Sweet Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Wild Basil, Basil, Red-Leaved, Basil

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Sweet basil is an aromatic annual herb with a strong flavour that is used heavily in Italian cuisine. It is easy to grow, maintain and can be grown in a container indoors. Often grown for its culinary uses, basil can also be grown as an ornamental with some cultivars producing attractive blooms. A basil infusion is used as a homoeopathic medicine to soothe a cough or treat cramping.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Start harvesting the leaves when the plant is about 20 cm in height, pinch off flowers to lengthen the harvesting period. Leaves can be dried or preserved in olive oil.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seeds shallowly indoors in winter or outside from Springtime. Germination takes 7-14 days.

Cuttings

Take a 10 cm stem cutting from just below a leaf node from a stem that hasn't flowered. Remove the leaves 5 cm from the bottom end. Plant 5 cm deep. Keep moist or keep in a glass of water until well-rooted!

Special features

Crop rotation

Basil is a medium feeder and needs a moderate amount of nutrients.

Pot plant

Can be grown in a container provided it is large enough.

Indoor plant

Can be grown in a container indoors provided it receives a minimum of 6 hours of light and a moderate amount of water.

Attractive leaves

Edible leaves

Attracts bees

Attracts butterflies

Special features

Origin

Central Africa, Southeast Asia

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand, Silt, Compost

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Culinary

Sweet Basil can be used for various culinary dishes, including salads, vinaigrette, and pizzas. It is a popular ingredient of pesto.

Insect repellant

Strong scent deters mosquitoes and flies.

Medicinal

A basil infusion is also used to soothe a cough or treat cramping.

Personality

Family

Lamiaceae

Flower colour

Purple, White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Japanese beetles, and earwigs.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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