How Long Do Basil Plants Live? Basil Plant Lifespan & Lifecycle (EXPLAINED)

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

How Long Do Basil Plants Live

Are you wondering how long basil plants live and how their lifecycle looks? You’ve come to the right place.

You’ll be delighted to know that this southeast Asia native plant loves warm and tropical climates and matures quickly. More on that in a moment, though.

In this article, we will discuss how long basil plants live, their lifespan, their classification, if they can be grown indoors, how long they can live indoors, and if they can grow back every year.

Let’s get started!

How Long Do Basil Plants Live? What’s the Lifespan of a Basil Plant?

A basil plant only lives about five to six months in a warm climate, even with the best conditions.

In colder climates, especially if the basil is kept outdoors, the lifespan is shortened. If you want to create the best possible conditions for your plant, read on.

Conditions That Impact Basil Lifespan

basil farm

A basil plant’s lifespan is mainly dependent on its environment.

Basil is thought to have originated from India, the Hunan region of China, or Thailand. All of these regions are hot, humid, and filled with lots of sunshine and monsoons. If you can replicate these conditions, your basil plant will thrive and live a long, healthy life.


Water your plant two to three times a week. Make sure at least one of these waterings a deep and thorough. For basil kept in pots, consider bottom watering.

If your plant is growing in the ground or in a plastic or glazed pot, you may need to water slightly less. If your basil is growing in a porous, unglazed, or natural terracotta pot, you may need to water it somewhat more.

Wet the soil, and try to avoid the leaves. Water drops on leaves, in certain situations, can cause infections, scorch the leaves, or result in mold or mildew.


A temperature of seventy to ninety degrees Fahrenheit (or twenty-one to thirty-two degrees celsius) is most ideal.

If you like your basil plant to produce higher quality essential oils, resulting in a more robust aroma, keep the plant at a higher temperature.


Ensure your plant receives six hours of direct sunlight every day. It can tolerate some shade, too, so don’t stress if you can’t provide a full six hours.

Soil Condition

Do your best to replicate the soil conditions of southeast Asia. The ideal soil is a light compost mix that isn’t very rich in nutrients and drains well.

According to the University of Minnesota, the best pH level is approximately 6.5; though a bit of variation will be tolerated by the basil plant.

Basil Plant Lifecycle Explained

Stage One: Germination

It takes seven to ten days for a basil plant to sprout, though cooler soil conditions can prolong this period, taking up to two weeks to germinate.

Stage Two: True Leaves

You can expect to see the first true leaves fourteen to twenty-one days after the plant sprouts. That’s approximately three to five weeks after being planted.

Stage Three: Ability to Transplant Basil Plant

It’s safe to transplant seedlings when they have two or three true leaves and stand about six inches tall. This usually happens around six weeks after germination.

Stage Four: Pruning and Harvest

pinching basil

You can start harvesting basil after your plant has produced four to six leaves. This usually happens a little more than two months after germination.

The best part about pruning a basil plant is that you can eat what you prune.

It is best advised to pinch off about two leaves after two to three sets of leaves have grown. The more you prune and harvest, the bushier the plant will grow to be.

Stage Five: Bolt

Basil plants will begin to seed out when the temperature dips, or when the plant reaches five to six months of age. At this point, the plant will bolt or flower and start seeding out.

Stage Six: Full Maturity and Death

Basil plants start to die immediately after they flower and seed out. Usually, this happens at five months old if kept outdoors, or at six months old if kept indoors or in a greenhouse.

If your plant is exposed to cold weather, inadequate moisture levels, or not enough sunshine, it can die prematurely.

Do Basil Plants Get Old?

blooming basil

Basil doesn’t live very long, especially in comparison to other plants. Even with the best conditions, basil will seed out and then die at only six months old.

If you always want to keep a basil plant around, be sure to succession sow the seeds or keep propagating new basil cuttings.

Is Basil a Perrenial Indoors?

Keeping a basil plant indoors only extends the lifetime to six months at the maximum. Basil is annual only; it will never be perennial, even if kept inside.

Thankfully, this plant is easy to grow, easy to propagate, and quick to produce delicious new leaves.

How Long Indoor Basil Can Live

hydroponic basil

Indoor basil will live for six months at the most.

This is an improvement over the three to five months that it can survive outdoors, but it is still not a perennial, even with the best care.

If you keep your basil indoors, provide it with a grow light, or keep it in a sunny but not a drafty window. Basil is an exceptional grower in hydroponic gardens, so keep that in mind for your indoor setup.

Does Basil Grow Back Every Year?

herb garden with basil plant

Sweet basil does not grow back every year, but it is a prolific seed producer. You won’t get the same exact plant next year, but you may have several plants of her offspring to fill her place.

A single sweet basil plant will create several new volunteer basil plants the following year if left alone. Outdoor basil plants can also  spread quite well.

With that said, there are a few varieties of mostly non-edible basil, such as Thai basil and Purple basil, that are considered perennial. These variations can live to see two, three, or sometimes four seasons in your garden.

Basil is an excellent addition to your home or garden that is sure to liven up your space and deliciously garnish the summer dishes that you create.

With good care, you can keep your basil plant for up to six months. Be sure to check out our other articles on basil care below!