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How to Plant Basil in Pots or Containers (5 Easy Steps)

Collage on how to plant basil in pot.

Growing your own basil is easy and fun. Basil grows easily in pots and containers. What better place to grow it than on your patio or in a handy courtyard pot? This delicious and nutritious herb is a must in all gardens. Below we will answer how to plant basil in pots or containers.

How to Plant Basil in Pots - Step 5. Compact the Soil and Water the Basil Plants

How to Plant Basil in Pots or Containers

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

The article below will discuss the pot size and sunlight requirements, fertilizers, soil, and water needs of basil. Buy your favorite type of basil at a garden center or nursery and follow the steps below for everything you need to know to have healthy, happy basil.

Tools

  • Bag of potting soil
  • Wheelbarrow or large container to work with soil
  • Pot or container for the basil
  • Drainage stones (optional)
  • Watering can
  • Small gardening spade (optional)
  • Gardening gloves (optional)

Instructions

Step 1. Select a Pot or Container and Potting Soil

How to Plant Basil in Pots - Step 1. Select a Pot or Container and Potting Soil

Choose the pot or container you will use to plant the basil in. It should be a pot that is big enough to hold as many basil plants as you would like. Ideally, the pot will have drainage holes, so the soil does not become waterlogged when it is watered. 

Line the bottom of the pot or container with drainage stones as an optional extra.

Top Tip: If you are planting multiple pots or containers, follow the same steps for each pot you fill with basil.

Empty a bag of all-purpose potting soil into the wheelbarrow or a large container. This is to make it easier to work with the soil. Should some spill out the side of the pot, you will still be able to use it later.

Potting soil is recommended for planting in pots over other soil as it has all the necessary components to ensure your soil stays sufficiently aerated, holds the right amount of moisture, and does not grow unnecessary fungus.

Should you wish to make your own potting soil, mix one part compost, one part perlite, one part vermiculite, and a small amount of sand. This mix will give you good soil for growing basil plants in pots.

Step 2. Fill a Pot With Potting Soil

How to Plant Basil in Pots - Step 2. Fill a Pot With Potting Soil

Using both hands, scoop handfuls of potting soil into the pot or container. Fill the container to about 1 inch from the top. Don't fill the pot to the brim with soil, as this will make it difficult to plant the basil and water once the plants are in.

Top Tip: Once the basil plants have been planted, fertilize the soil about once a month with an all-purpose fertilizer, or fertilize with your own mix of one part blood meal, one part bone meal, one part greensand, and ground up egg shells and banana peels. This will supply the basil with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and micronutrients.

Flatten the top layer of potting soil with your hand and gently compact it.

Top Tip: Unlike many other plants, basil likes to be cramped. Potting it into a smaller pot or filling it with more plants will help it grow.

Step 3. Remove the Basil Plants From the Seedling Containers

How to Plant Basil in Pots - Step 3. Remove the Basil Plants From the Seedling Containers

Take the seedling containers with young basil plants and remove the whole plant and root ball from the container. To do this, gently squeeze the sides of each container to loosen the roots inside. Then push the bottom of the segment to make the root ball slide out.

Grip the root ball with your fingers and pull the whole plant out of the segment or grab the base of the basil stem with your thumb and forefinger and gently pull it out.

Do not squeeze or disturb the root ball too much, as this may damage the roots.

Do the same for all the basil plants you bought.

Step 4. Plant Each Basil Plant in the Potting Soil

How to Plant Basil in Pots - Step 4. Plant Each Basil Plant in the Potting Soil

Use your fingers to make a hole in the potting soil about the size of the basil's root ball. Do this by pushing all four fingers into the soil and moving them backward and forwards until you have made a hole big enough to accommodate the root ball. As the soil has just been put in the pot, it should be loose enough to make the hole without much resistance.

Top Tip: Soil rich in perlite and vermiculite will keep the soil crumbly and loose. Use potting soil that does not compact too much and retains water well.

Make as many holes in the soil as the number of individual plants you have.

Step 5. Compact the Soil and Water the Basil Plants

How to Plant Basil in Pots - Step 5. Compact the Soil and Water the Basil Plants

When all the basil plants are in the soil, cover their roots with soil. The base of the stems should not be covered. Smooth the soil with your fingers between each plant so that the top layer is flat. This will allow water to absorb into the soil evenly.

Water the pot or container until water runs out of the holes at the bottom.

Top Tip: Water the newly planted basil at least twice a week or whenever the soil shows signs of drying out.

When the basil plants grow, they create a canopy and grow into a lush bush. Place your pot or container of basil on a patio, deck, courtyard, or garden. Keep the soil in the newly planted basil pot moist for the first few weeks so that the plants' root balls begin to spread and establish in the new container.

Notes

The more sun basil gets in a day, the more leaves it will put out. At a minimum, basil only needs about four hours of sunlight daily. It can be placed on patios or areas where sunlight is not ideal and still thrive.

Did you make this project?

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Resources:

How to Grow Basil In Containers – Complete Growing Guide

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