- botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
- height 18-24″
- spacing 12-18″ apart, in rows 12-18″ apart
- full sun tolerant
- average soil
- uses in garden: as a border, great in containers, cut foliage, very fragrant
- use in salads, on sandwiches, pesto, in Indian, Thai, and Greek cuisine
*Please note: We accept plant orders at any time of the year and if you prefer to place an order outside our regular shipping months of April-May, ordering is still easy. “Why we only ship in April and May”
Due to the nature of shipping live plants, when you place an order, we will simply hold your order and ship it at the proper time for your zone, when weather permits in April 2013. Seed packets are shipped year round through USPS.
For more information see our “Ordering and Shipping Policy.”
Sweet basil is the summit, the standard by which all other basils are judged, and the favorite herb not only within the ocimum genus but in the wider classification of herbs in general. This herb has such outstanding properties that its history is full of magical, sacred, and romantic connotations in a wide variety of cultures. No garden is complete without Sweet Basil’s light green foliage and sweet, spicy aroma, just as no Italian dish is complete without its pungent flavor. It is also prevalent in Indian, Thai, and Greek cuisine, and there is no tomato in the world that does not improve upon contact with a leaf or two of basil.
Sweet Basil has a rich history and is currently the most popular of the culinary herbs. It is nicknamed ‘the King’s herb’ for its use in royal gardens throughout the world. Native to parts of Asia and Africa, it is now used in cuisine throughout the world. Nicholas Parkinson, in his Garden of Flowers (1629), writes, “The ordinary Basil is . . . to procure a cheerfull and merry hearte.” Find great basil recipes here!
Having a hard time deciding which variety is right for you? View a summary of all the varieties together.
Sweet Nufar Basil seeds are also available. Purchase them here.
Basil is an easy herb to grow as long as you observe several important rules:
- Don’t plant it too early in the spring.
- Wait until the night temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees F. It will tolerate lower temperatures, but it will not thrive and can have real trouble bouncing back from an extended cool period.
- If you notice dark spots forming on the leaves, it may be caused by cold water from the hose. Try watering in the cool of the day to remedy this problem.
Indoors: sow seed into plug trays or small pots 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Days to germination 5-10 days. When all danger of frost is past, transfer plants outside when seedlings have 3-4 sets of leaves, in a sunny location, spacing 12-18″ apart, in rows 18″ apart.
Outdoors: Direct sow seed after last frost date and soil is warm. Thin plants to 12-18″ apart. Days to germination: 5-10 days. 60 days to harvest.
Harvest – light harvesting of leaves may begin after plants have become established. It is best done in the early morning when the temperature is cooler, and the leaves are less likely to wilt. Full harvest should be done just before plants start to flower. Cut the entire plant 4″-6″ above the ground to promote a second growth. Leaves are easily bruised when picking, so handle with care. Store Basil above 50 degrees F. after harvest. If exposed to temperatures lower than 50 degrees F, basil can suffer from cold damage. Use a separate cooler space for cut basil, where you can control the temperature, or store in a cool, dark place.
If properly cleaned, basil seed can be stored successfully. First allow seedheads to dry on plant, then remove and collect the seeds. Store in a container in a cool, dry place.