Basil is an essential ingredient in salads, pastas and sauces. Basil is an easy to grow annual that's a staple in the summer veggie patch. While sweet basil is the most common, there's a huge variety of different flavours, colours and leaf sizes to try.
Low humidity with most rainfall in winter; hot dry summers and cold winters. Some regions will experience frosts and snow. Includes coastal areas of south-eastern Australia and alpine areas of Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.
Basil plants are best grown in full sun. Choose a location that will receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day.
Basil plants need a well drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to loosen it and adding aged animal manure or compost. Keep the area free of weeds until planting.
Basil plants can be grown in containers. If possible choose a variety that’s recommended for container growing. Use a good quality potting mix and make sure your container is large enough for mature plants; a minimum of 10 litres is recommended for basil. During the growing season, keep in mind that container grown plants may need additional fertiliser to encourage healthy growth.
How to Sow Basil Seeds
Basil seeds do not require any treatment (eg soaking, stratification) before sowing.
Basil seeds can be sown directly into the garden OR seedlings can be raised in trays or other containers and transplanted to the garden once established.
Sow seeds directly in the garden 3mm deep and 25-40cm apart.
Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
Seeds should germinate in around 5-10 days at a soil temperature of 18-35°C.
Young seedlings will need protection from pests, pets and weather until they are established.
Fill trays, punnets or jiffy pots with a good quality seed-raising mix, or use soil starter pellets.
Sow seeds 3mm deep.
Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
Seeds should germinate in around 5-10 days at a soil temperature of 18-35°C.
Transplant seedlings to the garden once they have their first true leaves and are large enough to handle (usually 5-10cm tall).
Plant out, spacing plants 25-40cm apart.
Tip: Basil seeds can also be sown in the less formal ‘scatter seed’ method. Simply roughen the soil, scatter seeds evenly over the surface, then smooth the soil over lightly to cover the seeds.
How to Grow Basil
Basil plants may need watering during the growing season. Water when the soil is dry about 5cm below the surface (test this by scratching away a little soil with your finger). Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.
Optional: To give plants room to grow, thin seedlings when they are large enough to handle. Pull out any weak or small seedlings so plants are spaced about 25-40cm apart.
If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a high-nitrogen fertiliser or one formulated for leafy greens or herbs can be beneficial:
Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency during the growing season.
How to Harvest Basil
Basil should be ready to harvest in approximately 60-80 days.
Leaves are ready to harvest when they are large enough to eat, and can be harvested as needed. Harvest leaves by pinching off the outer leaves, leaving some on the plant for future growth. Eat leaves as soon as possible after harvesting. Store leaves short term in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. For longer term storage, leaves can be frozen whole or chopped and frozen in ice cubes.
Common Problems when Growing Basil
Like all plants, basil is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing basil plants:
Whitefly is a sap-sucking insect related to aphids. They are often found in large numbers on the underside of leaves and will swarm in clouds when disturbed. Plants may have yellowing leaves or may wilt, and growth will be slowed. Whitefly can be removed with a garden hose or sprayed with soap spray. Badly affected plants should be destroyed. Attracting beneficial insects that will prey on whitefly can be beneficial. Read more about managing whitefly here.
Slugs and snails are molluscs that feed on tender leaves and shoots, mostly at night, leaving slimy trails behind them. Control them by removing their hiding places, keeping free range poultry, collecting them by torchlight or by placing traps. Read more about slugs and snails here.
Damping off is caused by a fungal growth that transfers from the soil to seeds or tender seedlings. Seeds may appear not to germinate, or young plants start to rot when they emerge from the soil and become soft and mushy at the base before dying. Use new potting mix if raising seedlings, do not water foliage and avoid waterlogged soil. Read more about damping off here.
Bolting is when a plant prematurely flowers and goes to seed. Bolting can be caused by a period of extreme weather. Avoid sowing seed until after the danger of frosts has passed or in very hot weather. Water plants regularly and deeply in hot weather to prevent them suffering heat stress.
Frost damage can cause leaves to wilt and go black. Do not plant seedlings in the garden until all danger of frost has passed in spring, and harvest plants before winter. Prune all frost-damaged leaves to avoid them rotting on the plant.
The term ‘The Seed Collection Pty Ltd’ or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is . Our ABN is 61614299697. The term ‘you’ refers to the user or viewer of our website.
The content of the pages of this website is for your general information and use only. It is subject to change without notice.
Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.
This website contains material which is owned by or licensed to us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the design, layout, look, appearance and graphics. Reproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with the copyright notice, which forms part of these terms and conditions.
All trademarks reproduced in this website, which are not the property of, or licensed to the operator, are acknowledged on the website.
Unauthorised use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence.
From time to time, this website may also include links to other websites. These links are provided for your convenience to provide further information. They do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the linked website(s).
Your use of this website and any dispute arising out of such use of the website is subject to the laws of Australia.
We are committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.
We may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes.
What we collect
We may collect the following information:
name and job title
contact information including email address
demographic information such as postcode, preferences and interests
other information relevant to customer surveys and/or offers
What we do with the information we gather
We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:
Internal record keeping.
We may use the information to improve our products and services.
We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided. You will have the option to opt-out of all non-essential email.
Any personal information which you supply will not be divulged to a third party unless that third party is integral to the purpose for which you gave us your information or where required by law.
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.
A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.
Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.
You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.
Links to other websites
Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
Controlling your personal information
You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:
If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us.
If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible and we will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.