Basil, Christmas

organic Ocimum basilicum ‘Christmas’

Organic Christmas Basil

  • botanical name: Ocimum basilicum ‘Christmas’
  • annual
  • height 12-18”
  • spacing 12” apart
  • full sun tolerant
  • average soil
  • flower color – purple
  • uses in garden: as a border, great in containers, ornamental
  • use in salads, in soups, tomato and meat dishes, used in wedding bouquets

Christmas Basil is a cross that combines the attributes of both Genovese and Thai basils. With its large, green, glossy leaves, purple flower bracts, and a rich fruity holiday aroma, this variety is often used in wedding bouquets during the holiday season.

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.

Sowing Instructions:
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. 70 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 seed heads to dry on plants, then remove and collect the seeds. Store in a container in a cool, dry place.