. Position the pots in a warm spot near a window, steering clear of cool drafts. Thin out overcrowded seedlings by cutting them at the soil level to prevent competition. Maintain the soil’s moisture without overwatering. For outdoor enthusiasts, plant basil seeds directly in the garden once the threat of frost has subsided, embracing the warmth of the season.

Growing Basil From A Seed

To grow basil from seed, begin indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost. Use a moist, well-draining seed starting mix in small pots or trays, planting 2-3 seeds per pot at a shallow depth. Maintain a warm environment, ideally between 75º-85ºF, to encourage germination within 5-7 days. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and provide adequate light to prevent seedlings from becoming leggy. Thin out weaker seedlings to avoid overcrowding. Gradually acclimate the young plants to outdoor conditions before transplanting into the garden or larger pots, ensuring the soil has warmed. Regular pruning of the plants will stimulate bushier growth and more foliage, essential for a bountiful harvest.

Growing Basil From A Cutting

Growing basil from a cutting is a great way to quickly expand your herb garden. Start by selecting a healthy, mature basil plant and take a 4-6 inch cutting just above a leaf node. Remove the lower leaves and submerge the stem in unchlorinated water, ensuring no leaves are underwater. Place the container in a spot with bright, indirect light and change the water every couple of days to prevent bacterial growth. In about 10-14 days, roots should begin to appear. Once the roots reach an inch or two, you can put the cutting in a pre-moistened potting mix. Maintain soil moisture and keep the plant in indirect light until it’s established and shows new growth. This easy method not only saves you from buying new plants but also provides a continuous basil supply for your kitchen needs.

Basil plant in the sunny garden

Basil Care

Basil thrives under particular conditions – warmth, a touch of humidity, and bountiful sunlight. Master these elements, and you’ll be rewarded with an abundant supply of fragrant leaves, ready for your culinary adventures.

Watering Basil

Watering basil correctly is crucial for its lush growth. Basil enjoys a consistent moisture level without the soil becoming too dry or overly saturated. Regularly check the topsoil; if the top 2 inches feel dry, it’s time to water your plant. Overwatering and underwatering can both lead to wilting, but for different reasons, so always assess the soil’s moisture level before deciding to water. Morning is the best time to water basil to ensure it’s hydrated during the day and to prevent root rot from water sitting overnight. Potted basil might require more frequent watering than garden-planted basil due to quicker soil drying.

Basil Light Requirements

o grow basil successfully, it’s crucial to provide the right lighting conditions. Basil plants need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. If growing indoors, using full-spectrum LED lights is recommended as they closely mimic natural sunlight and supply all the necessary wavelengths for optimal growth. These lights are energy-efficient and emit less heat, reducing the risk of overheating your plants.

Basil Temperature Requirements

Basil thrives in warm conditions, requiring temperatures between 70°F and 90°F. It’s sensitive to cold, with frost being potentially fatal. To ensure a healthy basil plant, maintain a warm, stable environment, avoiding exposure to temperatures below 50°F, especially during the early growth stages.


The ideal soil for basil plants is well-draining, fertile, and rich in organic matter, with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. This ensures optimal growth and flavorful leaves, making it perfect for culinary use. Regular watering and ample sunlight further enhance its growth.

Pruning And Harvesting

When harvesting basil, it’s crucial to approach the task with precision to keep the plant healthy and productive. Start by selecting mature leaves and using sharp scissors or your fingers to make clean cuts, ensuring minimal stress to the plant. Aim to cut about ¼-inch above a leaf node to encourage regrowth. It’s vital to avoid cutting the central stem excessively, as this can lead to imbalanced growth. Regular pruning of flower buds is recommended to focus the plant’s energy on leaf production, enhancing both the quantity and quality of your harvest. After harvesting, handle the leaves gently to avoid bruising and if necessary, wash them lightly, patting dry to prevent moisture damage. For storage, consider refrigeration in a sealed bag with a paper towel or using the leaves fresh to maximize flavor.

Using Fresh Basil Leaves

Basil leaves are versatile, commonly used fresh in salads, as a garnish, or blended into pesto. They also enhance sauces, soups, and beverages with their aromatic flavor.

Basil Pesto

Blend 2 cups of fresh basil with olive oil in a processor, then add grated cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt. Mix until smooth, adjust seasoning, and combine with hot pasta without cooking further. For variations, mix in other herbs or greens, and use light-flavored oils for a subtle taste. Store in the fridge or freeze for longer use. For detailed recipes and more tips, check out Spend With Pennies and NatashasKitchen.

Dried Basil

To dry basil leaves, wash and pat them dry, then arrange on a baking sheet. Oven-dry at the lowest setting for 2-4 hours, or air-dry by hanging in a warm, well-ventilated area until crisp. Store in an airtight container.

Basil Essential Oils

Basil essential oil, extracted from basil leaves, is valued for its aromatic scent and therapeutic properties. It’s used in aromatherapy to reduce stress, enhance mood, and improve digestion. Always dilute before use to avoid skin irritation.

Basil plant in the sun

Common Problems


Common problems with basil plants include yellowing leaves from overwatering, bolting due to excessive growth and sun exposure, and wilting or drooping from improper watering or crowded planting conditions. Ensuring proper drainage, reducing sunlight, maintaining regular pruning, and avoiding overcrowding can help prevent these issues.


In outdoor gardens, basil often attracts pests like slugs and Japanese beetles, which nibble holes in the leaves. Inside, aphids can be troublesome. To combat these pests, a simple solution is a mix of dish soap and water, using about 2 teaspoons of soap per gallon of water, and spraying the affected plants. This gentle, homemade repellent can help keep your basil healthy and bug-free.


Basil is prone to gray mold, leaf spot, and root rot, often due to overwatering. Minimize these issues by watering the plant’s base and keeping the leaves dry, particularly when harvesting.


Does Basil Like Sun Or Shade

Basil thrives in full sun, requiring at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth.

Is Basil An Indoor Or Outdoor Plant

Basil can thrive both indoors and outdoors, provided it has enough sunlight and warmth.

Does Basil Come Back Every Year

Basil is typically an annual plant, completing its life cycle in one year and needing replanting each spring in most climates.

Related Topics