Basil is a member of the Ocimum family. Its botanical name is Ocimum basilicum. The scientific name epithet basilicum means 'royal or king-like'.
Basil originates from India where it is considered sacred to the Gods. Basil is a tender low-growing herb that is grown as a perennial in warm, tropical climates. It thrives in hot weather, but behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. Basil’s pungent leaves are delicious in tomato, cheese, egg and fish dishes.Leaves usually appear in Android robot green colour. It is a herb / vegetable that typically grows as an annual/perennial, which is defined as a plant that can matures and completes its lifecycle over the course of one year or more. Basil is known for growing with a forb-like habit to a height of approximately 45.0 cm (that's 1.46 feet in imperial). This plant tends to bloom in early summer and be ready for harvest in mid summer. Popular varieties of Basil include: Sweet, Genovese, Italian Large Leaf, Cinnamon, and Purple.
Basil is said to originate in India.
Basil is normally fairly low maintenance and quite easy to grow, as long as a level of basic care is provided throughout the year. Being aware of the basic soil, sun and water preferences will result in a happier and healthier plant.
This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Basil have been kindly provided by our members.
To produce high quality basil, grow it in full sun in warm, well-drained soil.
Pinch or cut the leaves off as required, but always from the top. When the plants begin to produce flowers, pinch those out as soon as possible to encourage more leafy growth. Thin to strongest plants.
If growing Basil in containers or indoor pots then add a small amount of fertilizer every month or so.
Water every week (more often if growing in outdoor containers or indoors).
When watering your Basil make sure to water at the base of the plant avoiding showering the leaves and stems.
Basil is an annual and its goal is to flower. If you let it, it will cease leaf production. It is best to cut the entire plant back by half from the top when it is mature and starting to form buds to encourage is to grow more leaves—merely pinching the tips will cause it to simply try and grow more flowering branches.Try to plant in a location that enjoys full sun and remember to water moderately. As a guideline, Basil does best between USDA Hardiness Zones 4 and 10. Basil needs a loamy soil with a ph of 5.5 to 7.0 (weakly acidic soil - neutral soil). Basil is generally regarded as a tender plant, so it is really important to plant out well after your last frost date.
Cover with finely sieved compost. Can be planted indoors.Sow at a depth of approx. 0.12 inches (0.3 cm) and aim for a distance of at least 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) between Basil plants. For optimal germination, soil temperature should be a minimum of 15°C / 59°F.
By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Basil about 20 days before your last frost date .
All basils are tender annuals which are easy to grow, but are very susceptible to cold weather. They should be planted in late spring after all danger of frost is past, soil temperature is warm, and nighttime temperatures are above 15 C or 60 F. Can be grown in containers in full sun. Temperatures below 8 C or 45 F can kill the plants.Basil is tender, so ensure you wait until all danger of frost has passed in your area before considering planting outside - as a guideline, the minimum temperature outside should be approximately 15°C / 59°F.
By our calculations*, you should look at planting out Basil about 40 days after your last frost date.
To preserve basil, you can either dry or freeze it.
Air drying Basil
To dry basil without a dehydrating machine, simply hang upside-down in small bunches in a cool, dark place. check that they are ready by crumbling a little in your fingers – if ready put into small airtight jars to keep until use.
Pack ice cube trays with basil leaves and then cover with hot water (the hot water should blanch the basil quickly and keep the colour nice and green). Place in the freezer for at least 24 hours, then place in freezer bags and store to defrost when required.
Alternatively, blend basil leaves in a food processor with oil to a smooth paste consistency, then pour into ice cube trays. After 24 hours, remove from the trays and place into freezer bags and store frozen until required.
These plants have been known to grow well alongside Basil so consider planting:
chamomile, anise, tomato
These plants will not grow well with Basil so avoid planting these within close proximity:
common rue, sage
These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Basil plants:
Dampening off – seed thinly and wide and guard against humid conditions.
aphids, white fly
The word basil means “king” in Greek – it is believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross.
Believed to be an abbreviation of Basilikon phuton, Greek for “kingly herb”
Jewish folklore says that basil adds strength while fasting.
The Oxford English Dictionary quotes speculations that basil may have been used in “some royal unguent, bath, or medicine”.
Said to promote peace and harmony between lovers. A container of basil placed outside a woman’s window is said to attract courtship.
put a pot of basil on the balcony as a tacit sign that you are ready to receive a suitor 1
Whoever has a better vocabulary of cuss words let him/her plant the basil…because it will only grow if cussed out properly2
In Ethiopia, it’s grown as a culinary herb and is also used to treat stomach upset, colic, scabies, coughs, asthma, irritated and inflamed bowel conditions, arthritis, and menstrual problems.3
Ocimum basilicum L.
Misspellings: Sweet, Sweat, Sweat Basil
19 May 2013
27 Feb 2013
If you use basil in the kitchen, you really should grow your own. You can’t beat the flavor of fresh basil in all your favorite dishes. Even if you pick it and dry it yourself, it will still taste better than anything you buy in the spice aisle.
20 Feb 2013
Grew like mad and tasted lovely! had some trouble with black spot.
19 Feb 2013
Planted in a pot (outdoors) last year but had trouble keeping it watered. Even so, I harvested some and used it in the kitchen (fresh and dried.) You can’t beat the flavor of home-grown!
03 Aug 2012
the most productive and best at avoiding bolting of the basils i grew this year. Large leaves are tasty and great for pesto and sandwiches
Basil care instructions
How long does Basil take to grow?
Our when to plant Basil estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!
Popular varieties of Basil
- Italian Large Leaf
- Dark Opal
- Purple Ruffles
- Red Rubin
- Purple Dark Opal
View the complete variety list for Basil »
A group dedicated to all subspecies of the basil plant. With such an ease of growth, wide tolerance of growing tolera...5 members / 0 topics