Large Leaf Italian Basil Seeds

Large Leaf Italian Basil Seeds

Authentic Neapolitan Flavor!


(P) Pkt of 100 seeds
Item # 00271-PK-P1
Available to ship.
$2.50
75 days.

Fragrant, flavorful, extra-large leaves are the very favorites of the culinary world! This is a Genovese basil, rich in oils and so aromatic you will smell it long before you see it in the garden! Whether you use it for pesto, spaghetti sauce, or simply as a companion to your tomato plants (basil is a superb pest repellant), choose Large-leaf Italian as your "go-to" mainstay basil for big, satisfying harvests all summer long.

Basils are loaded with volatile oils, responsible for the heady aroma and strong flavor so essential to cooking. Large-Leaf Italian basil is regarded as the essential variety for true Neapolitan cuisine, especially pesto. And in the garden, basil works to repel aphids, mites, and hornworms.

Expect this Genovese-type basil to grow 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 15 inches wide. The dark green, shiny leaves grow up to 3 inches long on a tall, erect plant that is slow to bolt. Small terminal bunches of pink flowers will bud out in summer; pinch the new buds away if you want to harvest more of the leaves!

Begin the seeds either indoors in late winter or direct-sow in spring. To start indoors, sow about 6 to 8 weeks before last scheduled frost. The seeds will germinate in 5 to 10 days. Transplant when they have 2 sets of true leaves, spacing the plants 12 to 15 inches apart in the garden, or in your best containers.

If you are direct-sowing, wait until the soil has thoroughly warmed up in spring. Then cover the seeds with about ¼-inch of soil, and thin the young plants to 12 to 15 inches apart when they are about 2 inches tall.

As your basil plants grow, pinch off the central stem when they are about 6 weeks old, and prune back each stem when it has more than 8 sets of leaves. (Cut it back to the first or second set of leaves, harvesting the rest.) If you keep your plants well pinched and pruned, you should be able to harvest half a cup of fresh leaves every week during the growing season!

Basil loves hot weather and plenty of sunshine, but it needs consistently moist, rich soil. Mulch the plants to retain moisture, and water heavily during dry spells.

Harvest the plant before the cold weather sets in, as this will affect the leaves' texture and flavor. Freeze entire stems, with the leaves still attached, for best flavor retention, or dry the leaves for seasoning. You will always be assured of a big harvest from Large-leaf Italian! Pkt is 100 seeds.

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.


Special Considerations

  • 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.

Growing Tips

  • 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

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).