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#1 Easiest Plant to Grow — Basil

#1 Easiest Plant to Grow — Basil is the easiest summer herb to grow in soil or tower gardens.

Basil often brings life to food. Use this summer herb in a tomato cocktail, add the whole leaves to Thai soups or sprinkle it generously over Caprese salads. Fresh basil is a great herb in the kitchen, for professional chefs and foodies and its so easy to grow yourself.

But before we get to growing basil, here is a recipe to inspire you! And near the end of the blog is a video about the many varieties of basil that are available.

The Best Basis Pesto by Jennifer Segal

This is my go-to pesto recipe — and it’s delicious on just about everything, from pasta to sandwiches to salads.

Servings: Makes about 1-1/4 cups (about 10 servings)

Total Time: 15 Minutesbasil pesto


  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups gently packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggianopesto processor


  1. Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until coarsely chopped, about 10 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper and process until mixture resembles a paste, about 1 minute. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly blended. Add the Parmesan and process a minute more. Use pesto immediately or store in a tightly sealed jar or air-tight plastic container, covered with a thin layer of olive oil (this seals out the air and prevents the pesto from oxidizing, which would turn it an ugly brown color). It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
  2. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Pesto can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months. You can also divide your prepared pesto into the compartments of an ice cube tray and freeze. Once it’s frozen, remove the pesto cubes from the tray and put in a sealable plastic bag or airtight container. You can add the defrosted pesto cubes to soups, pasta dishes, eggs, sandwiches, and potatoes.

Growing in Soil

If you’re planting your basil in a vegetable garden, it makes the ideal companion plant for tomatoes. It helps keep insects like aphids under control. Planting basil as a border around your veggie garden, helps to keep it safe from pests. Basil does best in warm climates that receive about six hours of sunlight each day. Plant your basil in an east-facing part of the garden.

Gardeners can grow basil directly from seed because it germinates and sprouts easily. If you’re planting from seed, start them indoors, at least six weeks before the last frost of the season. Check your local listings for frost dates in your area.

Basil is hypersensitive to cold conditions, so you’ll need to ensure you finish harvesting before the later fall ends if growing outdoors. If you’re planting a seedling or cutting, make sure temperatures are above 70°F.

Basil Propagation

While it’s easy to grow basil from seed, planting a cutting is also an easy method of growing your favorite herb.

Select a four-inch section of a mature basil plant that has yet to start flowering. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, and then let it sit in water. There’s no need to add any rooting hormone to the cutting.

You should start to see the roots form in seven to ten days, and you can plant the cuttings directly into the garden once the roots are increased in size.

Basil Harvesting

You can harvest your basil in the same way you would with mint. Snip the stem above the node where the two leaves meet. If you regularly clip your basil plant, it encourages growth into a rounded, less leggy shape.

Always ensure you harvest your basil leaves before the plant starts to flower. Always pinch off the flowering parts of the plant as they appear to assure you of a long growing season. Basil flowers are edible, so can be used in cooking as you would use the leaves. If you pinch them from the plant, the basil can focus its energy on producing more leaves instead of more flowers.

If you want the plant to keep producing leaves, only harvest two-thirds of the plant at a time.

Growing Basil with a Tower Garden

I have found basil to be incredibly easy to grow using a Tower Garden. The picture below illustrates how much production can come from just one plant. I have been able to freeze a year’s worth of pesto from a single plant for many summers in a row.

basil 7-29-13

Growing Indoors

While it’s usually grown outdoors, this easy-care plant can also be grown indoors. Growing basil inside is not much different from the way you would grow it in the garden.

Growing Basil Indoors is Easy.

As with most plants, container grown basil should be planted in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Basil is not tolerant of water stress, so proper soil is important— make sure pots provide good drainage. While the soil should be kept somewhat moist, it should never be soggy.

Basil growing indoors will require fertilizing. Depending on the variety grown and its overall purpose, a general houseplant fertilizer can be used. However, if your basil will be used primarily for flavoring foods, use an organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer also helps to maintain pH levels when growing basil indoors.

Best Lighting to Grow Basil Inside

Basil growing indoors requires at least six hours of sunlight. Basil plants should be placed in a sunny window, preferably facing south. If six hours of direct sunlight is not available, these potted plants may need to be grown under fluorescent lights for 10 hours. However, basil grown indoors can also be given both sun and artificial lighting by alternating so many hours in each.


How Tower Gardens® work

A pump in the reservoir pushes the nutrient solution to the top of the tower. The nutrient solution evenly cascades over the exposed plant roots.

Aside from checking water levels and cleaning the pump filter, Tower Garden® will take care of itself. And in just a few short weeks, you’ll be enjoying abundant homegrown produce, harvested at its peak (so you can be at yours).

Gwen O’Neill has been a gardener for over 40 years and has always been a passionate cook. Her own health challenges led her to experiencing a variety of healing modalities. After finding that her health improved with eating more whole food and improving her nutrition using a real, whole food based supplement called Juice Plus, she committed to sharing this experience with others. The Tower Garden by Juice Plus makes it easy to grow produce right outside your kitchen door.

trio plus omega pic

Juice Plus real food!






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