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  • Botanical name: Ocimum americanum
  • Life cycle: Herbaceous annual
  • Hardiness zones: 8-10
  • Planting season: Spring, summer
  • Days to maturity: 60-80 days; can begin harvesting when 6" tall
  • Depth to plant seeds: 1/4" deep
  • Days to germinate (sprout): 5-10 days
  • Germination soil temps: 70F-75F
  • Spacing between plants: 12"-18" apart
  • Spacing between rows: 18"-24" apart
  • # of plants per sq. ft.: Appx. 1 plant per 2 sq. ft.
  • Soil types: Sandy, loamy, silty, rich, moist, well-drained
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Sun needs: Full sun
  • Water needs: High - keep soil moist
  • Heat tolerant: Yes
  • Deer resistant: Yes
  • Culinary use: Yes
  • Medicinal use: Yes

As a companion plant, it attracts hummingbirds, pollinators, and beneficial insects, and repels aphids, asparagus beetles, cabbage moths, cabbage white butterfly, cabbage worms, carrot rust fly, flies, maggots, mice, mosquitoes, spider mites, thrips, and tomato hornworms. 


How to Grow & Harvest Basil



When to Plant

Basil is planted in the spring and dies at the first fall frost. It can be grown year-round indoors or in frost-free climate. Basil also needs daytime temperatures over 70° F and nighttime temps over 50° F. Basil thrives in warmer temperatures.  Sow your seeds outdoors in spring, after all danger of frost has passed.

How to Plant

Choose a sunny, sheltered spot that is protected from wind and other temperature extremes.  Basil needs at least 6-8 hours of full sun each day, so keep that in mind when choosing a location to start your seeds. Try to space your basil plants about 12 inches apart. There are also dwarf varieties that work well in containers.

When to Harvest

When growing basil, as soon as you see flowers start to appear, make sure you pinch or snip them off.  This will help the plant stay focused on producing leaves and will encourage the plant to "branch out" as well.   Once your basil plant is about 6 inches tall, start pinching off the tops to encourage branching. 


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