Planting Basil in a Pot – Everything You Need To Know

Basil is a popular herb often found in home gardens due to its easy growth and maintenance. It can also be a delicious and nutritious ingredient in various recipes. Let’s talk about basil, everyone!

How many basil plants per pot? 

Although basil will happily grow close together, crowded basil will remain small and be more prone to poor health and disease. For optimal results, you should plant only one basil plant for every half gallon of soil. This will provide the roots ample room to grow and lead to more productive plants.

Growing your own basil takes only a little preparation, and the reward is totally worth it. Our guide below outlines everything you need to get started. 

Planting Basil in a Pot

Basil is one of those plants that does extremely well when grown in containers as long as you provide four basic things:

  • The right potting mix.
  • Additional nutrients.
  • Ample room for growth.
  • Lots of sunshine.
  • Adequate water.

Does Basil Grow Well in Pots?

Basil does great in pots! It is the ideal choice for gardeners who have little space or for those who would like to grow something indoors or on balconies.

What Size Pot for Basil?

The more room you can give plants, the happier they will be and the more vigorous they will grow. However, a single basil plant will do just fine grown in a half-gallon pot. Just remember that smaller pots dry out fast, especially when placed outdoors and in direct sun all day, so stay vigilant with your watering.

Best Soil for Basil in Pots

The best soils for basil in pots are those that have been formulated to give plants the nutrients and growing conditions they need. Choose a high-quality, organic potting mix whenever planting an edible food crop like basil.

How Deep To Plant Basil Seeds

Basil seeds will sprout very close to the surface, and it isn’t necessary to bury them deeply. Most gardeners will agree that basil seeds should be planted around ⅕  inch into the soil and then patted down with more potting mix.

Basil Germination Rate

The germination rate will often depend on individual seed suppliers. Some companies provide better quality seeds than others, so it is always good practice to buy high-quality seeds, preferably heirloom varieties. 

Many companies will guarantee a germination rate of at least 50% for any variety of vegetables or herbs, and basil will usually have a rate of 80-95%. This means that out of 100 seeds, around 80 to 95 will germinate.

When To Transplant Basil Seedlings to Bigger Pots

Basil seedlings don’t take very long to mature to transplanting size. Usually, this will be when seedlings form their first true leaves. This usually takes around three weeks from sowing.

How Deep To Plant Basil Transplants

Basil seedlings should be planted at the same depth as they were when in seedling trays. Going above this soil line invites rot, and going below will expose roots and cause stress.

Number of Basil Plants Per Pot

As a rule of thumb, one basil plant will require around half to a full gallon of soil. You should try to provide more space when you can manage it. A common garden pot of 4 gallons should be a comfortable home for about 4-6 basil plants.

How To Plant Basil Seeds

Growing basil from seed can be a wonderful experience and a great educational activity  — especially for children and those new to gardening. 

Because of the high germination rates when following our guide, you should quickly see the results of your labor, making it all the more rewarding.

  1. Find a sunny spot in the garden and dig in organic compost into the top 5 inches of soil. Alternatively, use a good organic potting mix, and fill a container.
  2. Take your chosen basil seeds, and place them anywhere in the soil, provided they are at least 6 inches apart. This is the same both for container and outdoor garden growing.
  3. Be sure to keep the soil moist but never wet or water-logged. You can place cling film or aluminum foil on top of pots to promote a warm, humid environment. Just be sure to air it out once a day to prevent mold.
  4. Basil that sprouts in pots should be moved into the sun as soon as seedlings appear. Take care in watering young plants — a gentle dowsing from a watering can is good practice. Never use hard-hitting sprayers like garden hoses.

If seedlings are growing too closely, they can be transplanted to another area or thinned out once they begin growing their first true leaves.

Growing Basil From Supermarket Plant

Growing basil from cuttings is one of the preferred methods for gardeners as we can choose the healthiest and strongest specimens.

Simply cut a leafy stem of about 5 inches, then remove all bottom leaves, leaving only the top. Cut the stalk at an angle,and then place the stem into water for around three weeks or until there are plenty of roots. At this time, your basil can be transplanted into the garden or into pots.

To ensure your cuttings have the best chance at growing roots, you can buy a rooting agent. This will speed up root growth and give your basil the best chance at surviving.

Related Questions:

How Long Does Basil Take To Grow?

With optimal temperatures, nutrients, water, and light, basil will be ready to harvest in around 40 days.

Do Basil Seeds Need Light To Germinate?

No, basil does not need direct sunlight to germinate. However, basil definitely needs direct sunlight to grow.


Basil is one of the easiest and fastest-growing herbs out there. When given a great start to life, it will keep on providing growers with lots of delicious leaves for many weeks to come. It’s really simple to get started, so why not give it a try?