Basil is a popular herb for container gardens or for indoor windowsill gardens. It is one of the easiest herbs to grow outside. However, it does have some special care needs in order to flourish indoors.
If you have the time, space and proper growing conditions, you can start your basil from seeds. However, buying healthy, young plants is actually the easiest way to get a good start of basil to grow indoors. Most likely, you want to plant your basil in an attractive container that will enhance your kitchen decor. Your main concern when choosing a container should be the size of the container and what type of drainage it would provide. Basil needs to dry slightly between watering. You can not grow basil in a container without good drainage.
The type of soil you use is important. Your basil will grow well in a premixed, medium density potting soil that you can easily find in any garden center. If you prefer, you can make your own mixture using equal parts of vermiculite, peat, and perlite.
Basil thrives in warm temperatures. It requires six to eight hours of sunlight. If you have a sunny south facing window, you have the ideal window location for your basil. Most people like to grow an indoor herb garden in the kitchen. This allows them to snip the herbs as they need them when preparing a meal. If your kitchen doesn’t receive a large amount of natural light, you will need the assistance of a fluorescent light to grow herbs indoors. Indoor basil plants should be water about once a week or every ten days. You will probably find that fertilizing your basil once every four to six weeks is sufficient. You need to prune the basil or pinch it back to keep it from blooming and to keep it at an appropriate height. If you use the basil regularly in recipes you prepare, additional pruning may not be necessary.
The most popular basil to grow indoors is sweet basil. This goes well in Italian dishes, pesto, and on salads and sandwiches. Thai basil is also a popular variety of basil for an indoor garden. Globe basil is flavorful and the plant itself is a beautiful addition to any kitchen. You may discover that purple basil is an attractive herb to grow, but it does not have a flavor that many people find appealing. It is a wonderfully, aromatic herb to have in your home.
As a general rule, if you want to grow several different herbs indoors, it is best to plant each herb in a separate pot. A grouping of small containers with a variety of herbs growing in them makes a very attractive addition to your kitchen windowsill or counter top.