Growing Basil

Ocimum basilicum : Lamiaceae / the mint family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Basil in Australia - tropical regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 25 cm apart
  • Harvest in 10-12 weeks. Pick before flowering.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Tomato
  • A Basil plant
  • Basil flower

A frost tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent sweet smell. There are many varieties including Thai, purple ruffles, and lemon.

In frost-free regions perennial basil varieties will survive for years and the bush will keep on getting bigger and bigger.

Can be grown inside in pots in winter. As the plant develops, pinch out the top to encourage bushy growth. Pick off the flowers to encourage more leaf growth.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Basil

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. Tear rather than chop.
The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.

Your comments and tips

15 Aug 22, Anna (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Basil will die off immediately in the very first frost, with black leaves you can't use. Plant it in a pot so you can move it indoors in winter, or pick and dry all the leaves before first frost and plant new seeds each year.
21 Sep 19, Benjamin (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi guys just wondering can you grow Basil all year round if I plant the basil in the ground when it cools down again for winter will it come back or should I keep it in pots in the winter months undercover and replant again in med September.
16 Nov 19, Michelle (Australia - temperate climate)
My Basil has grown all year round in Melbourne as I gave it protection from the wintery frost.
23 Sep 19, Anon (Australia - arid climate)
Ask around and see if you get some perennial basil. It grows all year.
30 May 19, Patrick (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi , Have successfully grown Basil in large pots this summer ,with the cooler weather upon us have cut the plants right back - 4/5 cms from ground level - will the plants now survive the winter and become productive again next summer or should I simply pull them out and start afresh in the late spring? Your comments / advice please
18 Jun 19, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Why would you cut a plant back so hard? It's like you going from 5 meals a day to one snack.
01 Sep 18, Pam Luxmoore (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I’m at my cousins place on Mt Tamborine. Magnificent views over Gold Coast. Can I plant basil seeds now for her and do they like full morning sun ( view of coast ) or afternoon sun the other side. Could easily grow inside or outside with partial shade etc. thanks Pam
02 Sep 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Google it - basil full sun. 6-8 hrs of sunlight.
19 Aug 18, Joe (Australia - temperate climate)
I have cleared my entire garden and am planning starting veggies and herbs. My garden has areas that are full sun, partial sun, and full shade. I live in Perth, WA, temperate climate. Can anyone help me in finding out which veggies like to be planted in full sun , partial sun, and shady parts of my garden ? Thanks Joe
25 Aug 18, Peta (Australia - temperate climate)
Just remember that "Perth sun" is stronger than normal sun. so most plants that are "full sun" need partial shade in our summers. Now is definitely tomato and basil season. I would figure out what you like to eat first and put those in as a priority and work around them. Ask your local garden centre including your local hardware garden centre :)
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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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