How To Grow Basil From Seeds

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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. 

 

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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

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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! 


3 comments

  • Thank you for setting up this blog! It’s really helpful as it gives confidence to beginners like me. :)

    Ivy Se Hoo
  • Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for your questions!

    Sweet Basil is a great variety and I love the flavour, especially in Indian food!
    We have great climate here in Singapore for growing basil so your basil plants should be thriving.
    I can think of 2 reasons why your basil leaves may be facing distress.
    1. Watering
    Basil is a water loving plant so make sure you water your pot regularly. In sunny Singapore, this means at least once a day (especially since you say you get morning sun in your balcony).
    2. Pests
    Curling leaves could also be because of pest infestation such as aphids. There are sprays you can use to eliminate them which are available in most nurseries here.
    3. Trimming
    I have found that basil requires regular trimming because they grow so fast in our climate. Trimming also helps to make the growth bushier so make sure you do that regularly.

    On your question on soil medium, if you are growing basil from seeds, then a seedling mix (which is primarily a light mix of coco peat & perlite) is good to get the seed to germinate. After the seedling stage, you will want to repot the basil into larger pots. At this stage of the growth, the basil seedling will need some nutrients in the medium so adding a small amount of worm cast to the same mixture will enable it to grow to the next stage.

    Hope this helps!

    Sakina
  • Hi Sakina, I live in a flat in Singapore and am so grateful to chance upon your post. I am a beginner gardener with little experience and not much luck with growing sweet basil. I have not grown them from seeds but always re-potted those bought in the nursery or supermarket. They inevitably died from leaves first curling up and shrinking. And so I thought that Singapore climate is not right for sweet basil!! Could you advise me on your suggested soil medium composition for repotting? Would also appreciate tips on watering, sunlight etc. I have a balcony with direct morning sun. I am excited!! Thank you!

    Margaret

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