Care and Planting Instructions

When all danger of frost is past, transfer plants outside in a sunny location, spacing 18-24″ apart, in rows 24″ apart in moderately rich, loose, medium moisture, well-drained soil. Sensitive to frost. Prefers a warm, sunny, sheltered location although will tolerate some light afternoon shade.

For best results, consistent and regular moisture throughout the growing season is required. Pinch out growing tips to encourage bushy growth.

Basil, Pesto Perpetuo
ocimum basilicum citriodorum

Pesto Perpetuo is an annual, non-flowering, columnar type of basil. The light green and cream-edged variegated leaves are valued for culinary purposes, but it is also an extremely attractive foliage plant in the garden or when grown in containers. The leaves can be used fresh in pesto, as a garnish, or added to vegetable and meat dishes, stews, soups and marinades. Dried leaves are often used as an ingredient in potpourri.

Basil is an easy herb to grow as long as you observe several important rules.

  1. Don’t plant it too early in the spring.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

For longer term storage, gather in bunches and hang tops upside down in a dry basement or dry leaves on screens for winter flavoring.