italian large leaf bail in terracotta pot

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Italian Large Leaf Basil

An aromatic leafy herb, Basil is an annual, easy to grow inside or outside. It is mostly known for it’s edible use in recipes for past sauces or pesto. But treated as a cut flower, it also makes a fantastic filler for floral arrangements.

How To Pronounce Ocimum basilicum

The botanical name of Basil is Ocimum basilicum. The Oci sounds like ocean so O-sh-mum and ba, like bath and hard C, so baz-il-i-kum.) You can hear it below.

Italian Large Leaf Basil in Terracotta Pot
Photo credit: Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

Growing Basil For Beginners is Easy

Planted at 1/4″ deep, Basil seeds germinate quickly, usually within 5 to 10 days. This helps the beginner experience some joy and excitement. The seeds germinate best when the soil is between 65 and 70 degrees fahrenheit.

italian large leaf basil seeds
Italian Large Leaf Basil Seeds

Generally, soil temperature is around 10 degrees cooler than room temperature. No need to worry though. If your room is around 70 degrees, place your seeds on top of your refrigerator or near a heat vent. That will usually be enough to get your soil to a good temperature.

Basil is not drought tolerant so make sure that you keep the soil moist. Not soggy, just moist and that your container drains well. I like to water from the bottom allowing the potting mix to soak up the water it needs. Once the potting mix is moist, make sure there is no standing water in the bottom container.

italian large leaf basil seedings
Basil Seedlings

When your seedlings have 3 to 4 true leaves, they can be potted up into a larger container. If you are planting outside, you need to wait until after the last frost in your area happens.

Printable Care Guide for Basil

I print and use this guide when starting my seeds. It hangs on the shelving unit and I make notes as needed. You may need to adjust the scale when you print for it to fit on one 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet. Simply click the printer icon to get started.

Italian Large Leaf Basil Guide

italian large leaf bail in terracotta potStart SeedsIndoors, 6-8 wks before last frost
Seed Depth1/4"
Germination Days5-10
Temperature65 to 70°
WaterKeep Moist
Light16 hrs day for seeds. Full sun for plants outdoors.
Fertilize1/2 strength @ 6wks
Transplant or Pot UpIndoors after 3-4 true leaves. Outdoors, after danger of frost.
Plant SpacingLandscape: 12-16"
As Cut Flower: 6"
Maturity50 days
Pinch?Yes, when 6" tall
HarvestPinch leaves for eating. Cut stems early morning for floral arrangements.
Floral ConditioningCut early morning, Quick Dip and put stem in ice water for 24 hours.


Seeds Started DateFirst Germination DateTransplant Out DateSecond Succession Start SeedsSS First GerminationSS Transplant Out

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