Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Starting with the Right Soil for Your Basil Plants

Transplanting basil seedlings into good quality soil for container growing

Having healthy basil plants starts with having great soil in which to grow them, and there’s nothing like good old-fashioned compost to give your plants some of the organic materials they need to thrive.

And whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, use soil that drains well and contains plenty of nutrients.

Basil likes growing in pH-neutral soils for best results. Add some rich compost to your garden soil and mix well. Then, add a handful of perlite to improve aeration, drainage, and moisture retention in the soil.

That’s about all the soil amendments you need to grow the best basil at home. Adding too many soil amendments can actually cause your basil to lose its flavor.

And you definitely don’t need to fertilize your basil’s soil—that, too, can harm the ultimate flavor or your harvest.

What type of soil do you use to grow your basil? Do you use compost at all? What are your best tips for creating optimal soil for your basil plants? Please share your techniques with us.

  • We use a half-whiskey barrel at home for quick access and top off with compost and/or used starter mix each spring.

    In the vegetable garden, I plant among the tomatoes and eggplants for those times the barrel gets over used. That soil gets lots of garden compost, leaf mold, and straw.

    • Norann O.

      Your whiskey barrel sounds like a great spot for growing basil, and I too, nestle my basil among the tomato plants. In my opinion, you can never have too much basil. There’s nothing like reaching into your freezer in mid-winter to grab a block of homemade pesto and knowing that your hard work in the summer months continues to pay off throughout the winter.
      Thanks for sharing!


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