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Basil, Sweet

Short Description

This is the classic basil.

Full Description

Sweet basil is ideal for tomato sauces, pesto and salads. Start early indoors or outdoors after danger of frost.
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Order: 1 Pkt. (500 seeds)
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Product properties

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

60-90 days

Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year; biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year; perennials can live for more than two years.


Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

12-18 inches

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

10-14 inches

Additional Uses Additional ways in which the product may be used in the garden.

Container Plant, Fragrant

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since 1876


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Fresh Garden Herbs
Fresh Garden Herbs
Anyone can grow fresh gourmet garden herbs in just a small space or container.
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Growing Basil
Growing Basil
It’s the most popular garden herb, easy to grow, and comes in an incredible selection of colors, shapes and flavors.
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  • Basil

    Start Indoors Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summer
    Transplant Transplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for spring
    Start Outdoors Start Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summer
    Start Indoors Fall Start Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    Transplant Fall Transplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fall
    Start Outdoors Fall Start Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    First Date: May-02 - Last Date: May-30
    First Date: Mar-07 - Last Date: Mar-21
    First Date: May-02 - Last Date: May-30

Basil may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden, or planted as a potted plant.

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Sow basil seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
  • Sow seeds ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula
  • Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Sowing Directly in the Garden:

  • Direct sow in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost when the soil is at least 60 degrees F.
  • Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth. 
  • Sow seeds evenly and cover with ¼ inches of fine soil. 
  • Firm the soil lightly and keep evenly moist. 
  • Seedlings will emerge in 7-14 days, possibly longer in cooler soils.

Planting in the Garden:

  • Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. 
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Basil should not be allowed to dry out.
  • Pinch the stems to encourage bushiness. Pinch flowers off to prolong the harvest.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
  • Discard plants after they bloom.
  • Pinch leaves from the tips of the stems as needed starting 60-90 days after the seedlings have two sets of leaves.
  • If fresh, pick early in the morning for highest oil content.
  • For drying or freezing, harvest leaves that have their maximum oil content, just before flowering.
  • To harvest the leaves, pinch the stems just above a set of leaves as needed from the top. This will also help keep the plants bushy.
  • Do not harvest too much of the plant at one time as this may weaken the plant.
  • Flowers are also edible and may be used as a garnish.
  • To dry, cut whole stems on a dry morning. Tie stems loosely together in small bunches and hang in a dry, airy location out of the sun. Basil may also be dried on a cheesecloth or a window screen in a dry, shady location. When thoroughly dry, store in a tightly sealed glass jar in a dry, dark location.
  • Basil may be frozen dry on a cookie sheet and then sealed in zip lock bags, or it can be minced and frozen in an ice cube tray in water or olive oil.
  • You can also preserve basil using sea salt. Place a layer of sea salt on the bottom of the container you will use. Place a leaf on top of the salt. Add a layer of salt to cover the leaf so the leaves do not touch each other. Make as many layers are you have room for and seal the container and place in the refrigerator.
Full Sun
Days To Maturity
60-90 days
Life Cycle
12-18 inches
10-14 inches
Additional Uses
Container Plant, Fragrant
Sow Method
Direct Sow/Indoor Sow
Planting Time
Spring, Summer
12 inches
Basil, Sweet is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 30.
Date published: 2019-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great basil Easy to germinate and grows quick that I couldn’t keep up with it. I had to give so much away to coworkers.
Date published: 2018-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First Time Grower-Used a plastic Egg Carton w/lid! I have always wanted to grow my own herbs and decided to try this. I had a clear 18 egg carton that has a lid attached. I removed the sticker on the packaging, used a sharp knife to poke a hole on the bottom of each egg slot. I then poked a few holes on the top, scattered, approximately 6. I went to my local home improvement store, bought Sweet Basil, Hot Pepper and Cilantro...all from Burpee. They were $1.49-$2.09 each. I also bought a bag, 8 Quart size of Miracle Grow potting mix. I then filled each egg slot halfway with the soil. I used my pinky finger and poked a little bed within each egg slot that I filled with oil. Use a permanent marker and write on the top of the lid, which herbs are on each side, in case you forget. Counting from top to bottom, I used the far (6) on the right for my Sweet Basil, The middle (6) for Cilantro and the far left (6) for Hot peppers. I counted 5-6 seedlings of the Sweet Basil, filling all 6 egg slots with 5-6 seedlings each, then I topped them all with another tablespoon full of soil. I did the same with the cilantro and hot peppers. I then used a bottle of water, since it was easier to pour and lightly watered every egg slot. I closed the lid, as this creates a Greenhouse effect and the plants can start germinating quicker. I put the egg carton onto another plastic lid so the water can run into it. I put it in the direct sun on my outdoor grill, since it wasn't being used and the sun hit that area for a few hours a day. I watered them daily with a tiny amount of water and brought them in at night. I repeated this daily. Less than a week later, my first sprouts came through! It was the Sweet Basil. Then the next day the other egg slot with Sweet Basil came thru. It was awesome to see these little seedlings start to develop! A week later, a few Cilantro buds starting appearing. Then a few days after that I got a Hot Pepper sprout! I cannot believe how easy this is and it's actually fun! You can do this with kids, as this is interactive and they can watch it grow. Now that they are sprouting, I have to figure out how to transplant them into larger pots. Enjoy!
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from No Germination I bought a bunch of seeds from burpee for my container gardens this year - basil, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, etc. Of all the seeds, the basil did not germinate. Not one sprouted. I had to go buy basil plants to fill my basil spot in the container. Disappointed.
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Really Growing Well Really enjoy this because I use basil in so many things. I found out last year this is not a perennial, although you can get 2 years out of a well groomed plant. But, it didn't take very long and I have more than enough.
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to grow - Large Productive Plants Very easy to grow from seed. Large productive plants that keep producing. I pinched back the flowers and kept getting great basil leaves. Would highly recommend this variety for a classic basil taste.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Window box indoors Last year I bought a pack of the Sweet Basil to plant in a window box on my indoor windowsill in my living room because this window gets the West sun. I crossed my fingers and planted the seeds....the basil which grew was magnificent. I used it all summer long. I used it for sauce, tomato, mozzarella and basil and so much more. I kept pinching the little buds so they would get thicker and branch out. I can't tell you how happy I was with the crop!!! I'm buying another pack today to do the same thing this year. I just wish I had an outdoor garden, but I live in an apartment with only my West facing window. I'll take what I can get :) Can't wait to get the pack and plant my basil again Happy planting won't be sorry with this herb!!!
Date published: 2015-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best choice to grow Very easy to grow, survived abuse started indoors. Growing rapidly and producing prolifically with full flavor.
Date published: 2014-06-30
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