|Genus ||Ocimum |
|Species ||basilicum |
|Variety ||Genovese |
|Item Form ||Seeds |
|Fruit Color ||Green |
|Habit ||Upright |
|Plant Height ||12 in - 24 in |
|Plant Width ||12 in - 6 in |
|Additional Characteristics ||
Edible, Fragrance, Herbs
|Foliage Color ||
|Harvest Season ||
Early Summer, Late Spring, Late Summer, Mid Summer
|Light Requirements ||
|Moisture Requirements ||
|Soil Tolerance ||
Beds, Containers, Cuisine, Foliage Interest, Outdoor
Basil is a sun-loving annual herb that is among the most popular in the world for flavoring food. Native to Asia, it was carried from India to Egypt to Greece in the ancient world, and remains a mainstay of cuisine in many cultures. In the garden, it is often grown alongside tomatoes, and is considered a guard plant protecting veggies and flowering plants from some predators.
Choosing a Variety
Selecting which basil to grow is the most difficult part of gardening with this scrumptious herb! Most have green leaves and either pink or purple blooms, though some sport purple-toned foliage. We recommend that for growing indoors, you select dwarf varieties. There are many delectable choices:
Sweet Basil -
Used in French, Italian, Greek, and other Mediterranean cuisines, these varieties are mildly flavored yet strongly aromatic, an irresistible combination! Nufar Hybrid is a Genovese type that resists fusarium wilt, making it one of the easiest to grow. Large Leaf Italian is among the most popular for fresh or dried use. And Pistou is a very compact French variety with a sweet, mild bite.
Spicy Basil -
A mainstay of Oriental cuisine, these varieties pack a stronger, spicier bite than their sweet cousins. AAS winner Thai Siam Queen delivers zingy flavor on extra-large plants that produce very heavily, while unusual Cinnamon uniquely combines the sweet with the spicy!
Citrus Basil -
Combining lemon or lime flavors with traditional basil flavor makes a superb addition to drinks and desserts! One of our favorites is Mrs. Burns' Lemon, an heirloom variety from New Mexico with lip-puckering intensity. Lime is indispensable for Thai cuisine, and its dwarf habit makes it a must-have in the indoor kitchen garden.
Can't decide where to begin? We recommend that you save money with our sampler platter -- the Culinary Collection! You'll get a packet each of 4 of our very best: one Genovese, one French, one lemon, and one purple-leaf!
When to Start
To grow basil indoors, sow the seeds at any time of year. To grow in the garden, begin seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before anticipated transplant date. Transplant the seedlings or sow seeds directly into the soil only when daytime temperatures are in the 70's and nighttime temps remain above 50°F.
How to Start
Drop one seed into each bio sponge of your Bio Dome, or sow on top of a seed flat and lightly cover with vermiculite. Germination occurs in 5 to 15 days at any temperature between 65 and 85°F. Transplant the seedlings anytime after they have 2 sets of true leaves.
- Harvest basil as you need it, taking leaves from the top of the plant first. Try not to harvest more often than once a week.
- To dry the leaves for seasoning, cut the entire plant at soil level, turn it upsidedown, and hang it in a warm, dry room for about a week. Then strip the leaves from the stems and store them in an airtight container for up to a year. Do not crumble them until ready to use.
- When adding basil to cooked dishes, wait until just before serving for the strongest flavor and best texture.
- Basil loves hot weather and needs consistently moist, rich soil for best growth. Give it 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day outdoors, and a good dose of fluorescents or plant lights every day indoors.
- As flower buds arise, pinch them off. Flowering will stop the foliage growth and dilute the flavor of the leaves.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
Outdoors, slugs and beetles can nibble the leaves. Using a sharp mulch will discourage their approach.
Indoors, aphids can become a problem. Check the undersides of new leaves very carefully for signs of these tiny white creatures, and spray leaves on both sides to keep them clean.
View All Know Before You Grow Topics
Lots & Lots of Basil
I planted 30 feet of this last year. It grew like weeds. Everyone I knew had as much basil as they could use. This year I'll plant just 15 feet and still expect to have enough for everyone. I also planted some in a pot which worked out just as well.
Basil Germination Information How to Sow Basil:
How to Grow Basil: Transplanting:
- Best sown indoors, 6-8 weeks before last frost, at a temperature of 68-70°
- Sow at a depth of 4 times the size of the seeds and expect germination in 7-10 days
- Seeds can also be sown outdoors after all danger of frost is past and when the ground is warm
- When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed
If sown indoors, transplant outdoors when there are at least two sets of true leaves Spacing:
Plant seedlings 10-12 inches apart Lighting:
Site in full sun Soil:
Site in a dry, light, medium to rich, well-drained soil Additional Care:
Pinch out the growing tips to promote compactness and to delay flowering; pinch off the flower spikes when they appear. Basil can also be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill, however, do not let the soil temperature fall below 50° Appearance and Use:
This culinary herb is grown in ground in the garden, but also transitions well to container culture. The purple-leaved types are highly ornamental. Plants grow 15-24 inches tall and wide and produce ornamentally unimportant, white or purplish flowers in the summer. It is grown for the broad, dark green or dark purple, aromatic foliage. Depending on the variety, the foliage will be redolent of clove, anise, cinnamon, lemon, rose, or orange. Harvest the leaves at any time for fresh use. To dry them for storage, harvest the leaves as the flowers begin to open
About Basil: Botanical name:
Ocimum basilicum Pronunciation:
os-i’mum ba-sil-i’cum Lifecycle:
Lamiaceae; native to Africa, southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean
Which plants should I grow to repel insects?
