Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow from seeds in Singapore because it is a sun loving plant. From sowing to producing fresh leaves takes a cycle of between 6-8 weeks. If you use a lot of basil, it can work out to be a lot cheaper to grow them from seeds.
Starting The Process
1. Prepare your medium. The best medium to use for your basil seeds is a light potting mix of peat and perlite. A light potting mix will allow the roots of your seedlings to grow freely. Fill your container with potting mix, add water, and mix until your soil is just wet enough to hold together in your hand.
2. Prepare your trays. You can use either seedling starting trays or recycle your small used pots. Fill your trays with the moistened potting mix.
3. Sow between 3-4 basil seeds per cell or pot and lightly cover with some potting mix. Mist or spray your seeds with water so they have good contact with the medium. Do ensure that your seeds are not exposed. If they are, cover them lightly.
4. Cover the tray or pots with a dome or plastic cover (this will help keep the moisture). Basil is quick to germinate in our warm climate. You should see your seeds germinate in 3-4 days.
5. As soon as the seeds have germinated, remove the dome, spray the cells/pots with water, and place them under natural light with good air circulation.
Germinated seeds sowed in small recycled pots
Two weeks after the seeds germinated
Week 3. These are now ready to be re-potted
How To Care For Your Basil Plant
Once your basil has reached the seedling stage, caring for your plant is fairly easy.
1. Basil are sun-loving plants so make sure they get plenty of sun. In Singapore, where it tends to get very hot, morning or late afternoon sun is best.
2. Never over water your basil plant. Bottom watering your basil is best as it allows the roots to soak the water and keeps them hydrated. Depending on the humidity and temperature, water the basil on alternate days or every 2-3 days. A good way to retain moisture without overwatering is to add mulch on top of the soil.
3. Always keep the basil plant in an area with good air circulation. It will keep your plant healthy and reduce the risk of developing mould.
4. Regular pruning of your basil plant is extremely important because it allows the plant to branch and grow into a bushy pattern rather than tall and lengthy. Start doing this when your plant starts growing about 4-5 sets of leaves. To prune, simply cut the stem right above the leaf node (the point where side shoots emerge).
If you've never tried growing your own basil from seeds, there's no time like now!