Quick Reference

Harvest Type:  Successive

Transplant/Direct Sow:  Direct sow

When to Plant:  2-3 weeks after the last frost.

Days to Germinate:  7-10 days

Days to Maturity:  50-70 days

Planting Depth:  ¼” deep

Germination Temp:  50-70°F

Seed Spacing:  2-3 seeds, 2-3" apart.  Thin when plants are 1" tall.

Rows:  18" apart

Light:  Full sun with afternoon shade.

Soil pH:  6.0 - 7.0 pH

Water:  1" per week.  Prefers to stay moist.

Soil Temperature:  50-70°F

Fertilizer:  Add nitrogen-rich compost or aged manure before planting seeds. Use a time-release granule fertilizer only if the leaves start to pale.

Rotation:  Not needed if soil preparation includes nitrogen-rich

compost before planting.


Harvest Type

Many people harvest basil as they need it. Mostly, it is a cut-and-grow crop, meaning that you cut what you need and allow the plant to continue to produce. Basil is also an excellent plant for drying.

Transplant / Direct Sow

Most people direct sow basil seeds. You can plant seeds in trays indoors early and then transplant the seedlings outdoors when the soil is warm.

When to Plant:

Basil is a heat-loving plant. Plant in late spring when the soil temperature is above 50 degrees and about 2-3 weeks after your last frost date. Basil does not tolerate cold weather.

Days to germinate

Generally, 7-10 days in full sun.

Days to maturity

It takes about 50-70 days for basil to mature. Many people begin to snip leaves when the plants are around one-foot tall. Snip lightly to avoid killing the plant until it is mature. When mature, you can prune 2/3 of the top of the plant as a harvest.

Planting Depth

Plant basil seeds about 1/4" deep.  Plant 2-3 seeds at a time and space them 2-3 inches apart.

Germination Temperature Range

Basil does not like cool weather. For germination, ambient temperatures should be 80-90°F, with soil temperatures of 50-70°F.

Spacing Between Plants

Basil plants grow wide and about 2' tall. Space them 12-15" apart.

Growing conditions

Basil loves heat and grows well in full sun with a little afternoon shade. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0-7.0 that holds moisture. Bail likes to be moist but not wet.

Companion Plants

Basil and tomatoes are well-known companion plants for a few reasons. Basil is known to repel thrips and whiteflies, which can damage tomato blossoms and fruit. Other plants that grow well with basil include most herbs, peppers, and root vegetables.


Rotating basil crops is not necessary if you amend the soil before planting. Because basil grows so well with tomatoes, a plant that requires nutrient-rich soil, you can rotate your basil with tomatoes.

TIP: Replace or amend the soil if grown in a pot; you can rotate basil planting as you rotate your tomatoes. The two grow well together.

Anticipated yields

Plan your garden yield at 3-4 basil plants per person.

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