Cardinal Organic Basil Seeds

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Gorgeous red blooms on burgundy stem

Days to Maturity: 60 from direct sow

A stunningly beautiful basil disguised as a Celosia, Cardinal wows you with big spiky blooms of cerise-red atop bright burgundy stems. Fragrant, well-branched, and every bit as delicious as plain old basils, Cardinal is the ultimate edible ornamental, offering something for everyone in the sunny garden.

The leaves on this plant are bright green and very tasty, ready to start harvesting just 60 days after sowing (or even sooner for smaller, more tender leaves). Richly aromatic, they are perfect for pesto and sandwiches, salads and Mediterranean cuisine.

But unlike most others, Cardinal has spectacular blooms. Very tightly packed in pointed peaks, they begin in late spring from an early planting, and continue all the way into early fall. Magnificent.

And the blooms aren't the only attraction of this beauty. The flowering stems are a rich shade of burgundy as well, standing out brilliantly from the green leaves. Sturdy and strong, they hold their bounty of blooms very nicely.

Cardinal reaches about 24 to 30 inches high in the sunny garden, and spreads 12 to 18 inches wide. It is irresistible to butterflies, bees, and birds, and makes a great container subject. Plant it around the perimeter of your vegetable patch to keep destructive pests at bay—it will be the most beautiful repellent you've ever used. And mix it right in with annual flowering plants, particularly those lacking a strong scent. Cardinal is happy to share its rich, spicy aroma.

These seeds can be direct sown in spring after all danger of frost, when night temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the soil feels warm to the touch. Cover them with a scant ¼-inch of soil, and keep the soil moist until they have sprouted, which usually takes about 5 to 10 days. Alternatively, start them indoors in late winter, 6 to 8 weeks before last scheduled frost, in your Bio-Dome, and transplant them after nights are warm and the seedlings have at least 2 sets of true leaves.

One the plants are about 6 weeks old, pinch out the central growing stem. This will encourage the side shoots to leaf out, and keep the plant from blooming too quickly. Even if you are growing Cardinal as an ornamental, you'll want a bushier, more full plant. And if you grow it for culinary use, you want to keep pinching off those flower buds as soon as you see them, because once this basil blooms, it is no longer as tasty. (Our recommendation is to grow some of both: ornamental and culinary.)

Like all basil, Cardinal appreciates full sunshine and moist, well-drained, enriched soil. This is not a "lean" herb; give it rich soil and it will repay you generously in yields and beauty.


Skip Product Specs
Genus Ocimum
Species basilicum
Variety Cardinal
Bloom Start to End Late Spring - Early Fall
Days to Maturity 60
Habit Mound-shaped
Plant Height 24 in - 2 ft 6 in
Plant Width 12 in - 18 in
Additional Characteristics Flower, Fragrance, Herbs, Pest Fighter, Repeat Bloomer, Bird Lovers, Bloom First Year, Butterfly Lovers, Certified Organic, Cut-and-Come-Again, Direct Sow, Easy Care Plants, Edible
Bloom Color Dark Red, Light Burgundy
Foliage Color Medium Green
Harvest Season Early Fall, Early Summer, Late Summer, Mid Fall, Mid Summer
Light Requirements Full Sun
Moisture Requirements Moist,  well-drained
Resistance Disease Resistant, Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant, Pest Resistant
Soil Tolerance Normal,  loamy
Uses Beds, Containers, Cuisine, Foliage Interest, Ornamental, Outdoor

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