Dolce Fresca Basil Seeds

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Meet your new "go-to" basil

Days to Maturity: 70 from direct sow

All-America Selections (AAS) Winner 2015

Ah, the name says it all: sweet, fresh basil for your garden, patio, and kitchen windowsill. This award-winning variety combines intensity of scent and flavor with a super-compact, vigorous habit. The result is a bushy large-leafed plant less than 2 feet high and rarin' to set new leaves all season long.

Dolce Fresca won the All-America Selections award for its compact habit, strong scent and flavor, and vigorous growth. It's easy to see why this is becoming America's go-to basil: no matter how little space you have, what a challenging climate you live in, or how important ornamental beauty is to your garden design, Dolce Fresca fills the bill.

Just 10- to 14-inches high and not more than a foot wide, it flowers very late, so you don't spend all summer pinching off new buds. Dolce Fresca is a Genovese type, setting large, flat leaves simply packed with delicious flavor. And it makes such a bushy, well-branched ball of foliage that it looks like an ornamental addition to the garden or patio, instead of the workhorse herb it really is.

And if you're designing a parterre, knot garden, or simply using herbs to edge or fill in among ornamental plants, Dolce Fresca is going to become the star of the garden. Its fresh green foliage always looks bright and full. Cut all you like for pesto (it makes heavenly pesto), Italian cuisine, soups, and more—Dolce Fresca sets new leaves all season. Or harvest the whole plant for its essential oils.

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 love this award winner.


Skip Product Specs
Genus Ocimum
Species basilicum
Variety Dolce Fresca
Bloom Start to End Early Summer - Late Summer
Days to Maturity 70
Fruit Color Green
Habit Upright
Plant Height 12 in - 14 in
Plant Width 10 in - 12 in
Additional Characteristics Award Winner, Cut-and-Come-Again, Easy Care Plants, Edible, Fragrance, Herbs, Pest Fighter
Foliage Color Medium Green
Harvest Season Late Summer, Mid Summer, Early Summer
Light Requirements Full Sun
Moisture Requirements Moist,  well-drained
Resistance Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Pest Resistant
Soil Tolerance Normal,  loamy
Uses Beds, Containers, Cuisine, Foliage Interest, Ornamental, Outdoor

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