Sunday, July 16, 2017



Herb Gardening 

This year we have expanded the varieties of herbs we are growing. Sweet basil is so easy to grow in our 7b-8a garden. This basil cultivar is the best choice for anything Italian like soups, sauces, and pesto.  Varieties include Italian large leaf, lettuce leaf, Genovese, and Napoletano basil. Plants height is 14 to 30 inches tall. They are prolific in hot, sunny locations. 
If you harvest the top four leaves often, the plant will continue growing and producing the best sweetly flavored leaves for culinary use. These are the varieties of basil we are having success with so far: sweet basil, Aristotle, African blue basil, lemon basil, lime basil, cinnamon basil, lettuce leaf basil, Thai basil, spicy bush basil, and purple ruffles basil.

Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Growing Basil

Basil is an easy to grow and often used culinary herb. Mediterranean  food is now becoming a very healthy choice for people watching their diet. Place in a sunny spot with good soil.

African blue basil
Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum

African blue basil is a sterile perennial hybrid, with purple coloration on its leaves and containing a strong portion of actual camphor in its scent. This basil species is native to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, and Ethiopia. 

Cinnamon basil (Mexican spice basil)
Ocimum basilicum 'Cinnamon'
Also called Mexican spice basil, with a strong scent of cinnamate, the same chemical found in cinnamon. 

Lettuce leaf basil
Ocimum basilicum 'Lettuce Leaf'

The lettuce leaf basil has leaves so large they are sometimes used in salads.

Thai basil
Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum

The Thai basil has a scent of licorice, small to medium leaves and purple flowers

Lemon basil
Ocimum americanum

Lemon basil contains citral and limonene, and smells very lemony. It has a sweet flavor.  It can be found under alternative names, hoary basil or Indonesian basil. 

Lime basil
Ocimum americanum

The Minimus Basil

Aristotle basil  (Ocimum minimum  'Aristotle')
rounded bush form with small delicate leaves

Neat, compact mounds of small leaves with a most delicious flavour make Basil 'Aristotle' a stunning ornamental, edible pot plant. The aromatic foliage adds flavour to all manner of dishes, particularly Italian recipes. This Greek basil is perfect for growing on the kitchen windowsill or in containers outside the back door. Height: 20 inches.

Table 1. Basil Varieties                                                                                                               
Common nameSpecies and cultivars
African blue basilOcimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum
Aristotle basil (Greek basil, bush basil)Ocimum minimum  'Aristotle'
Boxwood basilOcimum basilicum 'Boxwood'
Christmas basilOcimum basilicum 'Christmas' (cross of Thai and Genovese basil)
Cinnamon basil (Mexican spice basil)Ocimum basilicum 'Cinnamon'
Clove Basil (tree basil)Ocimum gratissimum
Cuban basilOcimum basilicum 'Cuban'
Dark opal basilOcimum basilicum 'Purpurascens'
Dwarf bush basilOcimum minimum (alt. Ocimum basilicum var. minimum)
Fino verde basilOcimum basilicum piccolo 'Fino verde'
Genovese basilOcimum 'Genovese Gigante'
Greek bush basil (Greek spicy globe basil)Ocimum minimum (alt. Ocimum basilicum var. minimum)
Greek column basilOcimum basilicum x citriodorum 'Greek Columnar'
Greek Yevani basilOcimum basilicum 'Greek Yevani'
Holy basilOcimum sanctum (alt. Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Lemon basilOcimum americanum
Lettuce leaf basilOcimum basilicum 'Lettuce Leaf'
Licorice basilOcimum basilicum 'Licorice'
Lime basilOcimum americanum
Magical MichaelOcimum basilicum 'Magical Michael'
Mammoth basilOcimum basilicum 'Mammoth'
Mrs. Burns lemon basilOcimum basilicum var. citriodora 'Mrs. Burns'
Nufar basilOcimum basilicum 'Nufar F1'
Osmin purple basilOcimum basilicum 'Osmin Purple'
Purple ruffles basilOcimum basilicum 'Purple Ruffles'
Red rubin basilOcimum basilicum 'Red Rubin'
'Siam Queen'Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum 'Siam Queen'
Spice basilOcimum basilicum × americanum
Spicy globe basilOcimum basilicum 'Spicy Globe'
Sweet basilOcimum basilicum
Sweet Dani basilOcimum basilicum × americanum
Thai basilOcimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum
Thai lemon basilOcimum × citriodorum
Thai Holy basilOcimum tenuiflorum (synonym Ocimum sanctum)