How To Grow Basil From Seed Indoors: Easy Steps for Beginners

Basil is one of the easiest plants to grow. You can grow it almost anywhere, anytime with a very high opportunity of survival. You can easily plant basil right in your home, in containers and put them indoors. They not only look beautiful when growing but also provide you with lots of health benefits, such as boosting digestive health, decreasing inflammation, etc. This ultimate guide will teach you how to grow basil from seed indoors, what you will need to have a successful harvest. 

Can You Grow Basil Indoors?

Yes, of course. You can completely grow basil outdoors. The planting process, except for some main differences, is really the same as growing basil in the ground or your garden. Growing basil indoors is also a good way to start your organic gardening.

Beginners can also find it really simple to grow basil from seed indoors because you don’t need to strictly follow the temperatures when you’re growing basil outdoors. As long as you keep your indoor temperature between 60 and 75 F, your basil can thrive. 

But sunlight is an important factor deciding basil growth. If you want to grow basil during the winter, you can still be successful in doing so if your area has sunny winters. If you don’t, you need to consider alternatives. And fluorescent lights are a great alternative. But you should make sure to expose your basil at least 10 hours a day, which is equivalent to 6 hours of sunlight. 

Another alternative is using a grow light. The plant light should be positioned a few inches above your basil seedling. When the plant grows, raise the light. If the plant starts to look longer, you should move the light closer. If the plant starts to develop white spots on its leaves, move the plant elsewhere.

Grow basil from seed indoors. Image: Unsplash

When Should Basil Be Planted?

If you are growing basil in the ground, you should plant it no earlier than 2 weeks after the last frost. Basil is very sensitive to cold weather and if you expose it to frost, it will die soon.

Nevertheless, if you are growing your basil indoors in a container, you can plant it literally whenever you want to. Let’s say June, September, December, anytime is possible. 

Just bear in mind that it will take 6-8 weeks for your basil to be ready for harvest. So, if you plan to grow a large amount of basil on a certain date, plan accordingly.

What You Will Need?

Here are some items you will need to grow basil from seed indoors. 

How To Grow Basil From Seed Indoors: 7 Simple Steps 

Below are 7 simple and practical steps on how to grow basil from seeds indoors.

Step 1: Prepare For Planting

Choose a place for your basil that will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. If there is no such place in your home, set up a fluorescent or grow light.

Choose the type of basil you want to plant. Whether it’s sweet basil, Thai basil, Genovese basil or something else, the type of basil you choose will have its own appearance, taste, and objective.

Besides, choose your pot or container. Basil grows well in most pots, making it super easy to grow and you don’t need regular maintenance.

If you have too many options and don’t know which container should be opted for, then the “ideal basil pot” should be about 15 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep.

It’ll need 6-8 hours of sunlight to grow basil from seed indoors. Image: Unsplash

Step 2: Start Your Basil Seeds

It is normal that lots of people are wondering, “Should I soak basil seeds before planting?” Yes, you can. However, your basil won’t be affected if you don’t do so. Soaking the basil seeds will help them germinate more quickly, so if you want to harvest faster, go ahead. Nevertheless, there will be no negative results for your basil if you don’t do that.

The question is “how do you soak basil seeds?” On the night before planting, fill the bowl with warm water. Make sure the water is warm because cold water will not affect the seeds, and hot water will damage them.

Pour the seeds in that bowl of warm water and let them soak. After a few hours, take them from the bowl. The next morning they will be ready for planting.

Step 3: Grow Your Seeds

Fill the pot of your choice with a rich and loose potting soil. It is recommended to have a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. And make sure you fertilize it with organic fertilizer before you add the basil seeds.

Fill the pot up to 1 inch from its rim. Spread the seeds evenly over the soil. Then cover them with ¼ inch of soil, noting that the basil seeds need enough sunlight to germinate in the right way.

Once you’ve planted the basil seeds, water them thoroughly. It will take the basil seeds from 5 to 10 days to germinate.

Step 4: Take Care of Your Basil Plant

Water your basil plant daily in the morning, watering the base of the plant. The top layer of soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged.

When leaves begin to sprout, thin the plants so that they are at least 6 inches apart. You can use scissors to cut along the soil line. Rotate the plants as they grow to keep them from leaning too much to one side.

Image: Unsplash

Step 5: Pinch Flowers on the Basil

The flowers that grow on the basil plant surprise some people. However, you need to remove them. This is because they can change the hormones of the basil plant, which can result in flavor loss in the leaves. After you eliminate the flowers, within at least a day, the leaves should regain their full flavor.

When your basil plant is 4 inches tall, you will also need to prune its top branches. This allows more side branches to grow, which will ultimately result in taller plants, encouraging your basil plant to develop stronger stems and leaves.

Step 6: It’s Time to Harvest

Once your basil crosses 7 inches in height, you can harvest its leaves. The more often you harvest basil, the more leaves it will produce then.

To harvest your basil, you gently pluck the leaves by plucking at the stem, right where the pairs of basil leaves grow. When you harvest basil, 2 more leaves will start to grow, resulting in twice as many leaves ready for the next harvest.

Time to harvest your basil grown from seed indoors. Image: Unsplash

Step 8: Enjoy Your Basil

After growing basil from seed indoors to a blossoming plant, you deserve to enjoy your basil. Basil is a great addition to lots of recipes, bringing tasty flavor to lasagna, Caprese salads, pesto, pizza, cocktails, and more.

For the best flavor, harvest the basil 5-10 minutes before serving in the dish. If you have more basil than you can handle, you can use it to make pesto and then store that pesto in a jar for next use. 

Basil is great for meal. Image: Unsplash

Frequently Asked Questions

In this part, I will give you answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about how to grow basil from seed indoors. 

How long does it take to grow basil from seed?

You basil will start to germinate in 7 to 10 days after you plant it in a pot indoors. 

Should I soak basil seeds before planting?

In fact, it is not necessary to soak basil seeds before planting. But if you do so, the basil seeds can germinate faster. If you don’t, they can still grow normally. You can directly sprinkle the basil seeds over the surface of the pot and follow the above steps. 

Why won’t my basil seeds germinate?

If your seeds are not germinating, it’s either too cold, too wet, or non-viable (old seeds). If that’s the case, you can try to use heat mats and fresh seeds for best results. Also, make sure the soil never gets waterlogged. 

Why is my basil growing so slowly?

There are some reasons why basil plants stop growing. These include the soil that is deficient in nutrients or improperly drained. Another popular reason is too much or too little water. Besides, you should check whether there is enough space between the basil seeds.

Are coffee grounds good for basil plants?

Coffee grounds have a quite important role in the growth of basil as long as you are careful when you use them. As you might know basil prefers neutral to slightly acidic soil. However, it is better to use compost with coffee grounds rather than directly mixing them into the soil.


That’s tips about how to grow basil from seed indoors. This is actually a great project for beginners as well as advanced gardeners.

Basil is really easy to plant. It is also a beautiful ornamental plant, a delicious addition to tons of meals. Besides, it provides you with a powerful source of nutrients. You can also use these tips to grow basil in the ground in your garden.

I hope you enjoyed this guide and learned everything you need to know to fruitfully grow basil from seed indoors. If you liked it, be sure to share and comment with any thoughts or questions in the comment box!

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