When all danger of frost is past, transfer plants outside in a sunny location, spacing 6-12″ apart, in rows 12″ apart in moderate, loose, medium moisture, well-drained soil. Sensitive to frost. Prefers a warm, sunny, sheltered location although will tolerate some light afternoon shade. A good choice for a patio container.
For best results, consistent and regular moisture throughout the growing season is required. Pinch out growing tips to encourage bushy growth. Petite pink/purple blossoms attract bees and butterflies.
Basil, Licorice ocimum basilicum
Licorice basil smells like licorice candy! It’s purple-green leaf and purple flower make it an attractive ornamental addition to any garden. Similar to the Thai basil’s, it is an excellent culinary herb. Use as a garnish, in bouquets and dried arrangements, potpourri, and hearty soups. Grows well in hanging baskets or containers.
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.
A 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 seed heads to dry on plant, then remove and collect the seeds. Store in a container in a cool, dry place.