Italian large leaf, aromatic, popular culinary herb. Annual to 90cm. Native to sub-tropics. Repels flies and mosquitoes. An excellent growing and culinary companion to tomatoes, deters nematodes. Warm, sunny position. Spring and summer planting.
The roots are thin and branching, with the stems growing out of the roots and bearing many leaves. Flowers are often white, but may range to pink, red and lavender, and are held above the leaves on stalks of varying length. The seeds are extremely small and dark brown in colour. Leaf shape and colour is variable according to the variety of basil. There may be light to deep greens, purples and even yellows combined with smooth, rough, crinkled or ruffled leaves.
Basil is native to India, but it now grows everywhere with many cultivars being developed, including some perennials. There are over 150 varieties, each with a distinctive flavour, aroma, colour, shape and its own essential oil composition. This allows each to be used for different purposes.
Generally, basil prefers warm to hot climates of around 25-30 degrees C, reflecting its origins. The leaves and roots are very cold and frost-sensitive, so it is best to grow the plants indoors or with good protection during cold winters. Most varieties do well in pots, especially some of the more compact cultivars.
Like many herbs, basil prefers full sun but can tolerate part shade. Some varieties prefer or tolerate a little more shade than others. Basil is quite delicate and does need wind protection and shade in tropical areas. Plants can be trimmed to shape or the shape and growth can be maintained by pinching out the flowers.
Basil is generally tolerant of a wide range of soils, but ideally, it likes a rich, moist, well-drained soil. High humidity and high rainfall can lead to problems like leaf spot disease.
20 seeds per packet