How to grow basil on a windowsill

Basil is ideal for growing at home, as it is not whimsical, it grows both in winter and in summer, it looks pretty and smells very tasty. If you are new to home gardening, we recommend that you start by planting this particular herb! In this material you will find everything about how to grow basil on a windowsill, how to care for it and pinch it correctly in order to get as much harvest as possible..

How to plant basil seeds

You can grow basil in a pot from cuttings or from a young shoot from a garden, but basil grown from seeds gives the best and longest time (almost a year!) At home..

To plant basil on a windowsill, you will need:

  1. Seeds;
  • Basil varieties will work either, but keep in mind that purple and Greek small-leaved varieties take longer and harder to grow. Small-leaved and low-growing varieties of basil grow especially quickly and easily.
  1. Soil (for more information on soil selection and preparation, see Step # 2);
  2. Expanded clay or pebbles for drainage;
  3. A pot with a volume of 1-2 liters or a large container with a depth of at least 15 cm, in which the basil shoots can grow at a distance of 10 cm from each other. The container for growing basil must have drainage holes;
  4. Cling film or plastic bag;
  5. Scapula.

Step 1. Seed preparation

This stage is optional, but desirable if you want to slightly speed up the appearance of the first shoots. Soak the seeds in warm water for 1-2 days, changing the water every 12 hours (or more often), then soak them in a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate for 2 hours and finally dry the seeds on a napkin or gauze. You can catch seeds with a toothpick..

Step 2. Preparing the soil

Loose soil is an important condition for success. Suitable soil can be created from:

  • A mixture of universal soil for indoor plants with garden soil (in a 1: 1 ratio);
  • A mixture of vermicompost and soil for indoor plants (in a ratio of 1: 4);
  • Mixtures of vermicompost with coco-soil (in a ratio of 1: 2).

Do not forget to treat the purchased soil before planting the seeds: pour it onto a baking sheet and bake it in the oven at a temperature of 100-120 degrees for about an hour, and then feed it with any mineral fertilizer. This procedure will prevent the emergence of pests in the future..

Next, put expanded clay or pebbles on the bottom of the container so that a drainage layer 2-3 cm thick is obtained.Finally, pour the prepared soil on top, not reaching 3-4 cm to the edges, level the surface, and then water the soil abundantly.

Watering the soil

Watering the soil

Step 3. Sowing seeds

Now you need to sow the seeds at a distance of about 2 cm from each other, sprinkle them with a 1-2 cm layer of earth, and then cover the pot with cling film or a bag to create a greenhouse effect.

  • Planting basil seeds
  • Planting basil seeds

Next, we transfer the pot to a warm place and wait for the first shoots to appear, periodically opening the film to air the planting. It is not necessary to water the seedlings during this period, if desired, you can slightly spray them, then the greens will turn out juicier.

  • Depending on the variety and the favorable conditions, the first sprouts of the basil will appear in 7-12 days..

When the shoots finally appear, remove the film and boldly thin out the shoots so that there is a gap of 10 cm between the remaining shoots.Then transfer the pot to a sunny windowsill.

  • When the seedlings grow up to 5-7 cm, you can add another 2-3 cm of soil to the pot to strengthen the young shoots..

From the moment the film is removed, you need to start looking after the plant – water regularly, loosen the ground, control the temperature and lighting. Below is a memo with the main rules of care.

Basil care rules

Watering: During the summer, water and spray the basil if desired in the morning every day, while the soil should always be moist, but not overflowed. In winter, watering should be moderate – 2 times a week will be enough.

Temperature: Keep an eye on the air temperature, it should be quite high – 20-25 degrees. Keep in mind that basil does not tolerate drafts, and at air temperatures below 20 degrees, it begins to lose its aroma..

Light: During the warmer months (March to August), basil needs 6 hours of natural sunlight. In winter, you cannot do without additional lighting. How and how to create it, read further in Step # 4.

Fertilizing the soil: If the soil is not fertile enough, then it can be fertilized once a month: biohumus, Agrolife (1 tsp on the surface of the earth) or other organic fertilizers.

Step 4. Create favorable lighting

If you grow basil in autumn or winter (from September to February), then your mini-vegetable garden must be artificially illuminated for 12 hours a day..

  • Fitolamps or LED lamps with warm white light 2700K, installed at a distance of 15-20 cm from plants, are suitable for this..

Step 5. Correct harvest

The key to getting fluffy and branched with lots of basil leaves is to prune frequently and early, also known as pinching..

After 1-1.5 months, when the basil is overgrown with 4-6 real leaves, you need to harvest the first harvest by pinching off 2 leaves from the tops.

Further, when the basil acquires 3 sets of real leaves, you need to pinch its top immediately, cutting off the stem just above the small leaves that are just starting to grow from the sinuses. The place of the cut and those very small, barely noticeable leaves can be seen in the photo below. This procedure needs to be done every few weeks..

Pinching basil

Pinching basil

  • When you only need a few leaves here and there to add to a dish or drink, select the older side leaves and pinch them off where they meet the main stem (shown in the photo).

Lateral shoots of basil

Lateral shoots of basil

  • Remember that plants should always have at least 4 leaves at the bottom. If you prune the lower shoots, the basil will start to grow in height rather than in breadth and will become less productive..
  • If you see a bud in bloom, immediately cut it off and the two leaves below it. If this is not done, the greens will start to deteriorate..

We offer you to watch a visual video lesson on growing basil on a windowsill.

3 alternative ways to grow basil in pots

  1. All the same method, but with germinating seeds in a temporary container and then picking them into a permanent

In our instructions, we talked about sowing seeds immediately into a permanent pot, which is convenient because the plant does not need to be replanted after the first shoots. But if for the first 1.5 months you do not want to clutter up the windowsill with a large pot, then you can first sow the seeds in a small container (for example, in sour cream cups) and only after reaching the growth of shoots of 5-7 cm, transplant them in a big pot.

Basil seedlings

You can clearly see the process of picking basil in the next video tutorial..

  1. Transplanting basil from open ground to a pot

If you are growing basil in a garden bed, then you can simply transplant the young plant into a pot. Such basil will harvest faster, but it will not last long, as it will bloom soon.

  1. Growing basil from cuttings

Another way to speed up and simplify growing basil is by planting cuttings. To do this, you need to cut off the tops or side shoots from an adult plant (you can even from a purchased basil), germinate them in water for 1-2 weeks (changing it every day), and then plant them in a pot. Such seedlings will give the first harvest in 2-3 weeks, but will stand for only 3-4 months..

  • Sprouting basil cuttings
  • Sprouting basil cuttings Sprouting basil cuttings