- botanical name: Ocimum basilicum ‘Cardinal’
- height 20-30″
- spacing 12-18″ apart, in rows 12-18″ apart
- full sun tolerant, partial shade
- average soil
- flower color scarlet (red)
- uses in garden: great in containers, cut foliage, very fragrant
- use in salads, on sandwiches, in dressings, and hearty soups
- attracts birds, bees and butterflies
*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 2015. Seed packets are shipped year round through USPS.
For more information see our “Ordering and Shipping Policy.”
Cardinal Basil is aptly named for its large, beautiful scarlet (dark red) flowers. It makes a bold statement in the garden, beginning to bloom in the late spring. Given good growing conditions, the blooms should be present until early Fall. Cardinal Basil is attractive to birds, bees and butterflies. Find great basil recipes here!
Having a hard time deciding which variety is right for you? View a summary of all the varieties together.
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.
Cardinal Basil organic seeds are also available. Purchase seeds here.
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 4″-8″ apart, in rows 18″ apart.
Outdoors: Direct sow seed after last frost date and soil is warm. Thin plants to 4″-8″ 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.