AT A GLANCE
Family: Mint Height: 2 to 3 feet A/B/P, Hardiness: frost sensitive annual
Spacing: 1 per square, 2 dwarf per square
Spring: no Summer: yes Fall: no Winter: no
Seed to Harvest/Flower: 12 weeks Seeds Storage: 5 years Weeks to Maturity: 4 to 6 weeks Indoor Seed Starting: 4 to 6 weeks before last frost Earliest Outdoor Planting: after soil has warmed Additional Plantings: 3 weeks and
6 weeks Last Planting: not needed
Basil is a non-invasive member of the mint family. 'Sweet Genovese' is the pesto basil. And although we associate basil with Italian cooking, it is also an important ingredient in Asian cuisine. 'Siam Queen is a spicy Thai basil with an intense flavor and fragrance. 'Holy Basil' is a sacred herb in India where it is used in religious ceremonies and planted around Hindu temples. Basil also comes in flavors such as cinnamon, licorice, and lemon. Go ahead and splurge—grow a few different kinds and discover the wonders of this beautiful and delicious herb.
Location: full sun
Seeds Indoors: Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.
Seeds germinate quickly. Transplanting: Set out after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. Basil will stop growing if the weather is cool and take a while to catch up, so be sure to transplant basil once the weather has settled. Seeds Outdoors: Sow basil seeds where the plants are to be grown in warm soil. Seeds germinate in 7 to 10 days, and the plants grow quickly.
Basil and Beyond
Watering: Weekly, 2 cups per plant.
Maintenance: Pinch basil often to keep the plant bushy. Harvesting basil for cooking will also keep the plant strong and bushy. Remove flower buds as they appear to keep the plants energetic and tasty.
How: Pinch stems just above leaf nodes where new stems will sprout.
Use only the leaves in cooking; discard the stems. When: Harvest basil when the plant is at least 12 inches tall and you can see new leaves sprouting from the nodes.
Use only fresh leaves in cooking; dried basil does not retain its flavor. Excess basil can be processed with olive oil, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Fusarium wilt, aphids, Japanese beetles.
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