Botanical Name: Ocimum spp.
Native: Probably Africa, but in cultivation for so long that it cannot be verified.
Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual
Variety Information: LEMON BASIL: 18"–24" tall; small leaves. Strong lemon fragrance and flavor; nice in vinegar, and dishes with a lemon base. CINNAMON BASIL: 24"–30" tall with violet stems, cinnamon fragrance, and very sweet flavor. Use in fruit salads, jellies, and in fresh and dried flower arrangements. RED RUBIN BASIL: 12" tall, 4" long uniform rich, dark purple leaves with clove-like spicy flavor, a little strong for pesto, but excellent for flavored vinegar, and as an accent in pasta dishes or salads. 1992 All-America Selections winner! DARK OPAL BASIL: 18"–24" tall; same leaf shape as sweet basil, but very deep purple leaves and lavender flowers. Fits in all the culinary uses as green basil; makes a lovely pink shade vinegar, but is also grown as an ornamental. THAI BASIL: 12"–19" tall, purplish leaves, with beautiful large clusters of purple flowers; often used as an ornamental. Spicy, anise-clove scent for cooking; milder licorice flavor than Anise basil. GENOVESE BASIL: 18"–24", extra large dark green leaves. From the Genoa area of Italy, pesto capital of the world, this is the true Italian pesto basil.
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Attributes: Good for Containers
When to Sow Outside: 1 to 2 weeks after your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is at least 60°F, ideally 65°–85°F. Successive Sowings: We recommend 3 or 4 successive sowings every 3 weeks after initial sowing.
When to Start Inside: RECOMMENDED. 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting outside. Transplant when your nighttime temperatures are above 50°F.
Days to Emerge: 5 – 10 Days
Seed Depth: ¼"
Seed Spacing: A group of 2 seeds every 12"
Row Spacing: 12"
Thinning: When 2" tall, thin to 1 every 12"
Harvesting: Basil flavor is best before the plant flowers. Harvest up to 1/3 of the plant at a time, leaving enough for the plant to be healthy and keep producing. Harvest prior to a frost; basil is very frost sensitive.