Many of the herbs will repel insects. Pennyroyal repels fleas and other insects. Pyrethrum repels moths, flies, ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mites, and bedbugs. Mint repels flies, fleas, and ants. Lavender repels flies, silverfish, and fleas. Catnip can repel mosquitoes. Thyme repels insects. Lemon Grass repels mosquitoes. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. Sage repels a variety of insects. Chrysanthemum, grown for its beautiful flowers and for the extraction of pyrethrin (an organic insecticide), repels flies, beetles, mosquitoes, roaches, lice, and fleas.
Which plants should I grow to repel rabbits and deer?
Planting garlic, onions, chives, lavender, rosemary, and sage around rabbit-susceptible plants will repel rabbits. Deer repellent plants include: lavender, onion, catnip, sage, chives, garlic, spearmint, and thyme. Be sure to strategically place these repellent plants around and in between rabbit and deer-susceptible plants. Also, place some along the property line and especially at key points the rabbits and deer are using as entryways, which can even deter them from coming onto your property.
Which of your plants offered are deer resistant? Perennials that are deer resistant include:
Asclepias, Aster, Baptisia, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Digitalis, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Heuchera, Hibiscus, Malva, Monarda, Oriental Poppy, Platycodon, Peony, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Sedum, and Tricyrtis. Shrubs include:
Buddleia, Buxus, Cotoneaster, Daphne, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon), Potentilla, Spiraea, Syringa, and Viburnum. Vines include:
Clematis, Honeysuckle, Campsis, Wisteria, and Climbing Hydrangea. Trees include:
Acer (Maple), Cercis (Redbud), Corylus, Fagus (Beech), Magnolia, Ginkgo, Mulberry, Spruce, and Salix (Willow).
Superior Germination Through Superior Science
Park Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University Inspected
To make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced Technicians
Park Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold Standard
And many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier.
When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Does Park sell GMO's or treated seeds?
It is important for our customers to know that Park Seed does not sell GMO or treated seed. We do buy a small amount of traditional hybrid seed from Seminis, a division of Monsanto Co., but that is all we purchase from them.
What are the differences between organic, heirloom, and hybrid seed?
Basically, organic seeds are seeds that are produced without the use and exposure to artificial/chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other chemicals. They have to be grown, harvested, stored, and handled under very strict organic rules and procedures. All of our organic seeds are USDA 100% certified organic through Clemson University and the certificate has to be renewed yearly.
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
What are pelleted seeds? Why do you use them? How do I handle/sow them?
Extremely small seed such as Petunias and Pentas are shipped as pelleted seed to make them easier to handle and sow. Pelleted seed are coated, usually with clay, to make them larger in size. After sowing, the coating will dissolve when wet and the seed will germinate. Pelleted seeds are shipped in vials placed inside seed packets, which protects them from being crushed. When sowing, be certain to use thoroughly moistened soil, to be sure that the clay coating absorbs enough moisture to dissolve. For sowing pelleted Petunia seeds, place the seeds directly on the soil surface and do not cover with soil, as light aids in the germination.
What is ideal temperature to germinate most seeds?
The ideal temperature to germinate most seeds is approximately 70 degrees F; give or take 1-2 degrees either way. This would be a good germination temperature for most flower and vegetable seeds and would be the most practical and feasible temperatures achieved for gardeners starting seeds in the home. You will notice for some seeds that it is recommended to use alternating day (warmer), night (cooler), temperatures, which is fine if one can provide such conditions. But most people are unable to provide those temperatures in a home setting, so just use the overall 70 degree F recommendation and the seeds should germinate well.
How long should grow lights be kept on per day and how close to the plants should the light be kept?
For germination and seedling/plant growth, you want to simulate the natural day-night cycles, and as a general rule, grow lights should be on 8-12 hours per day and off at night. You can vary this timing, as some seeds such as tomato, pepper, petunia, impatiens, and others, benefit from 14-17 hours of light per day (and the remainder of the 24 hour period in darkness). The most common grow lights used are fluorescent; using cool white, warm white, and wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes. These lights work well for germination and for growing plants up to a transplantable size. Fluorescent lights should be kept close though, 3-6 inches above the soil or the growing plants, adjusting the height as the plants grow.
How long will seeds keep in storage?
Park Seed stores seed in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility, which keeps seeds in excellent condition. Our seeds should be good for at least 1-2 years on average. Seed viability and storage time will vary depending on the seed item; some will keep a shorter time and some will keep longer. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. A basement will do (if not too humid), or a cool, dark room or closet. We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store them in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What is the best way to store seeds over a longer time period?
We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store seeds in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What depth should I sow various seeds?
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed. When sowing seed indoors, the planting depth can be less, depending on the seed being sown, so it is always best to check specific directions. Here are some general guidelines concerning planting depth in relation to seed size: Tiny, dust-like seeds need to be sown on the surface of the growing medium or soil, uncovered, as they need light to germinate. The planting depth for small seed can be anywhere from barely covering, to 1/8-inch deep, to possibly 1/4-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Medium seed should be planted at 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Larger seeds can be planted 1-inch or deeper, depending on the recommendation.