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How to sow and grow bush basil

Bush basil has smaller leaves than the better known Genovese basil, but it's just as tasty.

This variety can handle hot and dry weather better and snails also don't like it as much. That's why bush basil is great for growing outside in a garden box, especially in summer.
Struik-basilicum in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Bush basil

What is bush basil?

Bush basil - or Bascuro - is a Greek variety of common basil with small pointed leaves.

Basil is by far the best known - and tastiest - herb in Mediterranean cuisine. Most people only eat the leaves, but the flowers are edible too.

These annual plants can be grown on the windowsill all year long. Or, you can sow them outside in a garden box or MM-Mini. Outdoors they have enough room to get nice and bushy and the leaves will get more flavorful too.

This bush basil can withstand drought, wet weather, and cold better than the usual varieties and is more suitable for growing outdoors. In addition, they are less susceptible to snails.

Bush basil is surprisingly healthy

Basil is probably the tastiest herb there is. But did you know that it's also super healthy? It is bursting with antioxidants, flavonoids, essential oils, and more.

This wonder herb strengthens the immune system, protects white blood cells, and fights off unwanted bacteria and other pathogens. Basil is anti-inflammatory, fights pain naturally, reduces fever and stress, contains antioxidants, and helps prevent diabetes. So: super good for you.

Basil is also the symbol of love in Italy. It stimulates blood circulation, so people are convinced it's a natural aphrodisiac 😉
Basilicum doet wonderen voor je gezondheid
Basil: super good for you

More about our bush basil seeds

Before growing basil in your garden box, you first pre-sow the plants indoors. The app includes instructions for pre-sowing in March and April.
  • Species name: Bush basil 'Bascuro Darkgreen'
  • Family: leaf
  • Plants per square patch: 4
  • Height: 20 to 35 cm
  • Pre-sowing: March to April
  • Sowing depth: 1 cm
  • Germination: at least 18°C in 5 to 7 days
  • Time to harvest: from 9-10 weeks
  • Sunlight: grows best in the sun but also grows in shade
Thinking about buying bush basil seeds? We sell bags separately, or you can get bush basil as part of a seed pack:
Struikbasilicum kan goed tegen het Nederlands buitenklimaat
Struikbasilicum kan goed tegen regen
Before growing basil in your garden box, you first pre-sow the plants indoors. The app includes instructions for pre-sowing in March and April.
  • Species name: Bush basil 'Bascuro Darkgreen'
  • Family: leaf
  • Plants per square patch: 4
  • Height: 20 to 35 cm
  • Pre-sowing: March to April
  • Sowing depth: 1 cm
  • Germination: at least 18°C in 5 to 7 days
  • Time to harvest: from 9-10 weeks
  • Sunlight: grows best in the sun but also grows in shade
Thinking about buying bush basil seeds? We sell bags separately, or you can get bush basil as part of a seed pack:

What do you need to grow your own bush basil?

You only need a few things to grow bush basil:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, nutritious soil mix
  • bush basil seeds
  • a place with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day
In other words: an MM-Mini, or a square patch in one of our garden boxes, filled with MM-Mix.

Growing your own bush basil is super easy with the MM-Mix. If you grow in low-quality (potting) soil, disappointment is pretty much guaranteed. So don't skimp on soil mix: go for the best.

How do you sow and grow bush basil?

Our bush basil is included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each vegetable goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next.

So you don't need to know how to grow bush basil before you start: the app takes you through every step.

But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the whole process looks like:
Oogstbaar blad van de struikbasilicum
Bush basil: ready for harvesting

Level 1: Pre-sowing basil plants

Young basil seedlings rarely, if ever, survive outside - especially here in Northwestern Europe. They are immediately eaten by snails and other pests.

So, you start basil plants indoors first. The temperatures and conditions inside will help the seeds germinate. You move them into your garden box when the small plants are strong enough.

To pre-sow your basil indoors, use 4 pots of MM-Mix (or even better: a mixture of equal parts MM-Mix and pre-sowing vermiculite.) Put a few seeds in each pot and place them on the windowsill.
Basilicum zaai je binnen voor op een mengsel van half voorzaaivermiculiet en half Makkelijke Moestuinmix
Pre-sow your basil seeds indoors first

Level 2 and 3: Bush basil seedlings

As soon as you see the first seedlings, you know things are going well. They probably won't all come up at once, but just give it another week.

At the 3rd level, you thin out your seedlings. Leave the best seedling in each pot and ruthlessly cut away the rest. It might sound harsh, but it's necessary. The remaining plants get the room they need to grow.

In a week, you'll move on to the next level:
Kleine zaailingen van de struik basilicum
Small bush basil seedlings

Level 4 and 5: Caring for your plants on the windowsill

By now your seedlings have become small plants.

In these 5 weeks, you take care of them by making sure they
  • get a lot of light
  • are not too warm
  • and get enough moisture
In the last weeks, cut off the tops of the main stems. This will allow the plants to grow side branches and get bushier.

Level 6-10: Getting used to the outdoors

In the second half of May, let the plants get used to being outdoors. Take the pots outside for a little longer every day. By the last level, they've been outside the whole day and only come inside at night.

Level 11: Transfer your basil plants outdoors

When your plants have gotten used to being outside, you can transfer them to your garden box or MM-Mini. 

After transplanting, there isn't much more to do: your plants pretty much grow on their own.
basil-plantjes-in-vak.jpg
4 basil plants in a patch

Level 12: Harvesting and blooming

About 10 weeks after sowing, the plants are ready to harvest. Cut or pick a few of the leaves.

Soon the plants will start to flower. Remove the flower buds right away. That will encourage the plant to make more leaves and get bushier.

You can continue to harvest basil leaves until it gets cold, usually around October.
Vier grotere basilicumstruikjes in een Makkelijke Moestuin vak
4 big bushy basils in a square patch

What do you use bush basil for?

The leaves are delicious in soup, salads, and pasta. Don't add it until the very last minute: basil quickly loses its flavor when cooked.

Basil and tomato are a match made in heaven: add mozzarella, oil, and balsamic you have a world-class salad. 

If you have a lot of basil plants, make a pesto.

The flowers are also edible but have a stronger flavor. Ideal for making basil oil.
Bloeiende struik basilicum
Blooming bush basil

At the end of the season

The app gives you a final reminder: it's too cold now and time to remove your plants.

So: what's stopping you from growing your own bush basil?

It's super healthy, delicious, and the bushy plants look beautiful.

Plus: with our app and materials, it's almost impossible to fail 😀

Order your bush basil seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:
Enjoy 🙂
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