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Home » Indoor Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Plant Care and Growing Guide – House Plants Expert

Indoor Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Plant Care and Growing Guide – House Plants Expert

by Elyssa Goins
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

Basil is an essential herb that adds flavor to many dishes, and it is also used for medicinal purposes. There are several varieties of basil, including Thai basil, sweet basil, and green basil, but all are easy to grow indoors. Imagine picking leaves and using them as you prepare a meal! You can also grow other herbs indoors, check out our Coriander Guide, Rosemary Guide, Citronella Guide and Chive Guide. Growing basil is a great way to enjoy fresh herbs year-round, whether you are a seasoned or a beginner.

Basil Indoor

Planting Basil

The first step to growing basil is to choose a suitable variety. Sweet basil is the most common type, and it is used in many Italian dishes. Green basil has a mild flavor and is often used as a garnish. Thai basil has a slightly stronger flavor and is used in Asian cuisine.

Planting Basil

Once you have chosen your variety, it is time to plant your seeds. Its seeds can be started indoors or outdoors, but starting them indoors allows you to control the environment, which is ideal for growing basil. Fill a container with a high-quality soil mix and moisten the soil. Place a few seeds in each container, cover them with soil, and water them thoroughly. 

Place the container in a warm, sunny location, and keep the soil moist. Its seeds will sprout in about two weeks.

Plant Basil

Growing Basil

It needs plenty of light to grow, so ensure your plants receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. If you don’t have a sunny window, you can use grow lights to provide the necessary light. The ideal temperature is between 60 and 75°F.

Once your plant has grown several leaves, it is time to transplant them into larger containers. It can grow up to two feet tall, so make sure you choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the mature plant. It prefers well-draining soil, so ensure the container has holes for excess water to drain out.

Harvesting Basil

Its leaves are ready to harvest when the plant has grown several leaves. To harvest it, snip the leaves from the top of the plant, taking only a few leaves at a time. This will allow the plant to continue to grow and produce more leaves. You can use the leaves immediately, or you can dry them for later use.

How to Harvest Basil

Drying Basil

Drying basil is a simple process that allows you to store it for later use. To dry, tie a bundle of stems together and hang the bundle in a dry, warm location. You can also dry it by laying the leaves on a sheet of paper and placing them in a warm, dry location. 

Drying Basil

Also, there are three more new modern ways to dry basil.


Dry for 2 to 4 hours at 150-180 °F. It is best for flavor and convenience. Also, check often to prevent burning.


Dry for 8 to 24 hours at 100 °F. However, it is the least flavor retention.


Dry in 90 to 120 seconds. Also, it is the least flavor retention.

Once the basil is dry, crumble the leaves and store them in an airtight container. 

grinding leaves in a mortar and pestle


It has many health benefits and is an excellent addition to any diet. So, it is high in antioxidants, which help to protect your cells from damage. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and K, and minerals like iron and calcium. 

It has long been used for its medicinal properties. The essential oil derived from its leaves contains compounds with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, making it helpful in treating headaches, muscle pain, and other forms of pain and reducing the symptoms of conditions like arthritis and asthma. It is also rich in Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and fight infections. 

The presence of eucalyptol in it also gives it antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, making it effective against bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. Additionally, it is a good source of magnesium, which is important for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and nerves. As a result, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including indigestion, insect bites, and other health problems.

ultimate saviour of skin and hair

Origin of Basil

It is a member of the mint family, and its scientific name is Ocimum basilicum. It originated in tropical regions of Central Africa and Southeast Asia and is now grown worldwide. There are over 60 different varieties, each with its own unique flavor and aroma. In ancient times, it was considered a symbol of love and was often used in love spells and wedding ceremonies. It has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years to treat various ailments, including headaches, indigestion, and insect bites.

In Hinduism, it is considered a sacred plant, and it was used in religious rituals and offerings. It is believed to repel flies, mosquitoes, and other insects, making it a popular herb for use in insect repellents. The essential oil extracted from leaves has been used in perfumes, soaps, and other personal care products.

In Italy, it is often used as a garnish on pizza, adding flavor and aroma to the dish. In Thailand, it is a key ingredient in the famous dish Pad Thai. It is a popular ingredient in many Italian dishes, including pesto, a sauce made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Fresh basil is more flavorful than dried basil, but dried basil is still a helpful ingredient in cooking, especially in dishes that require long cooking times.


In conclusion, it is a versatile and flavorful herb that can be easily grown indoors. With its rich aroma and unique flavor, it is a popular ingredient in many dishes and has a long history of use for its medicinal properties. Whether you prefer basil Thai, sweet basil, or green basil, the benefits of basil are clear. 

Growing basil indoors is a great way to have a fresh supply of the herb on hand, and by following a few simple steps, you can have a thriving plant in your home. So if you’re looking for a way to add some fresh flavor and health benefits to your life, why not start growing it today and enjoy its many benefits? With a little care and attention, your plants will thrive and provide you with an abundance of fresh basil.

plants on the kitchen table

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