Growing a basil plant indoors is a reliable way to keep your kitchen stocked with garden fresh flavor, and the foolproof process requires minimal effort. Once you have repotted, keep these pro tips in mind, and your new plant is sure to thrive.
1. Find a Sunny Spot
The kitchen seems like an obvious spot to store your tasty herbs—that’s where you will be using them, after all—and the windowsill there might be a great choice. If you don’t have a window in your kitchen or it doesn’t get a lot of light, the basil pros suggest that you set convenience aside. “Basil does best in bright, indirect light, with a few hours of direct sun,” they explain. Any sill will do, provided there’s plenty of light, but “windows with south or southwest exposure are ideal.” Finally, keep in mind that the whole plant needs to catch some rays—rotate the pot on the regular and your basil will be living its best life.
2. Aim for a Consistent Climate
Good lighting isn’t the only criteria for keeping your indoor herb garden alive: Basil prefers mild weather—ideally 70 degrees—so aim for climate control (much easier on this scale) when picking a spot for your plant. Bottomline: Keep your basil away from air-conditioning, heating units, drafty windows and any other place that’s prone to significant temperature fluctuations.
3. Water Your Basil Plant Weekly
You don’t need to be a plant-whisperer to know that an herb garden needs water to thrive, but it may come as a relief to hear that basil is pretty low-maintenance. Give your plant a drink of tepid (room temperature) water weekly and you’ll be golden. If your indoor garden isn’t too bulky to move, gently water your herbs in the kitchen sink so they can drip dry.
4. Prune Your Plant
Brown leaves are bad news—if you notice any, pluck ‘em off so they don’t spoil the rest of your basil plant. But you can and should trim your basil plant before you see signs of sickness: Our gardening gurus recommend that you “regularly harvest or pinch off the outer, mature leaves to help the plant grow more compact and regularly.” That’s not a tall order, though, since you’ll already be doing that every time you make a delicious, herb-studded meal. Note: If you pull off a bit more than your recipe requires, store the excess leaves properly and they will live to see another day.
Now that you know what to do, scoop up a basil plant and get your growing on—your plant and your palate will thank you.