Learn how to grow basil in Florida with all our easy tips and tricks.
This post may contain affiliate links, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my Disclaimer for more information.
Basil is very easy to grow, it is a great herb to learn how to grow for beginners and it loves Florida’s warm climate.
After you learn how to grow basil, you will never have to buy basil again.
Honestly, growing basil in Florida it’s not hard.
You just need to know the right time and all the tips and tricks to grow basil successfully.
This post will help you grow basil in Florida in no time!
Table of Contents: How to grow basil in Florida
We will teach you how to grow basil, and some tips on what to do after you grow and harvest it.
People have been growing basil for years with minimal resources, so I know after you read all of our tips on how to grow basil in Florida you won’t have a problem.
So let’s start from the beginning, the history of basil.
History of Basil
This flavorful and aromatic herb has been part of many cultures and countries. Even serving the name basileus, a Greek word that means “King of herbs.”
Basil was been grown and used for many purposes for over 5,000 years.
This multi-purpose herb is part of the mint family and is used all over the world in Italian dishes, Asian dishes, Greek, American, and the list goes on.
History shows basil is native to Asia, has a birthplace in India, and is traced back to mummies in Egypt.
The English used basil to flavor their food and it was also used as an insecticide.
India is known for its basil called Holly Basil and in Ancient Greece, basil was used for mourning.
It wasn’t until the 16th century that North America received basil from Britain.
For years basil has been used for medicinal purposes and even in Ayurvedic medicine.
Medicinal purposes Basil is used to help with:
- The digestive system improves memory
- treatment for burns
- even to treat high cholesterol
Types of Basil
There are over 150 varieties of basil but some of the main varieties of basil include Sweet basil and Thai basil.
Sweet Basil, also called Genovese basil, is one of the most popular basils to use in the kitchen, and it is the type of basil you will usually see in your local supermarkets.
Some basils like cinnamon basil, have a purple color while others have the classic green color
There are also many flavors of basil, lemon basil smells and taste like lemon and Thai Basil has a spicy taste.
Even the size and shape of the leaves can be different depending on the variety.
Not everyone uses basil for cooking, some gardeners like me use basil for tea.
Since basil is so diverse, you just have to find basil that you want to grow.
In Florida, you can grow any type of basil and it will grow prolifically for you.
Most common varieties
- Best basil for cooking: Italian Genovese basil
- Best basil for tea: Tulsi basil
- Best basil for sweet treats: Lemon basil
- Overall best selection of basil seeds: Six Basil blends
When to plant basil?
In Florida basil can be planted all year round but with some exceptions for winter when you have to bring your basil inside.
For a more specific date to plant basil in North Florida, Central Florida, and South Florida the best time to plant your basil seeds is early spring (March-April) or late summer/early fall.
Basil can be considered an annual herb and perennial herb in some cases.
- This is the one herb that can tolerate the summer heat and does not like colder climates as much.
- Basil cannot take temperatures under 50°F.
- As long as your chances of frost have passed you are good to go to plant basil seeds.
- Know your last frost date for the first frost date (which is the date temperatures can go below 30°F). To find out your first or last prostate click here.
- Remember basil cannot take temperatures under 50°F as it will turn black and it will die.
As long as you care for your basil and trim it before it flowers or if it flowers you can maintain a basil for a long time.
Basil can be grown in-ground gardens, in raised beds (My favorite raised beds I use), and is the perfect crop for container gardens (I grew in grow bags, and they worked great!).
If you have a small space basil is a great herb to grow.
The best location to plant basil is in a spot that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
If you have your basil in a partial shade it will grow well in Florida in high heat when the sun is very intense in early summer.
Reminder: the full sun doesn’t always mean full Florida sun, so if you’re growing basil in the middle of the heat, make sure you have shade cloth over basil because leaves can burn.
Some tips for the best plant location for basil are:
- A sunny spot to get at least six hours of sun
- Your location with great drainage
- Plants in the soil are loose
- By a windowsill if growing inside
Overall, basil needs soil that is rich in organic matter.
- The best soil for your basil plants it’s all that is loose and has great drainage.
- The ideal pH for soil, if planting basil is between 6.0 and 7.0.
- As long as your soil, pH is neutral, you’ll be able to grow basil successfully
- Moist soil is needed, but be careful overwatering your soil.
- You need well-drained soil
- Bagged, potting mix, or compost mix with your native soil is a great way to start growing basil.
In Florida, you can grow basil from seed in various ways.
- You can put seats on the ground when it is warm enough and the danger of frost has passed.
- Sow basil seeds no more than 1/4-inch deep and note it the seeds need light to germinate.
- You can sprinkle a light cover of vermiculite if you like to help your soil stay moist.
- The best way to sow basil seeds is indoors, or under grow lights.
- You can use a small container or seed starting kit to help you grow basil from seed.
- Do not forget to use garden labels to label your basil right after you sow the seeds.
Or you can soil Block basil, and it will grow as well.
If you do not know what saw soil blocking is check out our guide called Soil Blocking for Beginners.
Keeping your basil well watered is critical and having a healthy basil plant will produce large amounts of basil for you.
Basil likes to be moist, but not drenched in water so giving your basil at least 1 inch of water a week is key.
As long as you water deeply at least one time a week, your basil will have enough water
A great way to know if your basil needs to be watered is to stick your finger in the dirt, if a good amount of dirt sticks to your finger after you remove it you do not need to water it.
It’s important to fertilize your basil plants when it gets larger so you can stay healthy and strong for you
The purpose of fertilizing basil it’s maintaining good health and growth since no fruit is produced in a basil plant
- Any all-purpose fertilizer with an even amount of N, P, and K will do, preferably an organic source.
- You can use a slow-release fertilizer (granular fertilizer) for the long term or liquid fertilizer for the short term.
- Fertilizing your basil plants every month or every two weeks if you can manage that.
- If you see your basil leaves turning a yellowish color, apply liquid nitrogen base fertilizer once or twice a week until the leaves are nice and green again.
My go-to fertilizer for basil and most of my plants is fish emulsion.
Grow basil seedlings until they are about 6-7 inches or until it has at least 6-7 leaves.
Leaves of the plant can be harvested at any time and their flavor will depend on how old the leaves are.
The newest leaves will have a stronger flavor compared to the oldest leaves on your basil plant.
You can simply just pick up the leaves of the basil plant or cut sprigs of the basil plant to harvest them.
Pruning or trimming your basil plant is one of the most important things to do to keep your plant producing for you and give you maximum growth.
Cut back your basil when it’s at least 6 inches in height, right in the middle of the main stem.
You can also prune your basil when you see that it’s about to flower and it will give you new growth.
Cutting off some of your main stem, leaving at least half of its leaves will help you grow bushy basil plants that will produce for you all year long.
Below is a great video, showing you how I prune my basil leaving me basil all year long.
How to store & preserve Basil
The best part of growing basil is picking it and using it fresh.
You can also store it for later and preserve it in many ways that will help you have basil all year long.
Store basil in your fridge by placing it in an airtight bag or container but it won’t last no more than or week.
Preserve it by:
- Dry it with a dehydrator and make your own spices ( My dehydrator is great for beginners!)
- Making pesto and freezing it
- Dry basil, there are 7 different ways to dry basil!
- Create basil butter
- Add basil to olive oil and freeze it
Basil is an amazing, diverse herb to plant and I hope you learn from this basil-growing guide on how to grow basil in Florida.
Anyone can grow basil successfully if given the right information like all the tips in this post.
Happy herb gardening!
More great gardening posts.
PIN IT FOR LATER