Growing Sweet Basil Indoors From Seed; The Ultimate Guide To Success

Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Guillermina

Follow these tips for growing sweet basil indoors from seed and enjoy its delicious leaves whenever you want.

Sweet basil is one of the most popular groups of basil used in kitchens around the world. Its prevalence is not surprising at all, as this herb is super tasty, very versatile, and incredibly easy to grow. It is an excellent addition to various dishes such as salads, pesto, sauces, pizzas, sandwiches, soups, pasta, as well as in many other dishes.

Want to have your own sweet basil on your kitchen window sill? Well, keep reading to find out all the details about growing sweet basil indoors from seed.

Facts & Physical Description Of The Plant

Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), is an annual plant from the mint family (Lamiaceae) and is mostly grown for its delicious and aromatic leaves. This plant is believed to have originated in India, from where it has spread to all parts of the world. It can be used fresh or dried to flavor meat, fish, salads, and sauces.

The sweet basil plant usually grows 12-18 inches tall. As for its appearance, sweet basil has glossy and oval-shaped leaves that are arranged oppositely along the square stems. Their color can vary from green to purple, and the size from very large lettuce-like leaves to very small leaves, which are half an inch in size.

The plant is also characterized by tiny flowers arranged in terminal clusters, and in terms of color, it mostly varies from white to magenta. Sweet basil is quite sensitive to frost, so it is usually recommended to grow it indoors.

As for the most popular species from the group of sweet basil, they are:

  • Napoletano – characterized by standard lettuce-like leaves.
  • Medinette – characterized by compact and large leaves.
  • Romanesco – characterized by very large leaves and a distinctively strong aroma.

 Can basil survive winter indoors?

The Process Of Growing Sweet Basil Indoors From Seed

As for preparing to plant sweet basil indoors, you don’t need to do anything special. However, soaking them in warm water overnight is something you should definitely do. Soaking will help your plant by speeding up its germination.

Material Needed

One of the best things we associate with growing sweet basil indoors from seed is that the process does not require any fancy equipment, nor any special knowledge and skills.

All you need to succeed is:

  • Seedling flat with a lid,
  • Seed starting soil or peat pellets (preferably pre-moistened),
  • Sweet basil seeds,
  • Water,
  • Heat mat (optional, but recommended if you want faster results).

Step By Step Guide

 growing sweet basil indoors from seed

Filling The Trays With Soil

As we have already mentioned, you can use seed starting soil or peat pellets, whichever suits you better. The first step is to actually fill the planting cells to the top with the medium of your choice.

The Number Of Seeds

Then you need to calculate how many sweet basil seeds you want to plant in one hole.

The amount of seed depends on the age of the seed itself. If the seed is older, it is recommended to plant 2-3 seeds per hole. Namely, older seeds have a lower germination rate, so it is necessary to plant a few more seeds, in order for at least one basil to sprout from each hole. On the other hand, if you plan to work with fresh seeds, you can plant one seed per cell/pellet.

The Planting Process Itself

Keep in mind that sweet basil seeds are quite small, so they don’t require planting deeper than 1/4 inch.

 How do you start sweet basil from seed?

There are several options for planting and growing sweet basil indoors from seed, and putting the seeds on the surface and pressing them into the soil is our favorite. This method is really simple and doesn’t require too much time, just be careful not to press the seeds too deep as you risk making it harder for them to germinate or not germinate at all. Finally, cover with a thin layer of soil.


Once you are done with the planting process, it is time to water your sweet basil seeds. It is not to water the seeds from above (pouring water over the top) as you risk them coming out of the soil.

Conversely, simply pour water into a tray and allow the soil to absorb water from the bottom. Leave the water to sit and after about 20 minutes check, then dump out any water that hasn’t been absorbed.

Covering The Trays

This is the last and also the simplest step, just cover the seedling tray with a plastic lid to help the soil stay moist and warm during germination.

In Conclusion

How long does it take for sweet basil seeds to germinate?

Sweet basil is one of the favorite spices around the world. There are almost no dishes that sweet basil would not make even better. Caring for it is quite easy, the most important thing is to have proper soil, plenty of suns (or supplementary light), moisture, and a good temperature.

We hope you found this article on growing sweet basil indoors from seed. Have you ever tried growing this herb indoors? Let us know in the comments!

You may also be interested in Growing Oregano From Seed Indoors – Care, Tips & More


How Do You Start Sweet Basil From Seed?

Starting growing sweet basil indoors from seed is not difficult at all.

Simply get the seedling flat with a lid, seed starting soil or peat pellets, and sweet basil seeds. Press the seeds about 1/4 inches deep into the soil and cover with another, thin layer of soil. Add an extra dose of moisture by pouring water into a tray, let the soil absorb water from the bottom, and then cover the seedling tray with a plastic lid.

How long does it take for sweet basil seeds to germinate?

Sweet basil usually germinates about 7-10 days after planting, and you can start harvesting 3-4 weeks later.

Can Basil Survive Winter Indoors?

The best thing you can do to help your sweet basil survive the winter is to bring it indoors. This plant is annual, therefore bringing it indoors is the best option for it to survive, continue to bloom, and bear its delicious leaves next year.

Is Basil Good Inside The House?

Sweet basil is one of those plants that grow extremely well both indoors and outdoors. This fragrant and delicious plant can be grown for kitchen use, making aromatic oils, or just for aesthetic purposes. So, yes, basil is a good choice for growing inside the house.

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